Appalachian Wednesday–Holiday Treats

CookiesWe had so many Christmas traditions when I was a kid. And–this probably won’t come as a shock–quite a few had to do with food.

Popcorn Balls – Mom would make popper after popper of corn and load it into a huge bowl. (It might not have been that huge, but I was a kid. It looked REALLY big.) Then she’d make the hot, sweet syrup and pour it over the popcorn. Then she and Dad would butter their hands and form balls. I tried to help, but it was always too hot for me. Once those balls of deliciousness had cooled we’d gnaw away.

Sugar Cookies – Mom would make the dough, roll it out, and bake Santas, reindeer, bells, Christmas trees, gingerbread men, and more. We always begged for bits of raw dough, which were somehow tastier than baked cookies. Then Mom would mix up mugs of frosting in red, green, yellow, blue, and white. And here’s the crazy part–she turned us loose to decorate those cookies. We got to load up the first one and eat it, then it was all business.

The Swiss Colony – Remember that catalog? The chocolate log with raccoons? The chocolate Christmas mouse? Oh, it was a wonderland for kids. And my parents would order the holiday butter cookies. Were they good? I can’t remember. But they were so PRETTY. It was hard to choose the best one.

Hmmm. Funny how my kid food memories are all around sugar. But as an adult, I can appreciate that those memories are so very sweet because Mom & Dad made them all about family. Whether making popcorn balls, cookies, or just picking out the prettiest butter confection, it was an event.

And now, when I crave a frosted Santa cookie, I think maybe it’s not sugar I want so much as the connection to the people who surrounded me with love in those growing up years. Because there’s nothing more delicious than that.

18 thoughts on “Appalachian Wednesday–Holiday Treats

  1. My Christmas memories start pretty late…with my wife. Anything before that, uh, no.

    The best holiday treat (that I can have, being gluten-free) is peppermint bark chocolate. I didn’t know about it until she found it one day, made by Ghirardelli.

    There is a local store that makes there own, though – and it’s far superior!

  2. I remember getting the JC Penney Christmas catalog in the mail. With six siblings, it was a challenge to get a turn at looking through it, but it was great fun to thumb through the pages and imagine the things Santa might bring.

    • I think we got the Sears catalog, but there were only three of us to fight over it. Even today I’ll think back to those glossy pages and wonder when I switched over to wishing for vacuum cleaners and crock pots.

  3. I remember the same things. Grandma used to make sugar cookies when I was little, too. Aunt Nancy (your mom, obviously), made the best popcorn balls. She made me a nurses outfit one year for Christmas, before you guys were born. My kids remember the same things, all about sugar, and I’m trying to do the old fashioned things with my grand kids.

  4. Thanks for stirring up all those good memories! (and bringing a sweet, happy tear to my eye!) And don’t forget all the cracking of nuts.

  5. Ahahaha! Yes!! BAKING!!!

    My kids love to suggest that I bake. And sometimes, they even help. They’re pretty good though, and since the rule is No Help-No Cookies, we get lots done.

    My mom used to wrap 1/2 a mile of masking tape around the tins and put them in the freezer. We’d just take our time UN wrapping all that tape.Evil, I know…

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