The Last Christmas in our Family House

December9

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The Three Sistas and our Mom

Our family is all about tradition.  My almost 87 year old Mom is the matriarch of our family and the instigator of most of our traditions.  This year she will not be counting the heads of her enormous brood and sending her eldest to the bank to withdraw a sizable amount that she tucks into envelopes so that we can treat ourselves in which ever way we wish, she will not be setting up her little Christmas tree that simply gets brought upstairs from the basement and plugged in and she will not be ordering perogies, kielbasa and prime rib roasts and making lists of all the other dishes that will be assigned out.  The good news is that Mom survived a devastating illness this past fall and will be here to celebrate with us, arriving by taxi cab to her own home.  The bitter sweetness is that Mom will no longer live in our family home as she will soon be paneled for a nursing home and our family house of almost 60 years will be sold.  So this will be our last Christmas together on Linden Avenue.

Our tradition begins with a Christmas Eve dinner of Prime Rib roast.  The time spent together is not long as we have many family members who work in health care,  not for profit organizations and in retail, so Christmas eve is often a full working day.  As soon as dinner and dessert is served, the left overs packaged up and everything is tidied up, families start to depart for their various churches for Christmas eve services.

The church which we attend is right in our neighbourhood and so many years ago, we commenced another tradition, where the clergy of the church come over to our home to spend the time between this second service of the evening and the last, which is a midnight candle light one.  We share an egg nog, craft beer or glass of wine and have a nibble of something before they head back to church and my husband and I start filling Christmas stockings and placing the “Santa” gifts under the tree.

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Is it present time yet?

On Christmas morning we are typically up by 7 am and my husband makes coffee with Bailey’s and Kahlua that we use to warm up, before we tackle our gift giving.  Before we start, we always say an individual prayer of thanksgiving for our health and love and the gifts that we are about to receive.   Gift giving goes in order from youngest to eldest and we draw out the process by hugging and kissing the giver before the next gift is given out.

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Someone always gets the gift of music, so we put on our new cds while we tidy up the wrapping and try on a Christmas sweater and then we are off to be with my siblings and their families again.  We gather for Christmas brunch at my Mom’s house and have enjoyed the exact same menu for many, many years: six quiche- sausage, seafood and Lorraine, cinnamon loaf, banana muffins, sausage rolls, fruit salad, hash brown potato casserole, chocolate milk, juices, and left overs from the night before.

Once lunch is consumed and the coffee pot is poured out, we find a spot for our gift exchange.  We start with the youngest again and go around in our enormous circle until each family member has a gift chosen especially for them.  We always draw these names after Thanksgiving dinner and sometimes there is a gap in clarity because the names were drawn so long ago.  So when it is someones turn to receive a gift, there is sometimes a hesitation before the giver recalls that it is their responsibility.  The heightened tension increases the air of anticipation and hilarious results often occur.  In fact on more than one occasion I have remarked on my way home that my face and tummy hurt from laughing.  Imagine, being a part of a family of 35+ who get along fabulously, rarely quarrel and love to assemble together to bless each other with gifts and laugh until it hurts.

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Some years we gather again later that day at someone elses home.  Last year my son and his wife hosted and this is only a portion of the gang that were seated in their dining room.

Here are my famous sausage rolls that I contribute each year.  They are such a hit with certain family members that my niece requested that they be served for her wedding breakfast.  I have modified the recipe over the years but it originally came from a seasonal cookbook entitled  “Company is Coming for Christmas”, a Canadian cookbook, published in 1996 and written by Jean Pare.  I get such a chuckle over remembering some of her recipes like the one for Caesar Salad: rip up a head of romaine lettuce and toss with Caesar salad dressing and croutons, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese!  I kid you not….

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Lazy Sausage Rolls
Author: 
Recipe type: Appetizer, Brunch
Cuisine: Canadian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 36
 
Ingredients
  • 2 c biscuit mix
  • 1 t. onion powder
  • ½ c water
  • 1 lb. pork sausage meat, mild or hot
  • ½ t. cayenne pepper
Instructions
  1. Stir biscuit mix and onion powder together.
  2. Add water.
  3. Mix until it forms a ball.
  4. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface.
  5. Knead 6 to 8 times.
  6. Roll out into a rectangle about 15 x 18 inches.
  7. Mash sausage meat with a fork to make it pliable.
  8. Spread over dough.
  9. Roll up dough like a jelly roll, beginning at long end.
  10. Slice ⅜ths inch thick.
  11. Arrange on greased baking sheet, cut side down, about 1 inch apart.
  12. Bake in 450 degree oven for about 15 minutes (checking after 11 minutes)
  13. Makes about 3 dozen appetizers.
  14. Variation: Brush tops with beaten egg.and sprinkle with poppy seeds. sesame seeds or parsley flakes.Bake as above.

Kath’s quote: “No language can express the power, and beauty, and heroism, and majesty of a mother’s love. It shrinks not where man cowers, and grows stronger where man faints, and over wastes of worldly fortunes sends the radiance of its quenchless fidelity like a star. “— Edwin Hubbell Chapin

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Love never fails.

 

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2 Comments to

“The Last Christmas in our Family House”

  1. Avatar December 25th, 2013 at 5:54 pm The Canadian Food Experience Project: Round Up Seven Says:

    […] to those that came before that makes the remaking of these dishes so precious.     Kathryne at Food Musings from Winnipeg and Lester Beach, Manitoba, writes about the last Christmas in their family house. […]


  2. Avatar December 29th, 2014 at 8:43 am Christmas- When Cliches are True | Winnipeg food blog Says:

    […] siblings and extended family but I was a little bit nervous about our Christmas brunch this year.  Last Christmas we gathered together for the final time at the house that had been our family home for decades. […]


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