The ever-lovely and well-coiffed Ms. Graveyarddirt has thrown down a holiday gauntlet- celebrate Midwinter with your dead people. (Full Dirty details here.) Since I will have a chance to eat whatever it is I cook (yay! Chemo schedule hasn’t fucked up again!), as well as cooking without vomiting at the smells, I decided I might as well join in the festivities.
….. of course, it couldn’t ever be that easy, right? Especially considering the fact that I’m not very certain exactly where in the Old World any of my family line comes from. So, I started a bit closer to home- Arkansas. Yup, I’m a first-and-a-half generation Oakie. (Dad’s dad liked to up and move the family every other year or so between Arkansas and California, so he’s the half-generation.) Apparently, back in Arkansas, Dad’s side of the family owns a mountain. (His side is also related to a full-blooded chief of a Native tribe, but not by blood. A female of our line seduced the chief’s son, they both got drunk, went on a bit of a rampage, and now if they leave the reservation they go to jail. So says family legend, anyway.) I haven’t found anything I can use for my own traditions (no bull to shove oranges on the horns of, no ginormous Yule Log to soak so it burns slower and thus extends the Christmas season) but I have found a ton of recipes. Which, strangely enough, are really really familiar. I grew up on most of this stuff. Fried chicken, biscuits, cornbread, milk gravy (thickened with real roue, not cornstarch- I love making it, especially with sausage 😀 ), catfish (not my favorite cause it always has a dirt flavor to it, to me), green beans with bacon (OMFG man), and more kinds of jello-based desserts than you can shake a jello-mold at. (This ain’t even counting my grandmother’s cook books, which I inherited all of, and the oodles and oodles of recipes she found, cut’n’pasted, or just plain made up.) (I will find the Sugar Cookie Recipe, I swear it.)
Still, I was kinda curious where my roots could have come from (knowing that it would take more time and a hell of a lot more phone-tag than I have in me, at the moment, to find out for certain) so I did it the cheap way- I googled the most distinctive of the last names that I knew, and hoped. And, wouldn’t you know it, I’ve got Scots in me on both sides. With tartans and everything. So, back to the google I go, to find some Christmassy Scottish things. Most of which seem to involve cakes that can (and should) be made about this time in November. And a ton of boiled puddings. Fraggedty wokka wok. I think that, from Scotland at least, the contributions will be shortbread, whiskey (which really jives well with Arkansas, cause my dad ran booze at one time and according to him, there may still be 40 or so gallons of whiskey aging under a particular barn back on the mountain), and beef. We might have venison (might still have a bit of bear left, come to think of it o.O ), but I think beef would go over better with the living complement of the Yuletide season.
So, the tentative Midwinter dinner plan-
2) Breads- Cornbread. I kinda want to do a savory and a sweet version.
3) Main Course- Really REALLY wanna do a standing rib roast. Not sure if it will conflict with Mom’s Christmas plans. (But the post-roast gravy? YOU WILL KILL KITTENS FOR HOLYFUCKINGHELLISITGOOD) Barring standing rib roast, some other beef cut may have to be substituted.
5) Sweet Stuff- Shortbread (gotta find a good recipe, most likely from Grandma’s stacks), Sugar cookies (I WILL FIND THE RECIPE), Coke Salad (remember what I said about jello?)
6) Der Boozens- Whiskey (Scotch if I can find a good one I can afford)
Now I just need a place to put the ancestor plate that won’t be eaten by mice or ants. I’m guessing it would be a no-no to set up an ancestor altar in the fridge, right?