A Classic American Cookbook
My parents gave me this copy of The New Settlement Cookbook a few years ago after a trip to one of our local antique shops. Buried deep in the book section we came across this 1997 reprint of an American classic. This edition has some updates to allow for modern cooks who might like to use a food processor or microwave, while keeping the old fashioned recipes just the way that Grandma remembered them. The original cookbook has been around since 1901 and if I can ever find a copy of it (in my price range!) I’ll snap it up pronto. 🙂 But in the meantime, I really enjoy looking through the ethnic recipes brought to America by immigrants through the ages.
Checking Out the Christmas Recipes
One of the things I love most about the holidays is remembering the old fashioned recipes that my grandmothers used to make for our family gatherings. Dishes like Oyster Stew (which I did not like!), Overnight Salad, Mincemeat Pie, Christmas Pudding, and Spice Cookies were common for our Christmas gatherings and I miss helping my grandmothers load the plates up to set the table for the whole family. Looking through the old fashioned recipes brought all these memories back to me as I searched for some of my Christmas favorites.
After a day of racing downhill on a toboggan with my cousins, or walking through the winter woodland with my Dad and Uncles, that hot food was a welcome sight for a little kid. On my Gram and Grandpa M’s farm, where my Dad grew up, the Christmas tree was always one cut from the farm and it often resembled Charlie Brown’s tree. But I thought it was beautiful with the old glass ornaments Gram put on every year. And gathering in their living room after a meal of turkey, ham, and old fashioned comfort food was a warm and comfortable experience.
At my Grandma P’s house the festivities were very similar, except Gram didn’t have 400 acres for cutting her own Christmas tree! I still have her old tree skirt and some of her ornaments. She didn’t make the oyster stew like Gram M did, but I liked her Christmas pudding better. I’ll tell you about that someday.
That’s what this cookbook reminds me of…the old days, when my uncles were all alive, and my cousins, brother, sisters, and I were all kids, each present was a treasure and the food and our family were more important than all the trinkets and baubles of the holiday. Each year, when Christmas comes around, I find myself less interested in the lights, decorations, and hasty shopping trips, and more interested in reliving a little bit of my childhood…even if it’s just for a few days. This copy of The New Settlement Cookbook shares a few of those memories in the form of recipes from my Grandparents’ days.
Do you have a cookbook or recipe that reminds you of Christmas when you were a kid? Do you make any of those recipes for the holidays now?