I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving yesterday. I’m going to take a guess that none of us let the day go by without referring to plans for the next big holiday — Christmas. Our entire family is getting together for Christmas. That’s the entire extended family — 20 at last count. We’re all meeting up in Portland.
With that many people together you know we’ll have lots of traditions that will need to be melded together. A few old ones will remain and new ones will be added. Nostalgia will have nearly everyone remembering the good old days and wishing for an old-fashioned Christmas.
Speaking of an old-fashioned Christmas, I received a wonderful new book by that title I’d love to tell you about. An Old-Fashioned Christmas by Ellen Stimson is part fun, heart-warming essays and stories, gorgeous photos, and part mouth-watering recipes. There’s plenty of food and party talk to cover all of the holiday events that happen at this time of the year.
With its snowy streets, pine forests, sleigh rides and woodsmoke curling from the chimneys, Vermont was practically invented for the Christmas postcard. And no one celebrates the season better than Ellen Stimson, author of the best-selling Mud Season, and now the author and home cook behind this cozy new collection of holiday magic.
From warm drinks for the first snowfall to treats for furry friends, from indulgent snacks for carolers to a traditional menu for Christmas day, An Old-Fashioned Christmas will keep you and your loved ones eating, drinking, laughing and baking all through the holiday season. (-from the publisher)
I love the stories and essays in this book and I love all the good food and party ideas. There are so many yummy recipes in this book that I have loads of post-it bookmarks on my copy. Coming up next is a Rootbeer Pulled Pork. It’s going to be perfect for Sunday’s football day. I spotted one recipe that I had to make immediately. A long time ago I made a wonderful green olive dip, but I lost the recipe. This recipe was much better. It’s a cheese ball with a smaller amount of green olives. I’ve made this cheese ball twice already with everyone enjoying it.
Aunt Loraine’s Brady Bunch Cheese Ball
- 3 cups grated extra sharp cheddar\
- 8 ounces cream cheese
- 2 tablespoon mayonnaise (more if it seems dry)
- ⅓ cup chopped green olives
- 3 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- 2 dashes garlic powder
- 4 dashes celery seed (or a small squirt of mustard)
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 12 ounces chopped pecans
Mix together everything except the pecans. Mix it completely and form it into a ball. Put the chopped pecans on a plate and make sure all of the ball gets covered with pecans. Wrap it with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours so the flavors mix and it sets into a solid ball.
The author suggests serving the cheese ball with Ritz crackers for a “festive retro vibe.” They went together nicely.
If you are like me and love to read cookbooks as if they were fiction, you will especially love this book. It’s very personal and similar to a memoir. The author has a wonderful sense of humor and, I think, is a gifted storyteller. I highly recommend it.
About Ellen Stimson:
Ellen Stimson is a bread-and-butter homecook…possibly more butter than bread. Her table is usually overflowing with friends, family, and folks who have come just to listen to her stories. Some of those tales made it into her bestselling memoir, Mud Season. She cooks and writes from a farmhouse in Vermont.
I’m linking this post to Beth Fish Read’s Weekend Cooking. I want to be sure that all my foodie-friends find out about this book.