Christmas is a time for tradition. A time for doing things we've done for years. First on our list is finding the perfect (or sometimes, not so perfect) tree. For a few years, it was a cedar tree cut on the farm. Then good trees became hard to find. For a lot of years after that, the family went to a tree farm and cut a tree (Leyland cypress.) Then the tree farmer retired. Now it's just the two of us, choosing a tree (Frasier fir) from the only tree lot in town. The species of tree has changed. The place we get a tree has changed. It's different--but still the same.
Tonight we decorated the tree. Some of the ornaments are older than our marriage. These little eggs have lasted nearly forever. They are a reminder of days when I was single and had more time than I knew what to do with. Except for the proof of these egg ornaments, I don't think I would believe too much spare time was possible. (I'll take the family and the time crunch now, thank you very much.)
I spent many evenings after work, emptying egg shells and working with glue, glitter, tweezers and other fun stuff. I made dozens. We still have a couple of dozen left.
Tonight as we hung them on the tree, we talked again about how long ago I made them and how many years we have hung them on the tree. And we marvel that they have survived all these years. How many times have we packed and unpacked these fragile ornaments?
We are probably the only people in the world who hang a wishbone on our tree. A real one. Before I was married, I had a Christmas dinner for my parents, my grandmother and my boyfriend (to whom I have been married to for 32 years now.) I made Cornish hens. My grandmother had never had Cornish hen. She kept talking about how no one would believe she ate a "whole bird!" We saved a wishbone and painted it gold. This little decoration is a reminder of a wonderful evening a long time ago.
Our tree isn't going to win any prizes for best theme or most co-ordinated, but it's what we think a Christmas tree should be--just filled with things we like. Old and new. We don't discriminate.
Here is the recipe for the Cornish hens we had all those years ago. I think it's time to make it again. Now that I AM the grandmother.
STUFFED CORNISH HEN
1. Salt & pepper 4 Cornish hens. Set aside.
2. In a saucepan, put:
3 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons slivered almonds
2 tablespoons chopped onion
1/3 cup uncooked rice
Cook until rice is light brown.
Add: 1 cup hot water
1 chicken bouillon cube
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
Cover and cook 20 minutes or until rice is light and fluffy.
1/2 cup sliced & drained canned mushrooms
3. Stuff hens with rice mixture. Tie legs.
Bake, uncovered at 400 degrees for 30 minutes.
Cover and bake another hour or until tender.
Serve with cranberry sauce.