I remember the days when our family was large and most of us were pretty young. Mom started cooking for the holiday three days before. Her and dad would go to Mulberry Street in Newark NJ to buy chickens and produce and nuts and cookies.
I would help mom make what she called "ribbons". These were made from thin puff pastry she made from scratch then she would cut them into ribbons, make them into bows and toss them in hot oil. They immediately puffed up and became golden brown. It was my job to fan the large pot of oil to keep it from going over and to take out the ribbons when they were done. Mom would place the ribbons in a large box lined with wax paper. Then she would drizzle honey all over them and powdered sugar. What a treat!
Christmas Eve was "fish night". Mom would fry tiny smelts that had been dredged in flour salt and pepper. They were SO good! She served them with salad and spaghetti and salad. Christmas Day was chicken and ravioli and antipasto - the ravioli was made days before hand, dried a bit then frozen. OMG - I can taste them right now and never ever tasted the likes of them since.
We had a tree, such as it was, that was so full of tinsel and ornaments and lights that you couldn't see it was pretty sparse. Everybody brought gifts to put under the tree. Christmas Day people came and went....neighbors and friends and the table was set ALL day.
One year when I was still quite young, the local carpenter came on Christmas Eve with a folding artist's table for me. It was to be a big surprise. When he came in the door with it and saw the large table set and everyone eating and laughing he burst into tears. Mom put her arms around him and hugged him. He said it brought back memories of when he was young and still had a large family.
These days, not much of my family is left. Mom and dad passed on many years ago and mostly on this holiday it is now just my son and me. I cannot help but remember the old days and now I understand exactly why that carpenter burst into tears. Be thankful for what you have, enjoy your family and enjoy the holiday!
My painting for today is called "Where's Santa"