Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas Past

It is Christmas week and although everything I do is coupled with indescribable pain, I continue to brace myself and face each day. As I searched my recipe box for Christmas baking recipes, I found an old favorite...really, an OLD favorite! Puffed Rice Candy! This recipe is one that brings memories of Christmas as a little girl. I remember being at my Grandparents house on Christmas. My Great Grammy would come downstairs to us kids and she would open her tin full of puffed rice candy. (even before dinner!) It was a treat that only came at Christmas!

The memories go far beyond my own. I love to listen to my Grandfather tell us of his Christmas day's when he was a boy. My Great Grammy would prepare a bowl full of treats for her boys. When they got up in the morning they would find their bowl waiting for them. There were no gifts besides...the gifts were found in the bowl. PopPop found an orange, a few pieces of ribbon candy, a peppermint stick, and some puffed rice candy.

I grew up in the same church as my grandfather. I fondly remember that they treasured the old tradition of oranges at Christmas. Each of the Children were given an orange on Christmas Sunday. It was hard for me to understand how oranges could have been such a treasure in the "olden days." Not many people get to remember their great grandparents. My Great Grandfather Jacob lived to be 101 years old to the day. He would tell us about the oranges back in his day. He grew up without electricity, indoor plumbing, or cars....since oranges came from the south, they only ever got them on special occasion. Oranges were an expensive gift!

As I watch people going crazy in the stores, filling their carts with gifts they can't afford, I can't help but to wonder what my Great Grandparents would think. I believe it was easy to focus on Christ at Christmas long ago. Today we have to push past the piles of presents, the chaos, the greed, the credit card bills, the wants, the wishes, the endless lists of things to find the baby in the manger, the reason for Christmas, and then enjoy the rare bowl full of sweets set before us on the table.

2c. sugar
1c. water
4T Molasses
2tsp. vinegar
2T. butter
1 small pkg. puffed rice

combine sugar, water, molasses, vinegar, and butter. Bring to a boil. Cook syrup until it forms a hard ball when dropped into water. (265 degrees) Add puffed rice and mix together. Pour into a buttered platter and cool. Cut into squares.