Vintage Memories of Christmas and Mother’s Cheese Grits

If you could go back
to any point in time at Christmas when would it be?  Mine would be in the late 60s, early 70s during the “wonder” years, when I was little and I knew for sure
there was a giant, fatherly man coming down the chimney after midnight.

Here are the top things I remember:

Tons of Friends Coming Over for Parties:

People like Mary and Rhoda were always at our house. Earnie had such
great friends (just like me) who never had to come up with a reason to
throw a party.    Earnie and Ray would have parties for their employees,
a Christmas Eve party for close friends, neighbors and family, then get
together for Christmas day with family for an entire day of eating,
playing, and celebrating.  Not to mention the luncheons and coffees with
close friends she’d host mid-week.  I remember going with Earnie to the
Winn-Dixie to load up grocery carts of jams and jellies so she could make gift
baskets for people who dropped by.

Perry Como:

Move over Michael Buble’ the hottie of my time was Mr. Perry Como.  This
might have been what started my love of older men.  His smooth musical
stylings and TV Christmas specials, along with Johnny Mathis and Andy
Williams, were the best way to spend an evening.
Christmas Decor:

Earnie decorated every room in the Meadowbrook house.  She had a storage area that housed all of her decor and would
hand me things telling me the room they were to be delivered to.  By the
end of the day each room in our house was transformed into magic with Paul and Paula playing
on the HiFi.  BTW — this could easily be her on the ladder decorating the tree…and I swear she had every party supply in this picture, including that rad percolator.

Cheese Grits:

This was a Christmas brunch staple in our house.  Earnie would serve her grits
in a lovely copper chafing dish on her beautifully decorated buffet
complete with a long centerpiece of greenery and candles down the
middle of the table.

Here’s Earnie’s recipe
from Jane Justin’s cookbook “Prescriptions for Hunger” copyright 1968:

Preheat Oven to 350
Put 8 cups of water in a large saucepan and add 1 TBL of salt.
When water starts to boil add 2 cups of grits
Cook slowly until grits are thick
Pour grits into a large bowl and add:
1 TBL Worcestershire sauce
1 Cup of whole milk
2 beaten eggs
1 tsp black pepper
3 TBL melted butter
1 Cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated

Mix well and pour into a greased casserole.
Sprinkle with more grated cheese and a few dashes of paprika
Bake one hour at 350 degrees.

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