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Nostalgia... and DIY Christmas Crackers.

Heading into the time of greatest nostalgia... I'm thinking about Christmas food and Christmas Crackers...

Box O Christmas Crackers
Box O Christmas Crackers
I don't recall that my mom and dad ever sprung for Christmas Crackers.  We always - only ever - enjoyed them at the big party we attended at Granny Sue's house (my paternal grandmother's house in Trinidad) on Christmas day.

At Granny Sue's we had traditional foods like black cake - alcohol soaked fruity, Christmas cake with coin surprises inside.  The coins had been cleaned and wrapped in foil.  The alcohol was made by soaking fruit in a glass gallon-jar for months.  There was souse, pickled pigs feet and ears with cucumber and watercress, served in a delicious cold, slightly vinegary soup - I liked it then, but I'm not sure I would now.  Dundee cake, sort of like the fruit cake we have here in the US, but more cakey.  I remember that we'd pick the toasted almonds that decorated it off the top of the cake.  Punch-a-creme was a sort of rummy eggnog which we all enjoyed.

The best Christmas dish, though was pastelles.  They were rectangular savories wrapped in oiled banana leaves.  Usually home made, the pastelles were made by pressing a corn meal dough (in a pastelle press, what else?) and filling it with a meat/olive/caper/raisin mix.  So delicious...  I recently found a Trini restaurant in Long Beach that expects to have pastelles available for Christmas this year.

At the end of all of this fun was the (British custom of the) Christmas Cracker.  The ones we opened were crepe-paper, little gold or silver sticker finished, wrapped-sweet shaped fun.  Inside a Christmas Cracker is a little paper crown, an inexpensive toy and a noisemaker.

It takes two to open a Christmas Cracker.  Each person tugs on one end, being sure to hold one end of the snap that is placed along the length of the cracker.  The snap has a little bit of something that pops... snaps... with the friction caused when the ends are tugged.

If you want to add a bit of chance to it, you only get enough crackers for 1/2 your guests.  The person who gets the larger end of the paper gets the goodies inside.

I see Christmas Crackers on sale in some stores here (Williams Sonoma, Hammacher Schlemmer), but I've found I can purchase the snaps and hats online, and I've learned how to make them myself.  It's fun, and I can choose my papers and the toys that I put into the crackers.  Sometimes I upgrade them just a little.  One year I put LEGO keychains.  If you wanted, you could put - a ring or necklace into your hand-wrapped Christmas Cracker.

If you want to see how I make crackers, you can check out my video here...  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cPjGHTeI2OU.

Merry Christmas!




This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Panglonymous December 12, 2013 at 05:39 PM
Merry Christmas, Trish!
Squigglemom, Trish Tsoi-A-Sue December 13, 2013 at 10:03 PM
Merry Christmas, Pan!

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