Chillicothe Gazette from Chillicothe, Ohio on December 14, 1988 · 15
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Chillicothe Gazette from Chillicothe, Ohio · 15

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Chillicothe, Ohio
Issue Date:
Wednesday, December 14, 1988
Page:
15
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Good taste Wednesday, December 1 4, 1 988 Chillicothe Gazette 3B It makes sense to sniff holiday scents The scents of Christmas can help give you a sense of Christmas and might even help dispel the ' 'cents of Christmas gloom' ' you can get from overspending. Bringing in an evergreen, of course, always sends a wonderful fragrance throughout the E" jTK ' IMF V v n Lo Falco I' y house. An artificial tree, however, emits no such scent, and I have yet to smell anything from a spray can that comes even close to the natural thing. Potpourri is one of the best ways to help bring Christmas in through fragrance, and there are plenty of them on the market. But why go out and spend money for something you can duplicate in the kitchen? In a saucepan, put some cinnamon sticks, a few whole cloves, two or three strips each of orange and lemon peels, and a bay leaf. Add water and bring to a boil, then turn the heat down so the mixture, uncovered, just simmers. This will send a delightful Christmasy aroma through the house and it can be reheated over and over to renew its fragrance. Just remember to add more water occasionally. Give Peggy's Candy a taste Candy is a part of Christmas also, and when it's homemade, hardly anyone can resist it. I know I certainly can't, especially when it's what I call Peggy's Candy, which is a take-off on peanut butter cups (a weakness of mine), and which came by way of our daughter, Peggy. Haystacks is another recipe from Peg' s files , and they are very good candies any time of the year, although I have only made them for Christmas. If you don't care for the slight molasses flavor, you might substitute dark corn syrup for the molasses. Making fudge used to be such a time-consuming chore that I had nearly given it up until I got my microwave oven. Now it's a breeze, and my Butter Pecan Fudge is so good it's almost decadent. Homemade Peanut Brittle with the constant stirring in a black iron skillet? Not any more. Munching Peanut Brittle, made in the microwave, is stirred only four times and takes less than 10 minutes. PEGGY'S PEANUT BUTTER CANDY 2 sticks margarine 1 box (1 pound) confectioners sugar 1 cup peanut butter 1 Hershey 8-ounce solid chocolate bar. In a saucepan, melt margarine over low heat; add peanut butter and stir until melted and well blended. Work in the confectioners sugar. Spread mixture in a 13-by-9-inch pan. Melt, the chocolate bar and smooth over the peanut butter layer. Chill. When firm cut into tiny bars. Serve chilled. Makes about 2V2 pounds. Note: I usually use IV2 cups chocolate bits instead of the solid chocolate bar. HAYSTACKS cup evaporated milk y cup light molasses 3A cup brown sugar, lightly packed 2 tablespoons butter or margarine 2 tablespoons light corn syrup 3 cups shredded coconut In a medium saucepan, combine all ingredients except coconut and cook, stirring constantly, and bring to a boil. Continue cooking, stirring frequently, to 236 degrees (soft ball stage). Remove from heat. Gradually work in the coconut. Drop the warm mixture by teaspoons onto a lightly greased cookie sheet. Let set. Makes 36. MICROWAVE BUTTER PECAN FUDGE ' 2 cups sugar - 13 cup butter or margarine 1 teaspoon salt 2 teaspoons vanilla cup milk , . cup chopped nuts In a 3-quart casserole, combine the sugar, salt, milk and butter. Cover; microwave at high for 6 minutes, until hot and bubbly. Stir well. Microwave at medium 10 to 14 minutes, uncovered, stirring well every 5 minutes, to soft ball stage (236 degrees on microwave candy thermometer) . Let candy cool to lukewarm without stirring, then add vanilla and beat by spoon or mixer until it begins to thicken and loses its gloss. Quickly stir in pecans and pour into wax paper-lined 8-by-3-inch loaf dish or pan. Cut when set. Makes about one pound. MICROWAVE MUNCHING PEANUT BRITTLE 1 cup granulated sugar 1 teaspoon butter or margarine Vt cup white corn syrup 1 teaspoon vanilla . 1 cup roasted, salted peanuts 1 teaspoon baking soda In a 6-cup casserole, stir together sugar and syrup. Microwave at ' high 4 minutes; stir in peanuts. Microwave at high 3 to 5 minutes (my microwave takes only 3 minutes) until light brown. Add butter and vanilla, blending well. Microwave at high 1 to 2 minutes more. (I only use one minute here.) Peanuts will be lightly browned and syrup very hot. Add baking soda and gently stir until light and foamy. Pour mixture onto lightly greased cookie sheet. Let cool 30 minutes to an hour. When cool, break into small pieces and store in 1 airtight container. Makes about one pound. For Cashew Brittle , omit peanuts and add one jar (7-ounce) or one cup dry-roasted cashews. Delicious! The columnist is a Ross County homemaker. .CARRIER Your Gazette carrier runs his own business by delivering and selling you your paper. As a business person your carrier has bills to pay. Paying your carrier promptly assures your carrier of paying his bill and making his profit. Please pay promptly. Thank You for your cooperation. For greater convenience Pay By Mall directly to the Chillicothe Gazette. Minimum payment 3 months. For more Information call our Circulation Department. 773-2111 or 947-2446 Pike Co. Victorians spark tradition We can thank author Dickens for Christmas present By SARAH FRITSCHNER Gannett News Service What we think of as a traditional American Christmas celebration' really began with the Victorians, more specifically with author Charles Dickens. Until Dickens came along, Christmas wasn't special. "Cursed with the sort of mentality that in America 300 years later conceived the 18th amendment," writes Louisville author William Axton in his book The Convivial Dickens, "Oliver Cromwell proscribed the celebration of Christmas in 1643. "As late as 1830, Christmas was just another working day in London unless it fell on Sunday." It appears that if people celebrated Christmas at all, they did so' by getting drunk. "Given this state of affairs," writes Axton, "it is no wonder that a strict employer like Scrooge thought it unnecessary, or even wrong, to give his clerk Christmas Day off." The Cratchit family of Dickens' familiar story A Christmas Carol and its spirits of Christmases past, present and future may be the ones to thank (or blame) for Christmas as we know it today. Well, maybe not the Nintendos. but the mulled wine, the roast (goose for the Cratchits, probably turkey for us), forcemeat dressing, mince pies, plum pudding, the overall lavish-ness and overindulgence of the holiday come to us from Dickens and from other writers of the late Victorian era. Take a look at the Spirit of Christmas Present, Dickens' notion of what the proper celebration should include. Christmas Present sat on a throne surrounded by s"turkeys, geese, game, poultry, brawn, great joints of meat, suckling pigs, long wreaths of sausages, mince pies, plum puddings, barrels of oysters, red-hot chestnuts, cherry-cheeked apples, juicy oranges, luscious pears, immense twelfth-cakes and seething bowls of punch that made the chamber dim with their delicious steam." During Victoria's reign, courses became defined soup, fish and meat were served in different courses and sweet foods at the end of the meal. If you were extremely well off, you might enjoy ice cream, which was coming into vogue. The Victorian decorating scheme was one that displayed acquisitions massive furniture, trinkets, possessions of any and all kinds. The era marked a growing middle class that finally had the funds to emulate the aristocrats who for so long had set the example of good living. It's a way of life that some Victorian scholars think is being duplicated in modern America. Oddly, I've never seen English salads mentioned anywhere as anything special. But everything wrong the English do to meat and vegetables they make up for with their salads. This isn't a modern phenomenon. Victorian descriptions of salads include references to great melanges of taste and texture: They included a mixture of all kinds of greens, pickled beets, broccoli, grated celeriac, celery, chicory and cucumber, endive, onions, radishes and grated young spinach. 'Devils on horseback' a sinfully delicious snack By SARAH FRITSCHNER Gannett News Service In Victorian days, foods that we think of as hors d'oeuvres were often serve,d at; the,,end,of dinner to. provide something for gentlemen to eat as they were polishing off the last of the wine. We recommend serving them at the beginning. . "Devils on horseback" were "a favorite savory in Victorian days," writes Lizzie Boyd. She advises serving the devils on toast, but they make good finger food. The "devil" refers to the heat in the chutney and mustard. DEVILS ON HORSEBACK 16 soaked, pitted prunes 2 ounces chutney 16 slices bacon Mustard Stuff the prunes with chutney (or substitute almonds). Wrap with a slice of bacon and secure with a toothpick. Fry until barely, crisp. Serve prepared English mustard and more chutney for dipping. ANGELS ON HORSEBACK 1 dozen large oysters 12 slices bacon Wrap the oysters in bacon and secure with a toothpick. Fry over medium heat until the bacon is barely crisp. Place on absorbent paper to drain and serve warm., TOMATO SOUP' 4 tablespoons butter One-half pound carrots, chopped 2 ounces chopped bacon or country ham One-half cup flour IV2 pounds fresh or canned tomatoes 1 teaspoon thyme 2 (14'A-ounce) cans chicken broth Salt and pepper to taste A pinch of sugar Cream or sour cream, optional Melt the butter in a large pot and cook the carrots and bacon, cov ered, about 10 minutes. Add the flour and cook 2 to 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, peel and core tomatoes. Add chopped tomatoes to the pot along with thyme. Cook about 30 minutes. Place in blender and puree until smooth. Return to pot. Add chicken broth along with 1 can of water. Return to a boil, adding salt, pepper and a little sugar. Serve in large bowls with a little cream , or sour cream, if desired. Serves 6 CHRISTMAS PLUM PUDDING IV2 pounds raisins Half pound currants Half pound mixed candied peel Three-quarters-pound bread crumbs 8 eggs Three-quarters-pound suet (chopped) or 2 sticks butter -Half cup brandy Combine fruits and bread crumbs in a bowl. Add beaten eggs and suet or butter (cut into bits). Pour brandy over all and mix with hands. Press tightly into 1 or 2 pudding molds with tight-fitting lids. Place in pot ot boiling water; lower heat to simmer; cook 5 hours. Remove from pot, cool in mold. Remove from mold (using a knife to help loosen, if necessary) and turn onto platter. Drizzle with good bourbon, cognac or brandy, if desired. Wrap tightly to keep. Serve with sherry sauce. (To flame the pudding, warm some brandy gently over a low fire, pour over pudding and light with a match the flame will be blue and low, so the room should be dark to present the pudding.) Sherry sauce: Cream one-half cup butter and 1 cup sugar. Beat in 2 eggs and three-quarters cup sherry. 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