Sunday, December 10, 2006

Pam Crooks - Frontier Christmas

We all know how fast time flies. And yet, there are some things that never change.

Christmas on the Frontier was remarkably similar to the celebrations of today. Women, no matter how poor or desolate, were credited with bringing beloved holiday memories from their childhoods in the East to their own families settled in the West.

Trees, if one could be found, were brought in on Christmas Eve and left up until Epiphany. They were decorated with bits of yarn or fringe, candles, paper or straw ornaments, and the like. Homes and churches were festive with evergreens and berries. Children believed in Santa who came on Christmas morning. Greeting cards were mailed when possible, turkeys were roasted, cookies, pies and cakes baked days beforehand.

One recipe still popular today as it was then is the traditional egg nog. Different than the paper carton variety we find in our grocery store dairy cases, the following recipe has endured from the Civil War, much to the dismay of temperance organizations at the time.

Egg Nog

4 egg yolks
4 Tbs. sugar
1 cup whipping cream
1 cup brandy
¼ cup wine
4 egg whites
Grated nutmeg

Beat the egg yolks until light; slowly beat in the sugar, cream, brandy and wine. Whip the egg whites separately, and then fold into the other ingredients. Sprinkle with nutmeg to serve.

Mmm. Tasty and timeless.

Merry Christmas!

Pam Crooks


Kate Bridges said...

Pam, I loved the details you gave of Christmas on the frontier. (Being a Western writer myself, I can relate). The eggnog recipe sounds really different and easy to make. I'll have to try it--eggnog is a big hit around this house!


Victoria Bylin said...

Hi, Pam! I love the picture of Santa on horseback. I'm always looking for western-themed Christmas cards. That one's the best I've seen.


Pam Crooks said...

I love egg nog, too, Kate. If you get a chance to try this, let me know what you think.

Vicki, this picture is by Jack Sorenson, entitled "Cowboy Christmas". I think it's a classic!