On Christmas and Kitchenmagigs

The holidays were snowy here in North Carolina this year. So snowy in fact, that my hometown of New Bern all but ground to a halt. It is a good thing that my family’s Victorian wedding cake of a house is such a great place to be snowed in in.

Tamales continue to dog my steps. My Aunt Margaret, having heard about my personal Tamale Trail this year, had me come to her house one day to show her how they are done. We made fifty or sixty and in the evening a dinner party ensued.

Entertaining generally, was of course the order of the day. There is a series of family parties that are given year after year. A cocktail party here, a brunch there, dinner on Christmas Eve at my sister Suzi”s. Sometimes the group has to divide up to visit “the other side of the family”. My parents dining room is ground zero for Christmas night dinner.

Even I hate to think about all the cookies and candies and such that I must have eaten. But one has to strike while the iron is hot and some things only appear at Christmas time. This is especially true of homemade candies. Almost no one make candy anymore anyway.

A propos to this point I must mention a holiday treasure that I’ve been receiving in recent years. My friend Elizabeth Karmel comes South every winter to make fruit cakes- persimmon fruit cakes no less, with her mother in Greensboro. In return for giving them puree made from Mrs. Andrews’ fruit, I get one of last year’s cakes that has been sitting in brandy for a year. These are so good that I can hardly go on.

Now about the Kitchenmagig. I’ve been hoarding old Kitchenmagigs for years. You can sometime still find them in old department stores or forgotten A&Ps. For those of you who don’t know, the Kitchenmagig is a sort of slotted ladle that we use at Crook’s Corner for scooping raw oysters out of their liquid for frying. They are perfect for this and no other tool seems to be. They were originally made by Mirrorware, I believe. I have two, but I won’t give them up for work. On the older versions is stamped  “Lifts, Whips, Mixes, Mashes, Crushes, Strains”. You can never find them now. I was complaining about this to a friend while shopping at a kitchen store right before Christmas. She sent me to Ebay and I now have two more to take to work. But they only had two.

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