Ten writers for children. All with something to say.
Hemingway Family Rituals
Until contemplating the topic for this round of posts, I had not necessarily thought of our family Christmas rituals as traditions, but I like the word "tradition" and from now on, that's the way I'll think of them.
Each year we (just my husband and I now that our children are grown) go out to cut our own Christmas tree, and for the last 15 years or more we've gone to the same small tree farm in the Catoctin Mountains of Maryland, not far from the presidential Camp David. Some years the selection is better than others, but I inevitably lose my sense of "room size" when out in the woods and we come home with a tree so large it's difficult to carry inside, set up in a tree stand, and then decorate, even with a ladder. Fortunately our log cabin has a vaulted ceiling and open beams, but my husband's back can no longer tolerate these oversized trees. Now I am held to a 10 to 12 foot limit.
Another tradition began with our son's first Christmas (when he was just one week old)--the gift of a Christmas tree ornament for each child's stocking in keeping with their personalities and interests. By the time our children left home and started their own families, they had quite an assorted collection of ornaments to take with them. Now we continue the same tradition by choosing special ornaments for each of our grandchildren's stockings.
And finally another tradition--baking. I do bake some Christmas cookies, but the older I get, the less patience I have for decorating them and the more I try to avoid consuming them. However, I do love baking bread, especially our old family recipe for shredded wheat and molasses bread. I start several days before Christmas and try to deliver to special friends and neighbors while the loaves are still hot from the oven. Of course I do save a few loaves for our own family. Feel free to enjoy the recipe below:
Shredded Wheat and Molasses Bread
3 shredded wheat biscuits (the large ones)
3 cups boiling water
1/2 cup molasses
2 TBSP oil
2 tsp salt
1 pkg. dry yeast, soaked in 1/2 cup tepid water
Around 10 cups of flour (enough to make a good dough)
Pour boiling water over broken wheat biscuits; when cool, add yeast which has been soaked in 1/2 cup warm water in meantime. Add molasses, oil, salt. Mix in enough flour to make a good dough; knead, let rise in greased bowl until double in size (about 2 hours). Then punch down and knead again, divide in two and place in greased loaf pans to rise for about 1 hour more. Cover lightly with a towel while rising both times. Bake at 375 degrees for 15 minutes; then reduce to 350 degrees for about 45 minutes more. Makes 3 medium or 2 large loaves.
Enjoy warm from the oven, toasted, or for sandwiches!