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Family and Farming

Christmas Memories and Family Meals

Published on Monday, December 30, 2013

Well it’s that time. The time between Christmas and New Year’s where I’m back at work, but still thinking about the wonderful times spent with family, afternoon naps I was able to squeeze in, and all the great food I ate last week for Christmas. And just maybe regretting having that extra piece of cake… (In my defense, it was my birthday, AND it was the last piece, I couldn’t let it go to waste…right?)

And yes, you DID read that right, my birthday is on Christmas Day!

       Just a few of my Christmas birthday photos from this year. Oh, and that cake in the photo is my family's
              famous Red Velvet Cake. I request this cake every year for my birthday, it's my absolute favorite!

Some may say that I’m at a disadvantage because it happens all at once during the year, but I like having my birthday on Christmas. I get to have all my family around, spend time with friends in town for the holidays, and, I get to share my birthday with the true reason for the season, Jesus Christ. That’s pretty special if you ask me.

This year’s birthday seemed particularly busy between Christmas functions with my family and my fiancé’s family. I may not have had as much rest as I was hoping for, but one thing I did enjoy enough of was delicious food!

Ham, turkey, potatoes, casseroles, salads, dips, cookies, cakes, egg nog… you name it, we probably had it at one of the many Christmas gatherings. One of the dishes I had (which I always enjoy, but don’t seem to make very much) reminded me of a recipe Glendia Beck shared with me last week, appetizer meat balls!

This particular recipe is from Sonny’s mom, Pauline Beck. If you remember from my first Family and Farming post, Pauline was a great cook.

She and Glendia, along with family and friends, would spend several days preparing food for the first field days and “Ham and Bean Supper” meetings.

So when I sat down with Glendia to talk about recipes for Christmas, she just had to share Pauline’s Spiced Meat Balls recipe. Pauline actually got this recipe at a sorority party, but it soon came to be a staple recipe in her kitchen. When they used to have the Beck’s Christmas parties at Sonny’s house, Pauline would almost always make her Spiced Meat Balls.

They have always been a Beck family favorite and Glendia continues to make them each year at Christmas.

I didn’t get a chance to make Pauline’s Spiced Meat Balls for myself, but Glendia already had some made ahead of time for Christmas so she brought some in for me to try. They were fantastic!

         Since I wasn't able to make Pauline's meat ball recipe, I didn't have a picture to share, but this is a photo
               courtesy of which looks very similar to what Pauline's should look like.

Christmas may be over, but this meat ball recipe is so versatile and could be used at any type of gathering. If you’re having a get together for New Year’s Eve, I suggest giving these a try!

Did you catch that Pauline’s recipe includes “catsup”? Now otherwise known as, ketchup! I immediately knew what this ingredient was from reading some of my own grandma’s old recipes from the farm. Seeing recipes written in their original forms is neat to me, it makes me think of what times were like then and what special events they made these recipes for.

When making these for Christmas, Glendia doubles the recipe to make a big batch. If you don’t need that many, or want to make them ahead of time, they are very easy to freeze without the sauce and save for when you need a quick appetizer. After baking, drain and let cool before freezing. When you want to serve them, just thaw and heat through with the meat ball sauce.

One other big thing that happened this weekend was my bridal shower, as I am getting married in May. My family knows I love to cook and bake so I received several new cookbooks – one special one in particular which was composed of recipes from my aunts, to represent my Grandma Nord being there with me at the shower, even though she’s no longer with us.

                If my eyes look a little watery in this picture, they are. The love and meaning behind this
                                                           cookbook definitely made me tear up a little.

As I was reflecting on receiving all of these special recipes, I came up with one of my New Year’s resolutions. To continue my family's tradition of cooking and baking, my goal is to make more of my family’s recipes throughout the year. This may take me more than just a year to accomplish, as I have about six cookbooks to go through, but eventually, I want to be able to pass them on to my future children, nieces and nephews someday, just like my family has for me.

And if you’re lucky…I may just share some of the recipes I make with you guys too, so stay tuned!

Do you have any special recipes that are traditions in your family?

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Chelsea O'Brien
Chelsea O'Brien>

Chelsea O'Brien

Beck's Hybrids marketing associate, social media specialist, southern Indiana native and advocate of agriculture.

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