Saturday, December 12, 2015

Southern Compost

I'm (mostly) done grading, so this weekend we will slow down and ogle some southern Christmas recipes. Let's start off with a pretty little appetizer tray from Southern Living's The Holiday Cookbook (1971):

The tidbits are so festive, what with the green peppers and cucumbers and bright red tomatoes (Where did they find ones that weren't a mealy pink this time of year?), all topped jauntily with black olives. Even the boring celery gets pressed into a tree-ish shape!

And what's in that creamy-looking filling?

There are actually three fillings. They all start with cream cheese, olives, hot sauce, and lemon juice. Then one gets tomato paste, one gets mashed avocado, and one gets... candied cherries, sugared ginger, and chopped nuts? I can wrap my head around the first two, but candied cherries and ginger with olives and hot sauce? And that's the one that gets stuffed into the celery? If you serve these at a Christmas Eve party, I'm guessing that the celery/olive/cherry/ginger thingies will be left for Santa. Maybe if you're lucky he'll leave Charlie in the Box from the Island of Misfit Toys. That guy will eat anything.

If you're not lucky, well... when you pull a spat-out glob of partially-chewed celery out of your stocking, you'll wish he'd gone for the coal instead.

Maybe you should just relax with a cocktail-- a nice, Christmas-in-the-South red velvet cocktail:

Then maybe it will be time for your own spit-take. Okay, this drink doesn't really sound bad-- kind of a non-alcoholic variation of a Bloody Mary-- but when I hear "red velvet," I am thinking of something dessert-y-- not tomato juice infused with celery and onion!

If you can pull it off, maybe you can save the day with this very-impressive dessert suggestion:

Now that is a proper capper to a crazy day-- set a stack of ice-cream-stuffed cream puffs on fire! It just might be enough to make everyone forget about the celery and "red velvet" debacles.

Have a crazy-good weekend!


  1. Oh man. Southern Living is the Bible among some of my relatives. My grandmother has refused to throw out an issue for years. They kept up that heavily staged food photography well after other cookbooks went for the simpler style.

    1. I could definitely see Southern Living as something beloved by a certain type of grandma. My maternal grandma would have just looked at the pictures and dismissed the whole thing as "too much fussing around," though!

  2. Your prose is just outstanding! I would just love to see the spectacle of flaming cream puffs, too bad no photographs were available :(

    1. Thanks! It does seem like a pretty bad oversight on their part not to show the flaming cream puffs.