Saturday, December 24, 2016

Christmas dinner from way up north, where the air gets cold

Want a genuine Christmas dinner from waaay up north? You're in luck! I recently found a copy of Alaska's Cooking (Anchorage Woman's Club, fifth printing, November 1965), and I put together this holiday menu from their suggestions.

For the appetizer:

The Holiday Salad - Tart Treat is one of those delightful aspics that starts with lemon gelatin and gets filled up with chili sauce, canned shrimp, and celery. It's the appetizer for the people who think that cocktail sauce is the real draw when the host serves shrimp. Finally, an excuse to eat a bowlful of shimmery, jiggly chili sauce!

For the main dish, I'll present two options. If you just really like the look of red and green on a holiday table, try Noel Casserole:

This doesn't sound too bad. Full of red tomatoes and green peppers, it might not exactly be a traditional Christmas dinner, but it would look festive as hell. (Don't ask me about that Chinese-character-esque thing in the corner. I have no explanation, and a Google reverse image search concluded that it was an anchor. My guess is that the Anchorage Woman's Club thought the combination of veggies and shrimp with rice made it a Chinese dish, even if the chili powder seasoning and casserole cooking method suggests more of a fusion of southwest with midwest. The Chinese character probably loosely translates as "serious misuse of resources.")

If you would prefer to use the main dish to HORRIFY the children, though, you might want to check out the wild game section instead:

Reindeer: It's low in fat, high in protein, rich in minerals, and guaranteed to make the kiddies cry when you pull an old bulb-style red holiday light out of the Swiss Steak or Hungarian Goulash and exclaim that whoever cleaned Rudolph did a piss-poor job.

For dessert, if you want to trick guests into eating something fruitcake-esque without realizing that's what they're getting themselves into, try this next-of-kin:

Christmas Pie re-purposes Brazil nuts and the crust, and the chiffon filling hides the candied cherries and rum. (At least the alcohol is not cooked out, so maybe guests will be pretty forgiving about the fruitcakey vibe.)

Let's not forget the beverages. The kids might forgive you for the reindeer if they get their own treat:

The "Lemonaid" even allows you to use up peppermint sticks you might have lying around as decorations. (Would they work as straws? They're not really hollow, but the candy typically has a lot of air worked into it. So maybe it would work? Go suck a lemon and get back to me on that one.)

The adults can have their own punch:

Nothing says, "I am committed to making my guests think I actually sprung for Champagne" quite like floating scoops of lime sherbet in the punch.

There you have it: A genuine mid-'60s holiday feast from Santa's neighbors to the south. Now I'm off to bake cookies and then spend the evening drinking Prosecco so I will be ready to help Ralphie's dad pronounce that fancy Italian word on the side of the mystery crate. I hope you have a similarly great day ahead of you!


  1. Merry Christmas, Poppy! BTW, Mrs. Roland H. Lane can go suck it :D

    1. Merry Christmas to you too-- even though you're probably making Mrs. Roland H. Lane roll in her grave right now. Ha!