My husband’s extended family has been celebrating Christmas Eve together since they emigrated from Germany in the mid-1800s. I was feeling a tiny bit melancholy because the older generation (now in their 80s and 90s) is retiring from hosting the parties. The festivities will surely still go on, although not in quite the same high style as Christmas’s past because many of the next generation (such as ourselves) have made their homes far and wide.
Cincinnati was settled largely by German immigrants and judging by the countless established bakeries dotted throughout the city, I imagine the original emigrees were fabulous bakers. One of Tom’s cousins, Debbie, created a cookbook based on favorite family Christmas recipes, including recipes that date back to the 1800s, recipes from the family’s cooks, and recipes from old German great aunts who also lived in the big house and whose job it was at Christmastime to make thousands of cookies. When we spend Christmas at home and not in Ohio, Liv, Alex, and I love to cook from the family Christmas cookbook and the cookies especially are the yummiest you could possibly imagine. My father-in-law, who is the most kind-hearted man I have ever met, has a wonderful sense of humor, and is a great storyteller, too–and boy does he have many stories to share from a life richly led!
Cincinnati is just that much further west that sunrise is nearly an hour later than in Gloucester. The club that we stay at is set within a golf course sited on a hill, with beautiful panoramic views of the surrounding countryside. Getting ready for Christmas Eve celebration #2! Always a challenge to get loved ones to stand still long enough for a photo!
End Notes: In poking around online, I found a photo of the home of Great-aunt Kitty, where the Christmas Eve parties were held continuously for many years. Tom has fond memories of wonderful Christmas’s spent there and especially of the “kiddy table,” where all the cousins and siblings sat together (no adults!), and I gather, where many food fights occurred. The house, still standing, was donated to the Cincinnati park board and you can see more photos of the gorgeous interior at this link: The Gibson-Hauck House. While in Cincinnati we also visited the Rookwood Pottery studio. If you have ever seen Antiques Roadshow, you probably know how beautiful is Rookwood pottery. This post is already too long so later in the week I’ll do a little post about Rookwood.