Christmas Traditions

If you are over 40, you may realize like I do, that it is fastly becoming our generation’s duty to carry on with Christmas traditions.  Christmas cards is one of those things that I see as an endangered art. Isn’t it wonderful, however, to get something in the mail that is not a bill or junk mail?  I love it. Moreover, there is no better way to show you care or brightness a day by posting a small note of care to someone that reminds them to have a Merry Christmas. I’m reminded of my favorite Christmas show, “It’s  Christmas Time, Charlie Brown” whenever I send a card. Charlie Brown knew the meaning of Christmas, and the value of some of its sweetest traditions.

So why not slow down and send at least a dear friend a note this Christmas. You’ll be glad you did.

Christmas foods are another holiday tradition we value here in the South. There is a long standing live for the southerner and his pork. Nothing is better than a fresh country ham soaked in a lard can on Christmas morning. My no made it just this past weekend for our early family Christmas brunch. This recipe is hundreds of years old, and still just as good. Remember, it all starts with a fresh, well preserved smoked country ham. Find a local or well known farm for this special dish!

Boiled Country Ham (the old time way)

First, select your whole country ham.

Put the ham in a lard can. (They are a little hard to find).

Cover the ham with water completely. You will probably have to cut the hock off to fit in the can. Cover the can.

Allow the can to come to a rolling boil and then let it boil about 40 to 45 minutes.

Take it off and set the can on a lot of newspapers and two blankets. Then completely wrap the entire can in first newspapers and bring the blankets all around the can. Tie with cord the wrapping to keep it tight.  Allow the can to set for at least 24 to 30 hours.

Then take it out.  It will still be hot.  This has been the cooking process.  Let it cool.

Then slice it and ENJOY! This will keep for weeks in the refrigerator.

Southern Christmas Goodies

I love traditional Southern foods, and there is no time better than Christmas to pull out some favorite sweet recipes of our past to eat and share.

I’ve just spent a better part of the day making peanut butter balls.  This is a recipe that my grandmother on my mom’s side handed down to me years ago.  I can remember anticipating them on Christmas Eve.  We all looked for that red tin full of them and snuck in a few throughout the entire day.  It was great!

After dinner, we shared homemade boiled custard.  This recipe was made days in advance from my great grandmother and later my grandmother.  Of course, we always chuckled when my “tee-totaller” grandfather would slip a bit of the “Jack” in it.  After all, we are from Tennessee, right?!  It was yummy.  To this day, when I sip some custard with sippin’ whiskey, I can see my Pop and smile.

At Puckett’s, we’d love to share some of these Christmas recipes for you to use and enjoy.  Each week throughout the holiday season, we’ll put a little Southern style into your day with some of our favorites.  Try them out, and let us know what you think.  Happy Christmas Eating!

 

Grandma’s Peanut Butter Balls

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups creamy peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 9 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips or chunks
  • 2 tablespoons Crisco shortening

Instructions:

  1. Mix together peanut butter, butter, salt, and vanilla extract.
  2. Work in the powdered sugar until it’s completely incorporated.
  3. Roll the peanut butter mixture into 1″ balls. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet and freeze for 15-20 minutes.
  4. Melt the chocolate and shortening in a double boiler.
  5. Using a toothpick, dip the balls one at a time in the chocolate leaving a small circle undipped to resemble a buckeye. Or you can use two forks to roll the peanut butter balls in chocolate, completely coating them.

 

Keith’s Grandma’s Homemade Boiled Custard

1 1/2 cups eggs (beaten)
2 cups sugar
1 gallon whole milk
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 Tbl vanilla

Instructions:

Boil ingredients until it begins to thicken. Be careful for scorching (a double boil is recommended). Once thickened it should coat the back of a wooden spoon. Strain the mixture and serve. Drinks best out of a mason jar!!

Thanksgiving at the Family Table

Giving Thanks

I admit that Thanksgiving Day is one of my absolute favorite days of the year.  When else do we get a chance to pause and give thanks to God for family, friends and loved ones?  Historically, it is a time of remembrance and appreciation for a bountiful harvest.  Our nation’s ancestors added to that tradition of Thanksgiving for safe passage throughout what I’m sure was a treacherous voyage across the ocean.  I am proud this is a holiday that our nation still cherishes every year.

Thanksgiving at the Family Table

Thanksgiving at the Family Table

It’s also rewarding for us at Puckett’s to share our table with our customers’ families as we open just long enough to have a Thanksgiving buffet.  We’ll have turkey and all the trimmings, made from scratch and ready to enjoy.  If our customers would rather eat at home, we can fix that up to order as well.  There is still time to make a call for that if our customers through Monday for sure, and may be possible into Tuesday.  Just call our stores for information. (Franklin’s number is (615)794-5527 and Nashville’s number is (615)770-2772).

We’re all busy these days, so if our guests need a little helping hand to make their Thanksgiving Day meal special without having to cook it all themselves, then it’s a very smart move.  I’m all for anything that can make Thanksgiving calm, pleasant and special for our customers.

After all, as a small family business, we at Puckett’s truly give thanks for our customers every day and especially on Thanksgiving Day.

massage

Nashville celebrates its One Year Birthday

It is hard believe that our Nashville store is already celebrating its first birthday.  I am amazed at how successful it has been, way beyond our expectations.  It wasn’t too long ago that we were still building out the store

Nashville Under Construction
It's hard to believe it's already been a year!We’ve celebrated our first year with massages for our great staff.  Because of them, we’re off to a great start.  We’ve had specials all week and some great singer/songwriters to throw into the celebration too.  Even the local paper gave us some props.  It’s been a great week, and we are off to an amazing start!  Thanks Nashville!

 

Road trip and research

Sometimes you’ve just got to get out of town and see how food is served in other areas. There is nothing like a road trip to get a different view, and for BBQ where is a better place than Memphis!

We rolled into Top’s BBQ in Memphis with some friends –nothing fancy-just great Memphis style BBQ

On down south we traveled to Mississippi….Greenwood Mississippi to be exact, home of The Viking Corporation and where the movie “The Help” was filmed.  BB King and some great blues also hales from this part of the Delta.

Greenwood is also home of world famous Luscos Southern restaurant. There is tons of history there both in the plantation and prohibition era. In today’s time, the likes of George and Laura Bush and Emeril have gone there for their own research. The food is Southern and yummy!

We drove on down to Oxford, Mississippi and enjoyed a great SEC football game. While there, we got to see firsthand the number on tailgate party in the USA-at the famous “Grove.” I’ve never seen anything quite like it, and I’m a University of Tennessee girl. It was impressive to say the least.

That evening, we trekked on down a bit to Taylor and ate catfish at “Taylor’s Grocery.” It was farm raised Mississippi catfish at its best. ..home-style. I loved sitting on the porch with a crowd of people and waiting for our name to be “hollered out.”

We ended our trip back in Greenwood at the Crystal Café. This little local place had some good scratch Southern cooking and amazing rolls and desserts.

It was great fun and a pleasure to see good Southern cuisine and culture just down the road a couple of hundred miles from Tennessee. I can’t wait for the next culinary adventure. I love this kind of road trip!