By the time you read this, Christmas will be over, the credit cards will soon be coming in, the tree will look empty except for discarded wrappings underneath it, and many of us will be asking ourselves, “Is that all there is? Where is the feeling of comfort and fulfillment I’m supposed to have?”
This Christmas we have seen the most shameful, insulting, selfish display of greedy people it has been our misfortune to witness. With no thought of what Christmas is really about, they have fought, pepper sprayed, made utter chaos of shopping for some small item that doesn’t mean a tinker’s damn to whoever receives it. Many times the gift will lie in a drawer only to be regifted the following year (hopefully not regifted to the person who gave it to them). It happens.
This makes me hunger for the Christmases of my childhood when an orange and an apple and a stocking filled with candy were a big deal, when the family went out together to cut down the Christmas tree from a kind neighbor’s farm, bring it home and decorate it with homemade ornaments and stand back and admire our handiwork.
The week prior was spent in taking food and toys to the less fortunate in the community, deriving joy from the thanks we got from them. There were no scenes of “cattle drives” of people” rushing through the stores using martial arts tactics in order to beat others to get the best buys.
Singing Christmas carols in church was very special to the children who raised their voices in praising the Christ Child. They filled the air with the real spirit of Christmas and folks in the audience left with hearts filled with the joy of the season.
Christmas dinner was always a feast that Mama had spent a week preparing, filling the house with delicious aromas of cakes and pies and a fat hen with dumplings lighter than a feather. Not to be missed was the togetherness and warmth of sitting around the table for yet another year, laughing and enjoying tales of Christmas past.
Never was there a monetary value put on the Christmas season like there is today.
Where did Christmas go?
Leftover cooked turkey shines in this casserole featuring pasta, filberts/hazelnuts, and mushrooms. It’s fast, easy, and bakes in 30 minutes. Feel free to use cooked chicken instead of turkey.
Turkey Filbert Casserole
1/4 pound butter
1/2 pound mushrooms, sliced
3-1/2 tablespoons flour
1 cup milk
1 cup half-and-half
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1/4 teaspoon celery seed
2 cups noodles, cooked and drained
2 cups coarsely diced cooked turkey
5 thin slices of Bermuda onion, separated into rings
1/2 lemon, sliced very thin
1/3 cup sliced or chopped filberts, toasted
1/2 teaspoon paprika
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter and saute the mushrooms in it until tender.
Melt 4 tablespoons of the butter and blend in the flour. Gradually stir in the milk and the half-and-half. Bring to a boil, stirring. Add the mushrooms and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Add the celery seed to the noodles and place half of them in a greased shallow casserole. Top with the turkey and half of the mushroom sauce. Add remaining noodles and arrange the onion rings and lemon slices over the top. Pour the remaining sauce over all. Dot with the remaining butter and sprinkle with the filberts and paprika.
Bake for 30 minutes, or until hot and bubbly.
Yield: 6 servings