As I have written before, my mother, sister and I lived with my maternal grandparents for about seven years when I was a child. My grandparents were from the Midwest so food with them was always the meat and potato variety. Christmas was no exception.
Our Christmas day meal always included either a turkey or a ham, mashed potatoes and gravy, homemade dinner rolls, fresh cranberry sauce, a relish tray that always included celery with pimento cheese spread (my grandpa's favorite) and black olives (my favorite), a jello salad, and some sort of vegetable. Our dessert always included apple and pumpkin pie with vanilla ice cream. Over the years our menu has been modified slightly including the addition of the much-beloved green bean casserole.
Because my husband loves to cook he plays an integral role in our holiday meal. In recent years, we have hosted at our home because we have a larger kitchen. If we have a turkey, we use fresh oatnut bread for our stuffing. If we have a ham, he uses cloves and bastes it in ginger ale for a delightfully sweet flavor. Because my grandmother always made fresh cranberry sauce from whole berries, I'd never had jellied cranberry sauce. That is my husband's favorite so now we serve both varieties. We also have served a carrot souffle or a corn casserole from Paula Deen that is so good that even my finicky little girl eats it.
About every third year we celebrate the Christmas holiday with my husband's family. My mother-in-law is a marvelous cook so good food is never lacking. Because we typically go to Christmas Eve services, my mother-in-law would fix a prime rib for Christmas Eve dinner after the early service. Because she knows I prefer my meat a little more well done than others, she always cuts the ends just for me. For Christmas Day, she often fixes a fresh ham which is something else I'd never had before. It is so tasty without all the salt. Her menu is always more varied than my family's and I have been able to experience many new foods. Some of the more memorable items have included Yorkshire pudding and a wonderfully sweet pecan pie.
No matter the cook, no one ever walks away from the table hungry!