A Canadian Christmas - A Quebec Tradition

Growing up, my dad had a big family. They were 15 brothers and sisters. We would meet on Christmas Eve to go to the Midnight Mass. After Mass we would spend gifts a good two hours opening gifts. All night, my aunts would be in the kitchen preparing the feast for my uncles, aunts, grandpa, cousins. We would set up two big tables and the adults enjoyed their food together in the big living room and we ate  in the small living room with our cousins. Those were the good old days. My dad only has two brothers and two sisters still alive today. We don't see them often. One of my aunts is a nun and she is 87 years old. I do visit her in the summer but don't see her in the winter.

My grandma loved to sign with my aunts, sisters and I

Both of my grandpas playing cards together with my grandma and a cousin

My dad's sisters

The food we indulged in was meat pies, called pâtés in Québec, mashed potatoes, meatballs in gravy, turkey, peas and macaroni. For dessert they baked pies and the most popular was sugar pie with ice cream.

The next day we would eat again because we would visit my mom's mother. My grandma would prepare a big salad to start the meal. Then she would serve us meat pies, mashed potatoes and meatballs with gravy. As you can see it was very popular back then.

I have started my own tradition to prepare meatballs and pork hocks stew for Christmas Eve. It takes two days to prepare. I like to serve the meatballs with mashed potatoes and coleslaw. On Christmas day, if we are home, I might prepare a meat pie. If you walk into any home in Québec during the holidays, they probably have them all ready to be warmed in the freezer. Usually these are prepared early in December so they always have something to serve when they receive visitors at the last minute. Some families make hundreds of them before Christmas.

For dessert I started to make different ones than my family used to bake for the Holidays. Every year I bake cheesecake bars and pecan bars. I cut them into small squares and we always have dessert in the freezer. This year I made molasses cookies and they turned out pretty good. I might bake some more for the holidays. I also like to make homemade chocolates filled with Baileys. They make the perfect gift. Some years I might bake Caramilk fudge, Orange Christmas Cookies, Swedish Ginger Cookies, Peppermint Patty Bars.

During the Holidays what is the most important to me is to have all of my children around the table. We spend quality time together and this is very precious to me. They come home and trim the Christmas tree, we listen to Christmas music, we sing, play games, exchange gifts and eat. This is the best gift a mother can receive for Christmas.

Happy Holidays to all!

This month challenge for The Canadian Food Experience Project is ''A Canadian Christmas''.  As participants we are sharing our collective stories from coast to coast through our regional food experiences on the 7th of each month.