Apples and Cakes at Christmas

Christmas card with cabin

“We were fortunate enough to have apples at Christmas. They were kept in the basement all year round, and especially for Christmas. We kept our best apples until Christmas. We had worlds of chestnuts and chinquapins [at Christmas]. We had walnut, caramel, blackberry, and pound cakes, and divinity and fudge.

We started making our fruit cakes in the fall. We would soak them in apple brandy. My mother would soak it and soak it, and then take the droppings that came off one cake, and pour it over another. She liked them soaked with apple brandy.

My mother also made a sugar cookie that was just great. She would pick out the best walnuts and put them in our cookies. She would cut the cookies out and put sugar on top. It was a crisp cookie. My mother’s were one of the favorites in our neighborhood.

—Louise Coldren – “A Foxfire Christmas”

This is the first Christmas in many many years that I’m not working a full time job away from home and I have thoroughly enjoyed preparing goodies for Christmas at a more leisurely pace.

Last night’s video: Importance of Oranges for Christmas in Appalachia.


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  • Reply
    Barbara Parker
    December 24, 2021 at 11:45 pm

    Merry Christmas Tipper to you and your family. We had candlelight service tonight at church so I am still certainly in the Christmas Spirit. I’m thankful God made the Plan of Salvation and that He included me as one of the recipients. I am blessed and thankful beyond measure.

  • Reply
    December 24, 2021 at 4:38 pm

    Memories of Christmas oranges came strongly to mind with your video about them. An orange, a tangerine, brazil nuts that were called by another name, English walnuts, hazelnuts, and raisins with seeds still in them and attached to stalks accompanied peppermint sticks and chocolate covered mint drops were in my stockings for all the years that I had one. My Pa was the one responsible for stockings and he made a great job of it. I suspect that he was lucky if he had a stocking during the years he was at the Baptist Orphanage more than a hundred years ago, but he made sure his kids had them and a few toys too.


  • Reply
    December 24, 2021 at 3:52 pm

    We here in Greeneville TN. Want to wish you and your family a wonderful Christmas and a Happy New Yr. May God Bless you! Thank you for a wonderful year of your posting. Merry Christmas ❤

  • Reply
    December 24, 2021 at 3:03 pm

    How. WONDERFUL! that you get to be Home for Christmas Present!

  • Reply
    Don Byers
    December 24, 2021 at 2:41 pm

    Merry Christmas and keep up the good work! You make my day better!

  • Reply
    Garland Davis
    December 24, 2021 at 1:44 pm

    It’s Christmas Eve out here in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, Santa’s getting ready for his rounds, and soon it will be Christmas Day…
    We plan a simple Christmas Eve dinner with some friends. Afterward, I may have a glass of wine, sit with my wife and the cat, pay homage to my sister, Phyllis, and our dog, Izumi, who both left us this year, and fondly reminisce about those few Christmases spent at home over the years, and the many others spent in various ports around the Pacific Rim, plus not quite so fondly, on those spent at sea or in a war zone, and one particularly memorable one, where the Christmas Carols were like… “Jingle bells, mortar shells, snipers in the pass… take you merry Christmas and…”, well some of you will understand…?
    Anyway… I would like to wish every one of you a very MERRY CHRISTMAS…
    Mele Kalikimaka
    즐거운 크리쓰마쓰
    Chúc Giáng sinh vui vẻ!
    Selamat Hari Natal
    Heri ya Krismasi’
    शुभ क्रिसमस Śubh krisamas’
    Gleðileg jó
    or however, it is expressed wherever you may find yourself this year…
    Hope Santa is especially good to all of you, and for all my old shipmates, please join me in “raising a glass” to those who are no longer with us, and to those who are out there now, on duty, standing the watch…

  • Reply
    Patricia Wilson
    December 24, 2021 at 12:55 pm

    My maternal grandmother was widowed at forty, and with only an eighth grade education her employment options were limited – which meant her income was just enough to get by. I never thought of her as poor, but she was. There were two things that she never allowed her financial limitations to affect: her church tithe and making fruit cakes to share. When I was old enough to notice such things, I realized my mom bought all the dried and candied fruits that went into the cakes and shipped it back to Kentucky. Granny gathered the nuts, and even as a devout Baptist, she would use the homemade cherry brandy made by another relative to soak the cakes. I’m in the “not a fan of fruitcake” crowd, but I made sure to eat a slice in her presence because I knew how much love she put into it.

    Tonight we celebrate His first coming as a baby as we long for His return as King!

  • Reply
    betty stephenson
    December 24, 2021 at 12:43 pm

    happy christmas everyone its december 25th christmas day here in new zealand and a beautiful day

  • Reply
    Ray Presley
    December 24, 2021 at 11:33 am

    Wishing the “Blind Pigs” and all Blind Pigs friends and family the most joyous Christmas ever. It cannot be the same without Pap and the other loved ones who have passed over, but you still have a wonderful family. We rejoice at another opportunity to celebrate the birth of Christmas and wish all peace, love, forgiveness and understanding.

  • Reply
    Kat Swanson
    December 24, 2021 at 11:21 am

    In the coalfields of Va., we would get a little poke …bag…of that colored hard candy from my daddy’s mine boss. I loved the colors of it and savored each piece. We had homemade peanut butter pinwheel candy and sometimes even got an orange. Somehow , even though we were poor, I always remember getting a good toy from Santa….a doll…a little piano…a little metal tea set with kittens on them. My four ugly brothers usually abused my special toys within a week , but on Christmas day they were all new and I was the first little girl to play with them.
    I never met my maternal grand ma, Louisa Caldwell Collins , but my mom would always told how her mom’s claim to fame was the fresh red slicing tomatoes she’d serve on Christmas morning with her gravy. My Grandma was said to have gathered the big still green tomatoes in late fall, wrapped each one separately in newspapers, then put them in a wooden box under her bed. On Christmas she’d slide out her box and serve the prettiest breakfast on the mountain!
    Christmas blessing to you all!

  • Reply
    Tina Huffman
    December 24, 2021 at 11:15 am

    Merry Christmas to you, Tipper and family! God bless!

  • Reply
    Terry Stites
    December 24, 2021 at 11:00 am

    Tipper, to you and yours, I wish a very Merry Christmas and a Joyful New Year!

  • Reply
    Sharon Cole
    December 24, 2021 at 10:13 am

    I remember those days as a working mom and wife. Trying to do all I wanted to for my family which meant some late nights. Those days are past now. Our boys have their own families and have blessed us with 3 sweet grandchildren. Now, they invite us over, but still ask for their favorite Christmas dish. I have learned so much and enjoyed The Blind Pig and the Acorn this year. Your videos and the girl’s videos have certainly made this old woman happy! Thankful for my new friends! Merry Christmas!!!

  • Reply
    December 24, 2021 at 10:13 am

    Louise’s story, reminds me of fruit cake memories from my childhood. I remember we would receive a big round fruit cake in a beautiful tin from my dad’s work ever Thanksgiving. My mom would open it, pour whatever flavored drinking alcohol she had on it and let it set overnight to soak. Once it was all absorbed she would wrap it up and put in a different container, then put in freezer until Christmas. Christmas week she pulled it from freezer to the refrigerator to thaw out. When family or friends come to visit she would thinly slice the fruit cake to serve. Everybody loved how she “doctored up” the company fruit cake.
    Merry Christmas to Tipper, all her family and to all the readers!

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    December 24, 2021 at 10:08 am

    Tipper–Apples were an integral part of our Christmas culinary delights, and I’s sure my siblings, Don and Annette, have some of the same fond memories of Mom’s applesauce cakes that I do. We grew the apples, worked them up and canned them, and the black walnut kernels that were a key ingredient in the cakes we gathered, cured, cracked, and shelled. Mom always made the cakes over Thanksgiving and, like this description, she “nurtured” them with frequent applications of cider or a dollop of wine until Christmas rolled around. Thoughts of those cakes, along with another apple-related item, Grandma Minnie’s stack cakes, set my salivary glands into involuntary overdrive.

  • Reply
    December 24, 2021 at 9:59 am

    I’ve read the Foxfire Christmas and remember the look in my Mother’s face as she was describing how excited she was to find a beautiful Orange in her stocking at Christmas. Oranges, Apples, walnuts, pecans and Coconut cake made fresh from grated coconut was carried on when she had her family and I still love it today.
    You are truly blessed to be able to be at home and enjoy the decorating of home, baking, and cooking special dishes with more time. It is heart-warming to see that Katie and Corrie are so appreciative of your being at home and so enjoying this special time of year sharing and learning from their family. God Bless!

  • Reply
    Bob Lingle
    December 24, 2021 at 9:01 am

    Merry Christmas to you and your family! This is my ‘first’ Christmas with y’all (I’m a newbie), but everything you do makes me feel like an old member of the family. That is so blessed refreshing in the world we live in. Thank you for all the precious memories of days-gone-by. May the Good Lord bless y”all and keep everyone safe as we take time to celebrate the birth of our Savior.

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    December 24, 2021 at 8:25 am

    Merry Christmas to the entire Blind Pig gang.

  • Reply
    Margie G
    December 24, 2021 at 8:20 am

    First off- MERRY CHRISTMAS, TO YOU ALL!!! I am delighted to hear your break from full time employment has allowed you to “fluff up your nest” as it were. Since I’m home now, the house is clean, good meals are prepared, the laundry stays done and I feel like a homesteader here. I know spending precious time with your family is irreplaceable! It’s not big money or fancy things they will remember, but mom’s loving hands creating masterful dishes and sweet delights that one can taste the love and special mom care! There’s no one in all these years like my beloved grandma and never will be. Merry Christmas to you in heaven. I’ll see you soon enough….oranges and apples and nut everything is in order so bring it on!!! Mum is the word on fruitcakes here- icky… lol

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    December 24, 2021 at 8:18 am

    I’m glad you have the blessing of being at home this year. I think I know several other people who are to. Sharon took a Christmas baking and making spell and turned out about four different Christmas goodies. We’re working on them.

    We have our grandson with us this year. Had not seen them in person since Christmas 2019. Having them here is the best earthly blessing we could have had. Only thing that could have made it better was if our son had made it to. We have been having a grand time.

    I made my first-ever greenery wreath this year. It turned out better than I had dared expect. I attached a green plastic ‘chicken wire’ mesh to one of those green metal wreath forms to make “pockets”. I made bundles of greenery with rubber bands and tucked them into the pockets. Assembling the wreath didn’t take long at all but getting ready to was awhile.

  • Reply
    December 24, 2021 at 7:50 am

    Merry Christmas Tipper and family !
    Thanks for another wonderful year of the BP&A blog !

  • Reply
    Don Byers
    December 24, 2021 at 7:40 am

    ….My Uncle Rush Mauney had a country store at what is now the corner of Murphy Hwy and Gum Log Rd. In December he would get a load of oranges from Florida…..wowo…and chocolate covered cherries!!!!( I may have already posted, but I think I deleted)

  • Reply
    Larry Paul Eddings
    December 24, 2021 at 7:32 am

    Fruit cakes are s funny thing. There doesn’t seem to be any middle ground. Either you love a good fruitcake, or look on them as some sort of uneatable concoction. I’m A fan of fruitcake. My grandmother made one every year for Christmas.

  • Reply
    December 24, 2021 at 6:59 am

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year..
    For you and yours..

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    December 24, 2021 at 6:44 am

    Yes, Tipper, and your family has enjoyed it too! We have your company as well as even more of your Christmas delights to eat! This year has been a bounty of delicious treats and I have certainly enjoyed them all!
    You are an outstanding cook!

  • Reply
    Martha D Justice
    December 24, 2021 at 6:43 am

    This brings back so many precious memories of my childhood. Daddy told us about the joy of finding an orange and a peppermint stick in his stocking on Christmas morning. He said he would cut a hole in the orange and stick the peppermint stick in the hole and twist it around and then suck the juice out.I remember my Mother cracking a fresh coconut and how hard she worked to get the meat out in pieces large enough to grate to make Daddy’s favorit coconut cake with seven minute icing. Thank you for bring these memories back for us. MERRY CHRISTMAS ❤

  • Reply
    December 24, 2021 at 6:28 am

    Merry Christmas Tipper.

  • Reply
    donna sue
    December 24, 2021 at 4:49 am

    I have such a fear of botulism from food, that I am amazed over recipes like the fruit cakes this author’s mom started in the fall. Were they stored on a pantry shelf as the brandy soaked it? I guess the alcohol would “preserve” it so it didn’t need refrigeration. When I was 17, my whole family, all 7 of us, came down with a severe case of food poisoning, probably from the hamburger my mom had used in dinner the night before. The only other time I have ever been that sick was about ten years ago when I got the Swine Flu. I thought I was going to die both of those times in my life! Anyways – I am so extra careful about how I am storing food and expiration dates, because of the food poisoning my parents and siblings and I suffered that one time. I love reading old recipes and imagining myself making them, even if I am scratching my head over some of the steps involved. I am so happy you are in your element this holiday season!! I love when I can be in my kitchen being productive. It gives me such a satisfying feeling of accomplishment when I have been cooking all day. I love homemaking, and food is such a vital part of our everyday lives. Sometimes people tell me I should open a restaurant. I have no desire to do that. I just want to cook in my own kitchen, at my own pace, when I want to be in there. I love all your posts, Tipper! Especially the ones describing how food is prepared! Thank you!!!

    Donna. : )

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