The Day after Christmas

BW searing trout at Camp Dularge after recent fishing trip

BW searing trout at Camp Dularge after recent fishing trip

And all through my house . . . Nah, I’m not going to do that to you, but I am off and running this warm, balmy day after Christmas down here on the bayou.  We didn’t decorate this year, so I leave all the tree un-trimming to all you festive folks who kept the traditions of the Christmas tree and accompanying garlands, wreaths, bells, and such.

The sad news is Blufloyd passed away last Saturday.  He fought a good fight, but in the end, what he called “the big C word” won out.  He will be remembered most for his coded comments, which no one could decipher without the Blufloyd Decoder Ring.  Rest in peace, Blu, and I hope you catch ’em all up in Heaven.

The end of the year is approaching, and before I start waxing eloquent about what a challenging year it’s been, I’m taking pause to ask you all to take the time today between loosening your belt buckles and hefting boxes into the attic, to grab a beverage, slow down, and please tell me what YOU DID for Christmas this year.

I want to hear the traditional things, the creative things, the off-the-wall things, the special things, the sad things, the happy things.  Things you saw.  Things you heard.  Things you read.  Things you ate and drank.

I really, really do.

For now, I’m taking Miah to see “Into the Woods”, a musical he has had memorized since he was a tiny boy.  He wore out the first DVD I bought him of it, starring Bernadette Peters as the witch.  She was brilliant in that role.  Anyway, I hope the cinematic version does it justice, and that Meryl Streep can hold a candle to Bernadette.  

Be back later with a glass of vino or something similar to be entertained by all of you, I hope!

Later gator,

BW

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Comments

The Day after Christmas — 62 Comments

  1. Our Christmas consisted of spending priceless time with both our families. I forgot to take photos at my in-laws, so I’m mad at myself for that. So many priceless smiles I could have captured. Like so many, we remembered lost loved ones. Stories were told, laughs were had, and of course, love was felt by all!

    • Thanks for getting us off to such a great start, Cherie, and welcome to the bayou blog! Like you, I kept forgetting my camera this year. Not sure what was up with that, but there were plenty cell phone photos!!! Not the same to me, though! Take care and thanks again for hopping over here!!! BW

  2. Our family Christmas takes place on Christmas Eve night. Besides several other dishes of food we all provide, I traditionally prepare Ruby’s Christmas Oyster Gumbo. Ruby is my deceased mother in law and was, hands down, the best Cajun cook I’ve ever known. This family tradition was carried down through the generations from Ruby’s mother. She used to purchase her oysters from the seafood wagon that would occasionally pass in front of her Bayou Blue home. That was back in the day “when a gallon of oysters was really a gallon”. I was fortunate enough to be present when Ruby prepared this gumbo on one of the yearly occasions, thank goodness, because my previous efforts fell very short of her delicious gumbo.

    After enjoying all this wonderful food, we all settle in the living room and open gifts, talk, laugh and reminisce. The grandchildren entertained us with Christmas carols and dances learned in their Cheer classes. All too soon, they load up and depart for kids to settle in their beds and parents to complete their ‘business’.

    Christmas day was quiet. One son and family brought over freshly cooked food and we pulled out leftovers from the night before. We enjoyed yet another wonderful meal. They went home and we left for a brief visit with other family. Home again, a few straggled in for a supper of leftovers. What they really come back for is Ruby’s gumbo! It is a once a year treat.

    One thing I do miss is sitting down to a set table. We now eat buffet and on paper plates. One thing I don’t miss is the time it takes to do all the cleaning up of those dishes. I rather spend that precious time with my family. But one year, just for old times sake, I’ll surprised everybody and pull out those good dishes, dust them off and we will all ‘dine’.

    Wishing you and yours, Wendy, and all who read this a very Happy New Year.

    • Oyster gumbo. And you got Ruby’s recipe! And you only make it once a year, right? You must make a huge pot!! I honestly have to tell you I’ve never eaten it, BUT with good reason–The Captain only eats his oysters 2 ways: raw or fried. He hates them in stew and gumbo, so, as a result, my mother-in-law never made that where I could learn, so I am naturally curious about your recipe. I might have to swing by next Christmas Eve afternoon (before family arrives) and get me a taste!!! So, that is a secret recipe? I hope you intend to pass it along to your son or daughter soon, too! My adult kids started asking me for recipes in the past two years, and it blesses me so much when they do! That means the heritage of bayou cooking will continue on! I loved picturing your Christmas Even, Cynthia.

  3. After my neighbor gave me 53 grapefruits (all that were on her tree) I ended up concocting my new favorite beverage. A Salty Dog! All 53 were peeled and sectioned with a sharp knife. One and a half cups of grapefruit supremes along with some juice blended til smooth and then mixed with a half cup of vodka. Salt the glass rim like a margarita, add ice and the blend. Mmmmmm! Good stuff! Turns out the neighbors are both on Lipitor and grapefruit juice counteracts its effectiveness. Too Bad.

  4. As our children grew up, we were constantly being told to come to this house, that house, etc for Christmas. I swore to my children that when they were grown and married, I wouldn’t expect them to show up here on Christmas day. I believe they should be in their own homes and the grandparents can go visit them. So, we do! Had a fabulous “pot luck” at our grandson C’s and grand daughter in laws. This was their first Christmas as a married couple and they did great as hosts for our lunch. Our grandson likes to cook and he bought a plain ham, made a smokey brine and soaked it for about 24 hrs before baking. It was very good. Our daughter brought homemade, fried apple pies. C’s uncle brought green bean casserole, I took about 8 lbs of mashed potatoes, olives, pickles and foam plates. Also baked 10 dozen cookies, 2 batches of sugar free brownies and made a huge pan of Tiger Butter. I carried plenty with me too. We left there and came home to rest a bit then headed the opposite direction to visit our son, daughter in law and their kids. We carried their gifts, cookies, candy and brownies to them.

    We had lots of visitors and phone calls from family and friends too and the cookies are disappearing fast.

    • She says “Tiger Butter” so nonchalantly like we all know what that is. I, for one, have to admit, that I had to look it up. I thought it was something out of Jungle Book. So, is that a mixture of peanut butter and dark chocolate fudge, swirled like tiger stripes? I just might have to look into making some of that next year! It’s so pretty! It’s very thoughtful of you not to demand all the kids/grand kids go to your house for Christmas, but it’s also very, very smart on your part! That way, you can pick and choose where you go and who you see and what you eat, LOL! I know that wasn’t your motivation–I’m teasing you, Cammy. Have a very Happy New year to you, your hubby, and Mom.

      • I make the Tiger Butter with a 1 1/2 lb block of white almond bark and about 3/4 cup of creamy peanut butter all melted together(you can use crunchy if you have the teeth to eat it with). I spread it about 1/4″ thick in a non-stick, foil (love that stuff) lined sheet cake pan. Then melt 1/2 cup of semi-sweet chocolate w/about 1/2 TBLSP of half and half (reg. milk will not work good). Drizzle over the almond bark and with a wooden spoon handle, swirl it around and enjoy scraping off the candy stuck to the handle. 🙂 You can sprinkle chopped nuts, toasted coconut, minced/chopped marshmallows, etc over it and press in gently while still warm if you want. My girls like it plain.

        Mom got her Christmas present today. She got a visit from her great grandson and his new baby, her great great grandson. If my daughter had been able to go, we would have had 5 generations together. When she opened the door to my knock, saw my grandson and the baby, her face lit up with a special glow. I’ll never forget it.

  5. This is the third time I’ve tried to write something, but haven’t been able to. After reading about Blu’s death, I couldn’t find words. It’s one thing to have someone quit posting by choice, but his illness and death hit hard even though we never met. Maybe it’s the Season.

    Our Christmas was like Christmas Past. Too much food and WAYYYYYYYYYYY too noisy. But, with 21 people ages 2-93 it’s a given. At least the weather was nice and the grandchildren were able to go outside a while. They reported a pleasant discovery. Everyone around laughed their heads off when I Jumped out of my chair to declare, “It’s a Christmas miracle”. They had discovered 3 eggs in the chicken tractor. They haven’t laid an egg since late Oct. when the temps went down into the upper 20’s. By my calculations…those eggs cost at least $10 each.
    All in all, it was a wonderful day!

    • If it makes you feel any better, Choupiquer was able to see him the week before he passed away. They were keeping him very comfortable. I spoke to him two weeks before he passed, and that was bittersweet. You have a very big heart, my friend, and it is the season. Hallmark movies have been making me cry. Way too noisy? It as that way at my oldest son’s house at his Christmas party for friends. 30 people in one place. Never heard such a clatter in my life!!! Oh oh oh! I LOVE the 3-egg story! It IS A CHRISTMAS MIRACLE!!! And only you and I would get so excited about 3 little eggs, (big smile)!!! Who cares how much they cost — look how much they’re worth!! Happy New Year, Steffi! (Oh, and I need you teach me how to catch crab in the surf like you do at Grand Isle. My niece moved to Ocean Springs, and she’s used to crabbing in st. Charles Parish, so we want to give it a try over there and see if they have nice blue crab in the spring. Will we be wasting our time?)

  6. Christmas Eve, the up river and the down river neighbors both had big bonfires. Its tradition here. Sister made Smoked turkey gumbo with the Thanksgiving carcus, I made Maple pralines, Peanut brittle and “Nibbles”. Nibbles are the predicessor to chex mix and much better. My Christmas present I bought myself came in, and have not even plugged it yet. Its a large meat grinder, no more hand cranking for me! Glad I got it too. Pop’s great gand babies had a large time. The baby sat on the table next to Pop and they did some damage to the bowl of nibbles. The baby is 7 months and she’s never seen anything new that she didn’t like to eat…..LOL can you say butterball?

    Christmas morning I rushed and Santa had been here. I had a new mop and a new mop bucket, I must have been good right?

    • A travel writer from Arkansas, whom I took out on my boat earlier this month, came back down to your levees to participate in the bonfires. Something I’ve never done, but would like to do; and I’ve mentioned this before–I don’t want to just insert myself as a stranger. I want to be with warm friends and get the full experience! Maybe next year! Yay! Nobody deserves an electric meat grinder more than you. Somehow, I got the picture of little kids trying out your new grind by putting Nibbles in there and grinding them up for the 7 month old to try! I’m sure that’s now what you meant, LOL! I’m not sure what to make of your getting a new mop and bucket! WERE you good this year? 🙂

      • BW, your remark about grinding the nibbles make me remember the column you wrote about your coffee grinder and was it cheese nips? 🙂

        You mentioned Hallmark movies. Have you seen the one called Christmas on the Bayou? I wondered if it was fairly accurate regarding the traditions/bon fires/boats, etc.

        • Yes, it was Termite who ground up Cheesenips in my coffee grinder! I will have to tell that story one day at our next family gathering . . . . I must not have seen that movie because it doesn’t ring a bell. I wonder how I can see it now that the season is over?

      • Sign me up for next year’s bonfire party. I had such a good time a couple of years ago, just looking at the structures and cruising the levees, but we didn’t stay for the bonfires themselves because both my friend and I were nervous about driving those roads at night. I think it must be a wonderful experience.

  7. I am so sorry that Blu is no longer here to keep us guessing. But I have to believe he’s enjoying where he is now better than where he was before he left. So I realize, I am only morning for myself, not his passing.

  8. My husband and I always travel to his family home in the Mississippi Delta from our home in Texas for Christmas. We met our son who lives in New York there for our family Christmas. I spent each morning getting up at dawn to watch the sun rise over the oxbow lake and watch the thousands of geese fly over in formation. I love the delta in the winter…flat and stark and wild.
    We gathered on Christmas Eve with extended family to enjoy duck and sausage gumbo, cheese straws, and other dishes brought by guests. The highlight of the evening was, as always, gathering around the fireplace to listen to family tales told each year. Same tales, laughs, tears..the glue that holds our family together no matter how far away we live.

    • And I love your description of the Delta in the winter, flat and stark and wild, with geese honking as they fly over! Another gumbo, and oh my goodness duck and sausage gumbo is probably one of the best EVER! Tale telling is by far the best time of all. We did some of that last Monday night, the 21st, at my eldest son’s house for our family gathering. Those boys love to tell stories on themselves now that they are older, and I can’t spank or punish them for their transgressions. We laugh until we cry (or almost pee our pants, LOL!), and there is just nothing like family tall tales!! What a great Christmas Eve!

  9. I’m so saddened by Blu’s passing. Will surely miss him here.

    We went to the in-laws for the Christmas feast and gifts. Menu was prime rib, the usual assorted vegetable casseroles, and black forest cake.

    Then on to Dallas to watch LA Tech in the Heart of Dallas Bowl game where our son was cheering in his last game.

    Home again, home again, and I’m ready for a day of rest.

    • You had an exceptional and unusual Christmas! And they won the bowl didn’t they? I’m sure it was the best gift ever to see Jake cheering at his last game of his college season! I know y’all are so proud of him! Have your day of rest, and we’ll talk soon, LilSis! BTW, it’s great having you comment here again!

  10. We didn’t do much of anything. No family around here and with everyone else busy it’s very quiet at our house except for the little dogs barking at all imaginary movement out the window. Made a pot of beans & ham, and cornbread completed our feast. It was a pretty day so we did a few chores and finished the day with ice cream and popcorn.

  11. Oh, now, Susie, you made me get teary eyed. Not because you were quite and alone with your little barking dogs, but because bean and ham soup was one of my mom’s favorites, which we seldom had because Daddy wasn’t crazy about it. (Yes, she spoiled him.) Leftover beans with ham are the base for the soup, but the sentiment really caught me off guard. I miss my parents all the time, but I really, really miss them and think of them with fond sadness at Christmastime. Ice cream and popcorn? Simultaneously? Might be a new fad at my house! Happy New Year, Susie, and it’s great hearing from you again!

  12. I am sorry about Blu,s passing, but I have always heard: TO BE ABSENT OF LIFE, IS TO BE PRESENT WITH GOD.

    Our Christmas was great and all but one of my children and some of my husbands were here. The food was really good with the usual dressing and trimmings. Everyone ate heartily and then wished they had not. My Mississippi g’kids are on their way to see my Tennessee g’kids and stay until the 31st. On the 31ST it will the Tn. g’kids coming down here to see the Ms. boys for a few days. They will probably be fighting by that time. LOL!

  13. So, Louise, how many husbands do you have? LOL!!! You’re right . . . if there are boys involved, they probably will be fighting by the time they get back to Mississippi! I’m curious if you all had turkey again or ham? I’m noticing that several of the folks commenting here had Christmas Gumbo, and I’m beginning to think that is a very good idea for south Louisiana; especially since we all indulge way too much at Thanksgiving. My gang just isn’t that crazy about turkey, and then there were 2 turkeys at my son’s party. I’m all turkeyed out!!!!! Y’all have a happy new year, Louise!

  14. I spent a very quiet Christmas Day per my choice. I cooked a turkey, cornbread dressing, candied sweet potatoes, dinner rolls & a relish tray consisting of deviled eggs, pickled baby corn, sweet baby gerkins, black olives, stuffed celery & pimento stuffed olives. It was a very relaxing laid back day which is exactly what I needed after 3 weeks of heavy duty baking to make the multiple goodie packages I give out each year. This year my packages contained mini sour cream pound cakes, date nut loaves, Christmas rice krispie treats, candied pecans, chocolate pecan fudge, peanut butter fudge, sugar cookies & chocolate chip cookies. They are sent to friends all over the US. Today I have picked the turkey carcass clean of meat & plan to make a turkey pot pie with that. I have the bones boiling in water seasoned with the turkey drippings, onion, celery, sage, thyme, salt, pepper, chicken bullion & turmeric. I will strain that, package into serving size packages, freeze to use in recipes during the year.

    • Ok, now, you won the award for my Christmas Cooking Heroine! Your relish tray brings back memories of those my great grandmother used to put out for Thanksgiving and/or Christmas. You deserved a nice, quiet, laid back day after three weeks of heavy duty baking! Date nut loaf was my dad’s favorite, made by my Great Aunt Dottie, but I never learned to make it. Is yours an old family recipe? Candied pecans sound divine, too. I bet those are some of your BEST friends, right? And I love that you use your turkey carcass to make a hardy broth for later cooking. That is very, very southern, my dear! Now, I’m wishing you a Happy New Year, because I know you’re thinking about black-eyed peas, cornbread, and cabbage, right?

  15. I have only HAD TWO husbands including the one now. I don’t always get things right when I am talking face to face. We had ham and smoked marinated turkey. the turkey was marinated with Ranch dressing, Dale sauce and butter.HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!

    • I bet that turkey was very moist and tasty! Louise, I was just kidding with you about the husbands! I knew what you meant. Sorry to tease you like that! And a very happy new year to you and your family!

  16. I gasped with surprise and sorrow at Blu’s passing. I really, really wish I would have had a “Blu Decoder Ring” much of the time when reading his posts but, usually, got the gist of it. It’s not the season, but my appreciation of living life that makes me sad with his passing. I will miss his posts. Glad you and Choup were able to be with him in the last weeks. We lost two aunts in the family, within one week, prior to Christmas.

    Traditionally, I make Christmas gumbo from the Thanksgiving turkey on Christmas Eve when my husband’s family has ALWAYS opened family presents. This year there was no leftover turkey, as it was all consumed at Thanksgiving.

    No matter. Our oldest son, his wife and two daughters didn’t come. Our youngest had plans with his girlfriend’s family. I did put his Christmas jammies on his bed for when he got home. Uh, he’s 26 now and I’ve been doing this all his precious life. No presents were opened on this Eve for the first time in 70-something years.

    Christmas morning we opened the gifts. Homemade hot chocolate, and I’d made 3 loaves of homemade chocolate, cinnamon-raisin bread the night before. Amid all the refuse, they left. New traditions are about to be made, perhaps? B and I ate finger sandwiches and muffulettas the rest of the day. Aah, all is well here. I didn’t have a ton of hand-washing the Christmas china nor the silver!

    As for the three ‘miracle” eggs from Steffi’s post: I do appreciate the eggs. I was practically raised on “the farm” I know the iffy of chickens.

    Thank you, Cuzzy, for a year of sharing your beautiful photographs, delicious, authentic recipes, knowledge of all things bayou and, mostly, of yourself and family.

    May all reading this have a healthy, prosperous, happy New Year!

    • 70 plus years? Are you sure, Cuz? Did the “Orr” family open gifts together on Christmas Eve? Well, it sounds like ’twas very quiet at your house, and the bread sounds DIVINE! Yes, I guess as the kids grow older we do have to make room for changes and new traditions. Appreciate the sweet words, but the thanks are from me to you (and everyone else), who make this blog a labor of love for me. Without y’all, this would just another site for folks to stumble across. Y’all keep me at it and keep me coming back!!! And a very happy new year to you, Bob, and Z!!

      • No, the tradition is from my husband’s family. And it’s more likely 170 years of tradition.

        Happy New Year to all of you there!

  17. My husband and I have a large family party on Christmas Eve. We cook for a week before hand….. This year he was not feeling well and on Christmas Eve he wasn’t even able to get out of bed. I just forgot trying to clean the house and worked on the dinner. I sent the 22 lb. turkey to my neighbor’s home to be cooked. Of course, they always are part of our party. As the guest arrived they pitched in wherever they could help. Proud of myself, the party was a success and my husband was able to visit with people as they popped their heads into the bedroom. No one wanted to get near him and all of his germs. The most important part of the evening was seeing family members spending time together and catching up on all the news from the past year. Took me two days to recover. Happy Holidys

    • Olivia, are you new here? If so, then welcome to the bayou, and we are happy to have you — even if it’s not your first time! I’m sorry your hubby was ill for Christmas . . the flu is already going around down here, and I’m avoiding it like the plague! Thank goodness for the generous neighbor willing to bake your turkey, right? Sounds like y’all had a great time of fellowship anyway! Happy New Year to you and yours, Olivian, and I hope your husband is up and at ’em soon!

  18. Well, you already know how my Christmas eve went. Running the cell phone through the laundry wasn’t the smartest thing I’ve ever done! Thank goodness for the lovely Verizon elves who fired up my spare phone, and thank goodness for good friends who tolerate phone calls from people who have no idea who they’re talking to! LOL

    Christmas day I drove to San Antonio. My aunt and two cousins from KC had driven down to meet up with the cousins’ son & DIL. I wasn’t invited, but I went anyway, for my aunt. She really wanted me to come. At 87, she’s feeling her age, I think. They were staying on the 19th floor of the Grand Hyatt on the River Walk. I wasn’t much impressed with that, and I was even less impressed with the restaurant we went to for our Christmas dinner. It may well have been the worst food I’ve had in the past decade. Or two.

    Anyway, I escaped all that, drove over to Seguin Christmas night, and stayed at the LaQuinta. I ate supper out of my cooler, and watched “A Christmas Story.” Then, the fun began. I drove from Seguin to Port O’Connor, and met a couple of friends there at Nancy’s bay house. We had shrimp etoufee for dinner, and tamales the next day. We went through a bottle or two of wine, and had a wonderful evening.

    I stopped in Goliad and Panna Maria on the way to Port O’Connor, and stopped in Indianola on the way home. That was fun — look for photos and stories. Now? It’s raining, and cold, and truly nasty. So I’m happy to be home and dry.

    I’m really sorry to hear about Blu. I enjoyed him so much. Sometimes I could have used that decoder ring, especially when he stopped by my place. But he was such a good-hearted guy. I was afraid he’d not make it down to your place again — if St. Peter’s got any smarts, he would have met him at the gates with a fishing pole.

    Here comes the New Year! I’m looking forward to it. I’ve found a new cat sitter, so the complexities of travel are less complex!

    • I thoroughly enjoyed this update, Linda, but we sort of left everyone in the dark on the back story of your first paragraph! (Since Linda washed her phone, she didn’t recognize my number when I called to wish her a Merry Christmas, and talked to me for a little while thinking I was “Wendy from Oklahoma”. We had a nice laugh over that!

      The problem with the Hyatt and the food was that it was too sterile for your liking! Too snooty. Too uptown. That’s just not you, my friend, but seeing your aunt is really what mattered most, and you did that. I like the sound of “Nancy’s bay house”, shrimp etoufee`, and tamales! Now that’s more like the Linda we know! Yep, I’ll be watching for photos and stories. I’m a little behind as it is, though. Congrats on the cat sitter. I have a friend who travels for work, and with two cats, she truly depends on her cat sitter, who is a miracle worker it seems! I’m off an another TV adventure tomorrow, so I’ve got to get cracking with final preparations today. More about all that later. HNY, Varnish Gal!

  19. Happy New Year! Safe New Year! We are bracing for possible ice and a high 34 tomorrow! Brrrr. What a way to bring in the New Year!!

    • It turned chilly here, and I hate the cold, but not anywhere near 34 and certainly no ice! Happy New Year to you, too. Are you cooking cabbage, black-eyed peas and cornbread?

      • Yep! I put the corned beef in the slow cooker last night and added cabbage wedges about 10:30 am. We had that along with black eyed peas and a big, iron skillet of crusty cornbread loaded with butter. Sure was good too. We are still watching the weather for ice and it rained all day. Hubby will be back in the semi tomorrow and I pray it isn’t slick.

  20. Happy New Years guys……..

    Blackeye’d, and cabbage for sure. I have some hocks out for the peas. Pop can’t remember it New Years tomorrow but he knows he asked for brisket last week. Cooking a brisket tomorrow also…. LOL.

    Anyone know of any other dish served for New Years superstition?

    • Foamheart – do you know what Hoppin’ John is? I wonder where that’s traditional? I man posted on another recipe here about his Hoppin’ John for today’s meal. I’ve got to go find me somebody cooking dishes for my good luck and good fortune in 2015. I was too busy doing a TV show to go grocery shopping. The store’s not just around the corner, ya know?

    • Steffi That was just a blurb for the show Sunday morning at 6:30!! Okay, this requires a quick post! Post is up. The show is Sunday morning at 6:30. Set your DVR if you’re not up that early!

  21. I spent Christmas with loved ones and had a delicious meal of peas, garlic potatoes and a very expensive piece of beef (I can’t remember the name). The latter was bought by mistake, but it was such a hit that we decided this should be a staple for Christmas.

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