Facing Leftovers and Memories


I’m so pleased to be the first Filly to kick off 2018!  I hope each of you had a great holiday and the coming year will be even better.

Yesterday, as I wrote my blog for today, I began to think…”What in heck am I going to do with the leftovers from the holiday?  Be it candy and goodies, that I sure don’t need, to great food like ham and turkey with all the fixin’s.”  It made me wonder what and how the holiday season was celebrated during the 1800’s.  So, I pitched what I had planned to write and began checking

out the idea.  I’m thrilled to share with you some thought provoking ideas.

What kind of beverage who the pioneers drink to welcome in the New Year?

  • Champagne: used throughout the 1800’s
  • Ale cocktail: a mixed drink comprised of ale, ginger, and pepper beginning in 1838;
  • Apple brandy a/k/a Apple Jack: a  liquor distilled from apple cider;
  • Brandy sour: brandy, lime or lemon juice and carbonated water, from the 1860’s;
  • Brandy toddy: brandy mixed with hot water and sugar;
  • Cocktail: got its name by 1806 for any mixed alcoholic drink;
  • Martini: comprised of gin and vermouth also briefly known as a Martinez; and
  • Syllabub:  a drink I’d never heard of. It’s similar to eggnog, but made with white wine, brandy, sugar, and whipped cream. It was traditionally served at Christmas early in the century, especially in Charleston.

Tea:  The first Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company, or A&P, opened in 1859 on Vesey Street in NYC.  Its rows of tea bins contained teas from around the world.  By 1880, there were 95 A&P stores from Boston to Milwaukee.

Coffee:  Although tea was the preferred beverage until the Civil War, coffee was lightened with Borden condensed milk as early as the 1860’s.  Yes, you read that correct, the condensed milk we use today.  Chase and Sanborn coffee was sold in sealed cans around 1878.  Maxwell canned coffee followed the following year.

Now, what would the kids enjoy, in the way of candy?

Pretty much the same as today…peanut brittle, fudge, pralines and popcorn balls.  After the mind 1800’s, gumdrops and jujube paste became available. Penny candy came in later.  Chocolate was available throughout the century; with milk chocolate being invented later.

Christmas dinner was just about the same as today, depending on the part of the country you came from and your wealth.  Turkey, chestnut dressing, roasted  pig, celery, hot rolls, cranberry sauce and potatoes.  Desserts ran today’s gamut…mincemeat pie, pumpkin pie, and one of my favorites being a Texas girl with a Southern mother, sweet potato pie.  We enjoyed mincemeat because of my Ohio born and raised Daddy.

One of my favorite items, which I’ve never tried, is beaten biscuits. Eaten in the South for breakfast prior to the Civil War, the name was derived from the dough, which had to be repeatedly pounded with a hammer or mallet to knead it.

In my story No Time for Love in the anthology Give Me a Cowboy, which was my first published work with Kensington, with fellow Filly Linda Broday, Jodi Thomas, and the late DeWanna Pace, I used this for a scene.  Here is the back blurb: “Newspaperman Quinten Corbett wasn’t expecting his new apprentice to be female. Boston-born Kaire Renaulde is far too refined for a rough-and-tumble frontier town—and far too pretty for his peace of mind….’  It was fun to write and I hope you enjoyed if you’ve read the story.

I could write the rest of the day on interesting foods for the holiday in the 1800’s, but I think I’ll leave you to ponder over what I’ve tossed your way.  After all, I have eggnog left over and is waiting for me before an open fire, while my darlin’ hubby watches football.

In my neck of the woods, the Texas Panhandle, we celebrate New Year’s Day with a larrupin’ serving of black-eyed peas and cornbread.  When I was growing up, we also had corned beef and cabbage. Now, I confess that Mama won out.  Daddy, being from the North, said black-eyed peas were thrown to the hogs, but I guess to keep peace she added mincemeat pie to the holiday menu.  Such wonderful memories.

Is there any special meal you serve for New Year’s Eve or Day?

To two readers who leave a comment, I will be giving away their an autographed copy of Give Me  a Texan or if you already have read it, I’ll offer an eBook of your choice.


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A native Texan, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Phyliss Miranda still believes in the Code of the Old West and loves to share her love for antiques, the lost art of quilting, and the Wild West.

Visit her at phylissmiranda.com

46 thoughts on “Facing Leftovers and Memories”

  1. Good morning Miss Phylis’s, great blog. Every year I eat my black eyed peas & cabbage w/ Cornbread of course. I’m very superstitious so to skip this tradition would just ruin my new year.
    I hope you had a marvelous Christmas. I did, I spent it in the Great Srate if Texas with my family. I hope to see you this year. I’ll have to plan a trip to Amarillo and you, Linda, Jodi, & me all go out to eat and visit. Love and hugs and Happy 2018 To you & your hubby.

    • Thank you, precious friend. You got the Pannier New Year’s Day food spread pegged. I’ve always eaten back eyed peas, also, because of the superstition of having a year of bad luck if you don’t. Well, we’ll see because I didn’t have them yesterday! Proves there’s a first time for everything! I’m glad you had a great holiday! I’m looking forward to you coming to town; and yes, without fail, we’ll have a great meal and lots and lots of talk! Happy 2018 to you and yours, too. My DH is somewhat burned out on football bowl games after the OU loss! Ouch! Love you.

  2. Happy New Year Phyliss to you and your family. A very informative post. Loved it. I didn’t know that about A&P. On New Years Day we always had baked ham, turnips & mashed potatoes mixed, vegetables and lasagne with meat balls & sausage. But the last couple of years I go to the kids houses to have dinner. 50 years cooking for my 7 kids and hubby, plus extended family has done me in. 🙂
    Carol Luciano

    • Carol- I don’t blame you for taking advantage of going to your kiddos Home and enjoying their cooking. Happy new Year To you.

      • Tonya, I agree! I did a lot of cooking while the kids were at the beach. WOW! But I didn’t feel the least bit bad when I sat down and let me two girls do the cooking! That made the guys have to do the dishes. Good decision, I decided!

    • Oh Carol, can I relate! I’ve been involved or cooked the holiday meals for years for our families. I’m fortunate that my DH’s family and mine blended so well; and, we were able to celebrate all holiday as one family. We still do that; however, we alternate years…one in Kansas and the other in California wine country. This year was CA! I hadn’t heard of having lasagna for the holidays until recently. Again, I have a North vs. South family, so I can attest as fact that the South won the war…at least in my family. Are you having trouble, as I am, going from cooking even a regular meal for a large group then going down to two and up to a big family gathering? I promise everything I cooked, including the deviled eggs was horrible. No body can mess up eggs…or can they? I’ve never had my food spit out and tossed, but I did this year. I blamed the spices that are unique to the region, when in fact, it was my fault! I hope you and yours have a wonderful 2018! Let’s keep the cookin’ going! Hugs, Phyliss

    • Hi Janine. Good to hear from you. Between you and Carol, I might scratch tonight’s dinner for my DH and me and fix the frozen lasagna. Not as good as homemade, but add some French toast (frozen of course) and a salad and it’ll be delish. Thanks for leaving your comment and welcome to 2018 at P&P. I think our 11th year will be one of the best yet. Hugs, Phyliss

  3. Thank you, Phyliss, for an interesting blog, and Happy New Year to you and yours!

    My thought about the holidays is that since we basically started as a British culture many of our traditions came from Britain. I have just a couple of snippets to add.

    As for syllabub, it was a popular English sweet frothy drink from at least the 16th century, since in John Heywood’s “Thersytes” (1537), “You and I… Muste walke to him and eate a solybubbe”; and in Samuel Pepys’s Diary (1663), “Then to Comissioner Petts and had a good Sullybub”.

    Tea is another inheritance from around about 1600. Remember the highly unpopular British tax on colonial tea that made some colonial ports refuse to receive tea shipments that eventually culminated in the “Boston Tea Party” on December 16, 1773 — the dumping of crates of tea into Boston harbor as an early act of revolt. (Also: in my experience, more Brits took milk in their tea than Americans did, but when and where adding milk came about is debatable apparently — some say France, some say Asia, and so on.)

    My last random thought (and thanks for sticking with me!) is that when I lived in the UK, Christmas was more the big deal for the English, but it was New Year’s Eve and Day for the Scots–or to use their term “Hogmanay” with the traditions of “first-footing” and gift-giving.

    • Eliza, so happy to hear from you. WOW, I promise you could have written this blog yourself. What great information you have, and first hand, to boot. Love, love it. Thanks so much for adding fantastic background and tidbits to what I’d already, very hastily, researched. I did know about the Boston Tea Party, but the Hogmanay is truly interesting. And, the syllabub info is great. Thanks so much for the additional information. I truly appreciate you. May you and yours have a wonderful 2018! I plan to, my friend. Hugs, Phyliss

  4. My son-in-law always makes lasagna for Christmas dinner and and steak on the barbecue for New Years.

    • Good to hear from you, Estella. I truly didn’t realize, like I said before, until recently that lasagna was such a popular fixin’ for Christmas. Actually, over the holidays, out in California, my oldest grandson’s girlfriend made me aware. Although she is a Texan her family moved around a lot. I’m still tempted to chuck tonight’s dinner and go with the lasagna. My DH doesn’t get a home cooked meal very often, so I guess I’d better go with the original plan. Again, so glad to hear from you and hope you and yours have a fantastic 2018! Hugs, Phyliss

  5. Phyllis, thank you for this interesting post. I grew up with the tradition of black eyed pea on New Year’s Day. I do enjoy sipping a cuppa while reading.

    • Hi Caryl, so good to hear from you. Well, there’s another new drink for me…cuppa. I was born and raised in Texas, so I’m getting a great education today. As cold as it’s been, I sure can go for a hot cup of tea and read. Of course, black-eyed peas are a staple of New Years Day. I hope you and yours, Caryl, have a fantastic 2018! Hugs, Phyliss

  6. How neat to read about those traditions of old. I didn’t grow up with any, not with food at least. We have activities that we always do, but those are just family favorites and not anything passed down.

    • Hi Susan. Thanks for dropping by and leaving a comment. We have a lot of activities that are traditional. I love your share on this. Originally it was cards and dominoes, when I was growing up. Our kids and grands love games. They truly make memories…especially to tell to your 21 year old grandson’s girlfriend! We got two new games this year. The one we had a blast with and laughed our heads off was Family Feud. Our MC was so funny, just about as funny as Steve Harvey, but with a much better passing of her thoughts through her mind. Try it if you’re into games. I hope you and yours have a fantastic 2018, Susan. Hugs, Phyliss

  7. There is no special that we cook for News Year Eve. I made a pot of Chili that day because it was so cold here. Husband has had the flu so that is what he wanted and it did hit the spot. Have a happy new year and many more to come.

    • Hi Miss Quilt Lady. Good to hear from you. I’m sorry your DH had the flu. I’m glad he’s doing better; and you’re right, a pot of chili hits the spot when you’re under the weather and its cold. I think every part of the US is cold right now; although, in the Texas Panhandle, they say we’re going to see around or right over the 60’s later in the week. At least it isn’t snowing here, just colder than I want. I hope you and yours have a great 2018, and I look forward to hearing from you again soon. Hugs, Phyliss

  8. Good morning and Happy New Year! Every year I cook black-eyed peas, cornbread, cabbage, southern greens and some meat to go along with. Some years we have pork chops, some pork roast, some ham then others I do cornbeef. This year it was pork chops. Years ago I became confused that it was greens instead of cabbage so now I do both just to cover my bases. Lol I so want to read this book!!

    • Hi Stephanie, glad to hear from you. Sounds like a pretty typical assortment of New Year’s fare. Pork chops sound good. I have boneless beef ribs in the oven now and plan to fix some baked beans and potatoes tonight. My stomach says, GET ON WITH THE FOOD! You’re sure in today’s pot for a copy of the book and hope you enjoy it as much as we did writing it. I hope you and yours have a fantastic 2018! Hugs, Phyliss

  9. I normally cook pinto beans, cooked cabbage and cornbread on New Year’s Day but yesterday we had cooked cabbage and cornbread to go with our roast beef, potatoes and carrots. Thanks for a great post and I hope that you are blessed with a happy and healthy year filled with joy and words!
    Happy New Year!

    • Hi Connie. Good to hear from you. Gotta love those red beans, as we call pintos in our neck of the woods. And you can never go wrong with a good roast with all the fixin’s. I hope you and yours have a healthy and happy 2018! A big hug, Phyliss

  10. We have the blackeye peas but instead of cabbage we have collard greens and ham for New Years. I love your books Phyliss and have enjoyed reading several of them

    • Hi Glenda. So happy to see you today. I’m gonna bet, with collard greens and ham, you aren’t from the North. My daddy would have gagged at the thought of collard or turnip greens. I did see something interesting in the grocery store ads. Ham Hocks and Jowls, a meat that typically isn’t in an ad except for New Years! Ham hocks are great in those blackeye peas. Thank you for the nice comment about my books. I love to write stories and needless to say, truly love good feedback. I was first published by a big house with the six anthologies, although I’d had other stories published ie: Glimmer Train press. I’ll have the second of the Kasota Springs romance contemporary novels out in May. I’ll put you on my list to get one as soon as it becomes available. It’s been a lot of fun to bring my characters, and some from Linda Broday’s stories, forward three to five generations in the same small town. Take care and I hope you and yours have a fantastic 2018! Hugs, Phyliss

  11. It is very interesting what people ate and drank for the holidays. And like in today’s world, how much money you had to spend. However, I think in the 1800’s they were better at saving the money to get what they wanted.
    I don’t have anything special that I eat or do for New Years.

    • Good to hear from you, Miss Veda. I think you are absolutely correct about in days gone by folks had to scrimp and save more for what they want. There are too many “trust fund” kids today for my liking. I was raised that we got what we worked for, saved for the future, and didn’t complain because there are people out there worse off than you. Thanks so much for leaving your comment. I hope you and yours have a fantastic 2018! Hugs, Phyliss

  12. Happy New Year, Miss Phyliss! Larrupin’ is a great word describing many a lip smackin’ dish. We stick with those black eyed peas and cabbage on New Years Day. I always love your post and I hope 2018 brings much good health and happiness.

    • Thanks, Melanie. So glad to see you the first working day of 2018! I’m working on typing 2018 instead of 2017. I’ve always used larrupin’ cause it sounds more descriptive than “ate”, but then the thought of someone larrupin’ kinda turns me stomach, who is still crying “Food, food!”. I hope you and yours, Miss Melanie, have a great and prosperous 2018! Hugs, Phyliss

    • Hi Denise. Glad to see you. Yummy, pork roast and back-eyed peas. If I didn’t have dinner in the oven, I’d swap for that. Thanks for visiting P&P and I hope you and yours have a wonderful 2018! Hugs, Phyliss

    • Hi Miss Colleen. Good to hear from you. I agree about the preparation for the holidays kinda making a day of football and left-over very enticing. I hope you and yours have a marvelous 2018! A big hug from me to you, Phyliss

  13. No special meal, it’s either turkey or roast beef, but we have been known to have a roast pork now and then.

    • Hi Kathleen. Sounds good. We do a lot of finger-foods when we’re all together, since the guys are wanting to watch football. Seems to me like the bowl season lasts for three months. I’m not much into football, although in my younger days, I liked the tight-ends…regardless of the position they played. LOL May you and yours have a fantastic 2018! Big hugs, Phyliss

  14. This is a fun blog, Phyliss. Just what we needed. I remember that scene with the beaten biscuits in Give Me a Texan. So hilarious. I haven’t thought of those stories in a long time. The winners will get a treat. I’m glad I didn’t have any alcohol in the house New Year’s Eve morning when my house was flooded! I’d have sure poured me a glass even though I don’t drink. Love and hugs!

    • Hi my friend. Thanks, I enjoyed writing it. I always liked the beaten biscuit idea from its inception, so made it more fun to write. I hadn’t thought about it either until I wrote the blog and found my notes. Bless you about your house. I know how cold you were with the weather being so low here. I just hope they got all the water up before it got in your walls, which we’ve already talked about, can be much more serious. I’m just thankful it didn’t get into your office or bedroom. I don’t blame you for having a toddy after such a New Years, then to have copy edits on top. Ouch, hurts! Take care of yourself and we’ll talk soon. Love ya, P

  15. Hello thanks Tonya for sharing this site with me. We did black eyed beans (which I dislike) with some other beans and left over ham. Made creamy corn bread which I love to eat with milk learned many moons ago from my grandpa. Have to say the meal turned out yummy and I never knew I was eating the black eyed beans lol. Really have enjoyed reading everyone’s comments. Blessed 2018!

    • Kristi, so glad Tonya got you over to our site. She’s precious and a reader I can call a friend to several of us Fillies. Creamy cornbread. You’ve got to tell me more about that. Now cornbread and milk, especially buttermilk, was one of my Grannie’s and Grandpa’s favorite. My mom used to fix it for us a lot. Haven’t thought about it in years. So glad you enjoyed the blog and comments. For me, it’s my job to put up good thought provoking research and history and the readers with their comments made it what it is. All of the Fillies share in one thing, we love history and everyone writes great blogs. Hope to see you around frequently in 2018! May you and yours have a fantastic 2018! Hugs, Phyliss

  16. It’s fascinating to read about so many different New Year’s day traditions. We don’have any special foods at our house although for several years my brother-in-law would arrive home New Year’s day from his annual trip to the Oregon coast and bring fresh oysters. We would have fried oysters for supper.

  17. Hi Alice. Glad to hear from you. Hope you had a great holiday. I’d forgotten about oysters, but Daddy loved them, so we’d particular have oyster dressing on Christmas; plus, of course, the standard southern cornbread dressing. I pray that you and yours have a fantastic and prosperous 2018! Big hugs, Phyliss

  18. Howdy Phyliss,

    NYE dinner for hubby & I usually involves a tenderloin – usually bison. But this year it was elk. And brie with toast crackers. And, of course champagne at midnight.

  19. Interesting post. Thanks for sharing your research with us. We don’t really do a special meal on New Year’s Day. We sort of spend the day grazing. We watch the Rose Parade and have whatever strikes our fancy that day for breakfast while watching. The rest of the day we have cheese and crackers, sausage balls, chips and dip, pigs in a blanket, a relish tray, veggies and dip, chips and dip, spinach balls, sliced ham, and whatever else we feel like having. That works well whether we are watching football, playing pool, playing board games, or watching a movie. People come and go, both friends and family. It is just a relaxed, unstructured day.

    I have Give Me a Texan and all the other anthologies in that series. They are all firmly on my keeper shelf.

    Phyliss, I hope you and yours have a wonderful and prosperous 2018.

  20. I really don’t cook much on New years day.. Usually I’m home by myself… And I want to say.. I loved the book . Give Me A Texan……Have a great New Year….

  21. Interesting stuff, Phyliss. We don’t eat anything in particular special for New Year’s Day. It’s usually the whole, “Wow, we ate a bunch of stuff we shouldn’t have over Christmas, so now we better get back to eating right.” 🙂

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