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Volume III
April, 2013

Newsletter Home / Table Talk

Feel Good Food Traditions

By Calli Rhoades

Things change. It is just the nature of things. Sometimes the changes are welcome and sometimes they are not, but they will come none the less. Perhaps that is the beauty in traditions. Despite what changes come, traditions can bring us back to the experiences we remember and make some things feel almost unchanged, at least for a moment.

So many things can become an integral part of traditions, and food is certainly not the least of these. Whether your traditions are cultural, religious, or family based food is woven in to so many. The flavors and feelings can bring you comfort, make you laugh, bring anticipation. Food holds a power to meet our physical needs and also fill emotional needs as well. I think this is why so many of us love to cook. It holds such an important role in every single day and can create amazing traditions that you and your family will cherish. Today I want to share my very favorite food tradition with you. I haven't even typed it all out yet and I have already laughed, cried, and certainly craved!

Sausage Fondue
I have no idea why we call this "Sausage Fondue". It has nothing to do with fondue, but it is delicious so you can call it whatever makes you happy. This is our Christmas Day breakfast and has been for as long as I can remember. Other things about the day and its celebration have changed as our family has grown and changed, but the sausage fondue stayed the same. Well, we have kept adding pans, but other than that it stayed the same.

I am sure that when I was young my mom was the one who made it late each Christmas Eve, but once Dad became a more capable cook (when my mom went back to college with 6 kids at home) he took over the responsibility while Mom was busy with other Christmas prep. He would sit at the end of the table with a huge pan of sausage ready to be cut. I wonder how much sausage he cooked because he must have eaten a bite for every two or three that made it in to the casserole. He would grumble and joke a little, but he loved it! He loved eating it and he even loved making it.

When I married my husband (a mushroom hater) my parents adapted by making one pan with Cream of Chicken soup instead of the normal mushroom. Ah, change. Every year for the past 13 Christmases there has been that one pan, made just with him in mind. When we had our first child and our Christmas traditions began to change, it was my husband, not me that insisted that this be a part of our Christmas mornings as well. For several years we ate it at our home in the morning and then at my parents' home again that afternoon when the whole family gathered. It's just that good!

Three years ago we lost my dad. It was one of those changes that we never want and never feel ready for, but it comes anyway. So many changes came to our family after that - some wonderful and some very difficult. The next year my mom was remarried to a man she had dated in high school nearly 50 years before. That Christmas, between juggling two families - in two different states - for Christmas, there was no Sausage Fondue. Two of my sisters literally cried. It was the end of an era.

Thankfully, we had made that a tradition in our own home and we had enjoyed the flavors and feelings associated with that wonderful food as part of our celebration. Food is more than just food and for me, every Christmas, it is a time capsule that takes me back to so many Christmases before, gathered around the table with my whole family. It transports me to that table in the late hours of the night with my dad cutting and sneaking bites and he assembled his masterpiece. Now I get to share all that with my kids. And we talk about grandpa and laugh and share all the excitement of that crazy day over my favorite, Sausage Fondue. What a beautiful gift!

I am sure there will be more Christmas mornings with Sausage Fondue on Mom's table and I look forward to them, but I am thankful for the ability to carry on tradition in my own kitchen. I will continue to make the same recipe (with Cream of Chicken soup, of course) every year and I will continue to add my own family flair to our already rich tradition. Right now, that means Orange Rolls on the table along side the Sausage Fondue, but who knows what else life's changes will bring to our tradition and our table.

I hope you will enjoy these recipes even half as much as we do. Don't save them for Christmas though, just enjoy them!

Sausage Fondue

This is the beloved Christmas breakfast!

10 slices bread, cubed
1 pound pork sausage, fried and drained
2 cups cheddar cheese, grated
4 eggs
3/4 teaspoon dry mustard
2 1/2 cups milk
1 (10 3/4 ounce) can cream of celery soup
1/2 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon salt

1 Alternate first 3 ingredients in layers in greased 9x13 pan.
2 Blend eggs, dry mustard and 2 1/2 cups milk.
3 Pour over mixture in pan.
4 Refrigerate overnight.
5 Mix milk and soup and pour over other mixture in pan.
6 Bake at 300 for 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

Recipe formatted with the Cook'n Recipe Software from DVO Enterprises.

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Orange Rolls

1 package dry yeast (about 2 1/4 teaspoons)
1/2 cup warm water (100° to 110°)
1 cup sugar, divided
1/2 cup reduced-fat sour cream
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1 teaspoon salt
1 large egg, lightly beaten
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, divided
cooking spray
2 tablespoons butter, melted
2 tablespoons grated orange rinds
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter
2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
1/2 cup reduced-fat sour cream

To prepare dough, dissolve yeast in warm water in a large bowl; let stand 5 minutes. Add 1/4 cup sugar, 1/2 cup sour cream, 2 tablespoons softened butter, salt, and egg, and beat with a mixer at medium speed until smooth. Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Add 2 cups flour to yeast mixture; beat until smooth. Add 1 cup flour to yeast mixture, stirring until a soft dough forms. Turn dough out onto a floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic (about 10 minutes); add enough remaining flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, to prevent dough from sticking to hands (dough will feel sticky). Place dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray, turning to coat top. Cover and let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, 1 hour and 15 minutes or until doubled in size. (Gently press two fingers into dough. If indentation remains, dough has risen enough.) Punch dough down; cover and let rest 5 minutes. Divide dough in half. Working with 1 portion at a time (cover remaining dough to prevent drying), roll each portion of dough into a 12-inch circle on a floured surface. Brush surface of each circle with 1 tablespoon melted butter. Combine 3/4 cup sugar and rind. Sprinkle half of sugar mixture over each circle. Cut each circle into 12 wedges. Roll up each wedge tightly, beginning at wide end. Place rolls, point sides down, in a 13 x 9-inch baking pan coated with cooking spray. Cover and let rise 25 minutes or until doubled in size. Preheat oven to 350°. Uncover dough. Bake at 350° for 25 minutes or until golden brown. While rolls bake, prepare the glaze. Combine 3/4 cup sugar, 1/4 cup butter, and orange juice in a small saucepan; bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook 3 minutes or until sugar dissolves, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; cool slightly. Stir in 1/2 cup sour cream. Drizzle glaze over warm rolls; let stand 20 minutes before serving.


Recipe formatted with the Cook'n Recipe Software from DVO Enterprises.

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