I’m a day behind with Discover Prompts: Dish for April 5. Better late than never.
We celebrated Christmas in my house, and my mom and dad pulled out all the stops: decorations, a beautiful tree, holiday gatherings with friends including big meals with elaborately set tables. Families gathered around the television for Christmas variety shows and Christmas TV specials. This was the land of the late 60s and all through the 1970s in the sunny Southern California. If the sun was shining, it was Christmas time!
Family friends from before I was born stayed friends. The Bastians kind of adopted me as their object for spoiling, before they had grandchildren. I don’t know why. When my family learned of my imminent arrival, my parents moved to a bigger house across the valley. They stayed friends with the Bastians. Grandma Bastian made Christmas goodies for all of us. We usually got 6 or 7 giant sheet cake boxes and the deeper ones too of homemade cookies and candies that she started making in October – swirled cookies, fudges and rocky road in aluminum foil loaf tins, chocolate covered pecans and almonds, toffee – the works! My mom and dad also made great treats. We usually made and decorated Christmas sugar cookies – snowmen and christmas trees and santas and the like. Mom made her famous crescent cookies, a type of powdered sugary wedding cookie. And mom and dad both made rosettes, something like a light airy version of funnel cakes. He found a deep frying iron set at a garage sale and we made those for years, sprinkled with a bit of powdered sugar.
My mom had a rattan teacart with a glass top on it. At christmas time, she’d take the decorations off of it and place a large Santa Claus cookie plate on it. This plate had the image of Santa Claus on it, in relief, with his moustache and cheeks and nose all bumpy on it and his beard an entirely different texture. It was gorgeous. It was made by my dad’s secretary, Carolyn Roemaker. This dish was filled with goodies from the beginning of December through the New Year. After the New Year, it would be wrapped up again in bubble wrap and put away until the next year.
But this plate was magic. It never ran out of supply. We’d pass the plate many times a day, taking this or that treat, a nibbling habit we all had. Should we have received a box of See’s candies, it would be added to the plate, and then we’d take one or two and go on with our chores or business.
One day, I realized (and said something) that the plate never seemed to run out of goodies. My mom said, “oh that’s silly!” But we learned the secret. When no one was looking, my mom snuck a big box of cookies and candies from under the teacart and refilled the Santa Claus plate when no one was looking. It WAS magic! She never wanted anybody to lack anything special for the holidays, and Grandma Bastian’s cookies and candies were such a special gift that made sure none of it went to waste.
The magic refillable Santa Claus plate – Christmas just isn’t the same without it.
I’m not quite sure what happened to the plate. There were several making the rounds in the family, and I think a couple developed chips in it over the years. But wherever it is, I’m sure it’s still refilling with magic to make someone happy during the holiday season.