Monday, December 29, 2008

Happy New Year!

Zola: This story & recipe comes to us from my friend and very faithful reader, Jamie. Because we're doing some traveling right now, I want to make sure you get this before New Years actually arrives, in case you want to try it yourselves.

Jamie: I'm so excited--I actually have recipes to send to you--straight-up Americana, not very worldly, and you might not ever want to actually try them--but they are from my family and perfect for this time of year. My grandparents always had a New Years Day open house party (odd--I know--not sure how or why that got started)--circa early 50's through the late 70's, that all of my cousins would go to. My grandmother was a character--she went to Washington University in St. Louis and got a degree in language arts--I think she could speak Latin, French, and Spanish--and when she graduated she went to Miss Hickey's secretarial school--she wanted to be an "international secretary". She ended up married and a housewife (and did not ever work for 007)--but she was always sarcastic and fun. She was a good cook, but I get the impression there was also quite a bit of jello and other new novel recipes of the time. Anyway, I digress. Among other foods, they always served milk punch and onion sandwiches at the New Years Day open house. Most people find the sound of either off-putting, and the combo doubly worse. They're super simple and quite tasty.

Onion Sandwiches
-Red Onion (~2)
-Mayonnaise (only Hellmanns (east of the rockies)/Best (west of the Rockies))
-Rye bread party bread loaf thing (you know--the mini-sized breads that are about 2"x2"?)
-Red wine vinegar

Slice the onions really thinly and soak in red wine vinegar for at least 2 hours. Put mayonnaise on two slices of the bread and then add the thinly sliced onions. Don't add too many onions--one layer is plenty, and shake off excess vinegar before putting on the bread slices.

Milk Punch
-6 oz. rum
-16 oz. brandy
-16 TBS. sugar
-1gallon milk

I think milk punch is a southern thing--so maybe this started with my cousins from Mississippi. But--nobody in Missouri ever made it. Mix it all together, keep it chilled, sprinkle the top with nutmeg.

Zola: Guy & I get back into town on New Years Day but always attend an annual January 2nd party, so I'll make these for that event and post pictures and comments at that time. Ironically, this is going to be a bit of a coup as our hostess for the January 2nd party does not eat onions. Not any type of onion. I've run through the list with her. Leeks? No. Scallions? No. I even think shallots are out. But there will be enough onion eaters to make it okay, I'm sure. Despite her aversion to onions, she heartily supports Food Chains and will certainly will be game for Milk Punch. Which sounds pretty good to me.

And while I'm talking about faithful readers and hearty supporters, as this year comes to a close, we want to thank you for sticking with us. And, of course, we want to send a very special thank you to all of you who have shared your stories and food with us this past year. We--quite literally--could not have done this without you and have learned more than you know from you. As Guy mentioned, we still have more stories to in our queue that we need to cook up, so Food Chains is going to keep going in '09. We wish you & yours all the best in the coming year--and hope to hear from more of you. Happy New Year!


becky said...

that was some seriously fantastic milk punch! it will definitely become a holiday tradition for me. happy new year!

Zola said...

I'm so glad you enjoyed it--it certainly seemed to be a hit! I noticed the onion sandwiches didn't attract the same attention but both Guy & I thought they were delicious as well. Becky and I discussed last night and decided it might not the best prior to your midnight smooch on New Years, though?

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