Family Recipe Friday: Christmas Edition

When we cleared out my mother’s condo, I grabbed her recipe boxes with the intent of uploading the family favorites to share with my siblings.

I knew that there were a few cards in my grandmother’s handwriting that I wanted to save and possibly make. I’m one of the increasingly rare breed who love fruitcake and today share three Christmassy recipes.

The first is for Dark Christmas Cake. I recall these cakes arriving by mail (?) in Ottawa from my mother’s mom, Daisy Goddard, who lived in Toronto.

My Grandma Gear (Eva Daisy Goddard) in her kitchen on Nairn Ave, Toronto.

One day, I came home from school to find a syringe in the sink and the cake on the counter. My mother (a physician) had been injecting some kind of alcohol into it well in advance of Christmas so that it would have time to absorb the goodness. The recipe is in my grandmother’s handwiting.

Family Christmas recipes_0001

Next up is a recipe for Mince Meat from Daisy’s mother, Emily Minnie Price. Minnie was born in 1869 in Chester, England, the second of four children of James Dobb Price (bookkeeper) and his wife Eliza Rycroft (a grocer).

Emily Minnie Price
Emily Minnie Price

Minnie’s mother died in 1881 when she was twelve and she and her sister went to live with her maternal grandmother, Sarah Rycroft, and three of Sarah’s unmarried children, then in their 20s. Sarah was a pawnbroker with a shop at 26 Princess Street. The younger two children went to live with their paternal grandmother mother.

Minnie emigrated to Toronto in 1889 a couple of years after Sarah died and, two years later, married my grandfather, Stephen Robert Goddard. Here is her Mince Meat recipe: it has no instructions, just the ingredients, which was probably pretty common in those days.

A Christmas Pudding recipe labelled “Grandma Gear’s” was from my great grandmother Janet Forbes Morren. She was from Aberdeen and emigrated to Canada in 1899 where she married a Walter Gear in Calgary. Janet’s father, WIlliam Morren, was an engineer and was away a good bit of the time on steam ships. (The census regularly showed his civil parish as “Vessels”.) Janet’s mother, Barbara Gordon, died in 1886 when Janet was just eight years old, and she and her sister Margaret went to live with her older sister Williamina (who was 15 years her senior) in Edinburgh (then Leith North.) She ended up in Toronto (a long story for another time) and lived close by my grandmother and family.

Her Christmas Pudding recipe. Again, no instructions.

Family Christmas recipes_0002

Would love to hear from relatives who have stories or anecdotes about these recipes or these three women. The second and third recipe are in the same handwriting. Can anyone identify it? I hope to take a crack at the recipes in about six months.

3 thoughts on “Family Recipe Friday: Christmas Edition

  1. Janet,

    It was great to see these recipes – the dark fruitcake was used for birthdays – it had two eggs. However we had another fruit cake that called for a “pound of eggs”, about 10, and this was made only for Christmas and New Year and Lillian’s birthday, December 28! Then there was another everyday one that had no eggs!

    My mother said that her mother’s family had a pastry store not a grocery store – obviously I have no idea.

    The mincemeat is not at all like the one you get in cans. We liked grandmas although we also liked the other. My father got a hamper from the place where he worked at Christmas and it included mince meat in a can.

    Your e-mail brought back a lot of memories – of the whole family sitting around the kitchen table late November or early December making mincemeat!

    I’ll bet Lillian and Edith could give you more details.

    Love, Mom

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