Wednesday, December 9, 2009
Advent Calendar December 7 Holiday Parties
Plucking Parties were the order of the day for many years! Now you ask what is a "plucking party?" Once long on an old ranch in Paisley, Oregon (reknowned for it's Mosquito Festival in mid summer), the grandmother of this longtime ranching family gave my mother the secret of her homemade dressing she used for the holiday stuffing of the turkey. The secret is in "finely plucking the bread!" No tearing in chunks and no cutting in squares. Use fresh bread (preferable homemade bread for that old grandmother) and pluck tiny pieces of bread into the bowl/pan/dishpan. The old grandmother cautioned, "The tiny pluckings of bread make a light and fluffy dressing."
For the next 60 years or so, our family had plucking parties on Christmas Eve. Loaves of bread were stacked around the largest container we had in the house. All children were introduced to how to "finely pluck" the bread. Then eggnog, Martinelli sparkling juice, and sometimes Tom & Jerry's for the adults, mixed with Christmas carols, and laughter were interspersed with tales of how this was the true secret to this turkey dressing recipe of the old grandmother from Paisley. We took our "secret" seriously. We had our self-styled Quality Control Inspectors. Sometimes, an errant child would leave a whole piece of bread in the big pan --- just to see if the Inspector would find it. Much hilarity, singing and laughter went into our plucking parties.
Children grew up, grandchildren grew up. Families changed, bringing in other traditions. The Christmas dinners tend now to be small individual family affairs. But, I do have those memories of wonderful "plucking parties."