Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Advent Calendar, Christmas Cookies

GeneaBloggers has a Advent Calendar event this year, 24 days of family history related subjects to challenge the researcher. The prompt/challenge for December 8th is:

Did your family or ancestors make Christmas Cookies? How did you help? Did you have a favorite cookie?

I was going to skip this challenge, but, I got thinking and remembering about my mother’s Christmas cooking siege and my mind wandered around the subject a bit. In that wandering around time, I remembered how my mother stored her cookies. She stored them in Guardian Ware cookware. Guardian Ware (or Guardian Service Cookware) was manufactured by the Century Metalcraft Corporation, Los Angeles, California, between 1935 and 1956. The cookware was not sold in stores. An individual would host a party at his or her house, and a salesman would cook the party guests a meal with the cookware. It so happened that Man’s father sold the cookware at one time. He would do the shopping for the food, prepare, cook and serve the meal. Man’s mother pulled clean up duty.

After Man and I had our memory lane trip down Guardian Ware Cookware, I started surfing the net, trying to locate a photo. They were all copyrighted and attempts to contact the copyright owners has been disappointing.

UPDATE:  Willie & Margaret Dinkins of DNK Collectibles, http://www.tias.com/stores/dnk have graciously allowed me a one time useage of their great photo of the turkey roaster Guardian Ware.  Thank you so very much.  (By the way, this just happens to be one of  the best photos I found online!)  I remember my mother's version of this pan with the glass lid, Man's mother tells us this is just like hers.

UPDATE NUMBER TWO:  Michelle of My Granny's Attic Antiques, Collectibles & Custom Gifts, has since also replied to my request to a one time use of her photo.  I want to thank her for her gracious permission.  I chose not to use two photos, so, instead, I will direct you to have a lookie see at her fine site.  She is a commerical site, she has some lovely things, happy shopping!

You can visit this web site, http://www.guardianservicewarecollectors.com/ and see a short video and other examples.

Now, back to the cookies. My mother would make those double sugar rolled pecan balls. They have many different names. She would buy whole pecans and grind them up in a meat type grinder that you attached to the counter top. She baked a LOT of these balls. A LOT! She must have started baking right after Thanksgiving. I cannot imagine how many batches she baked. Since they also have butter and crisco in them, and all those pecans, they can spoil. She would fill the Guardian (in fact, several pieces of Guardian) with pecan balls. Between the layers she placed waxed paper, this would keep the powered sugar from clumping together.

Now, here was the secret to keeping the cookies fresh for several weeks. She would place the Guardian Ware full of those beautiful delicious round pecan balls with two coats of powdered sugar on the stairway to the attic. Unheated attic. In Michigan in December, in the stairwell of an unheated attic, they stayed fresh.

Ah, yes, a memory trigger for sure, Christmas pecan balls also known in our house as Christmas Snow Balls, Guardian Ware pans, cold attic stairways, cookies that also became favorites for our three sons. Not only are they tedious to make, the kitchen is a disaster after the process. I no longer make them every year, but when I do, the sons make a fuss and appear to be quite grateful!

I found a similar recipe hereThese look very much like my mothers too (the first photo and recipe). And, one last web site you can look at.

The original challenge asked three questions

Did your family or ancestors make Christmas Cookies? How did you help? Did you have a favorite cookie?

You know the answers to the first and the third. To answer the second: I helped by eating as many of those cookies as I could!


hummer said...

I love those cookies, they are melt in your mouth good. Yummy. I like your mom, she was very provident.
Thanks for a yummy post.

lindalee said...

I remember the Guardian Ware....I do believe that my Mom did the turkey in one like the one you pictured. I had no idea it even had a name. See I learned something new today. Now I have to go have a look at your link for that cookie recipe. I always love to add a new one each year....just to try it out. Thanks Carol

Greta Koehl said...

Ooh, I love anything with pecans in it; gotta try these.