Christmas Quotes of Note

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Long before I had a thought about women’s liberation, I was introduced to Peg Bracken. She was more of my mother’s era than mine, but she influenced me in a profound way. She did not like to cook, back when it was unfashionable. Back when it was not supposed to be questioned. She and I have a lot in common–though it is not necessarily the cooking I don’t like, it is the cleaning up. I am so jealous of all my my heroines and heroes on the Food Network, not because they have kitchens to die for, and create wonderful culinary pleasures–it is because they can make as much mess as they want to, and not have to clean it up. That is one of my versions of heaven, not having to clean up after myself.

Anyway, Peg Bracken was famous for her “I Hate to Cook  Book” and “I Hate to Housekeep Book” and “The I Hate to Cook Almanack” which I am going to take a quote or two  from today. One sums up Christmas quite nicely; the other, well I will let you be the judge.

The first is attributed to Christopher Morley:

“Just for a few hours on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, the stupid, harsh mechanism of the world runs down, and we permit ourselves to live according to untrammeled good sense, the unconquerable efficiency of good will. We grant ourselves the complete and selfish pleasure of loving others better than ourselves. How odd it seems, how unnaturally happy we are!”

The other quote I that I found sort of amusing, and sort of not, was this one by Albert Wooky:

“Since childhood, I have viewed with distinctly bridled enthusiasm the general custom of cooking and serving a large Christmas dinner. All I ever saw of my mother on that day was the bow on her apron.”

Do you have memories of your mom’s apron bow?

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39 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I find very little enjoyment in everyday cooking and yes, cleaning it all up. But on the big days– I do channel a bit of old fashioness(word?) and stay in the kitchen all day–happily so.
    And now fetch me that burger on the magazine woman! I’ll take some fries too 🙂

  2. I was going to do the big lunch thing on Christmas day but it is going to be 40 degrees so there is no way I am going to cook!

    • I take it that will be 40 C–which is much much much too hot–don’t even go near the kitchen

      • Yes – 40C argh

  3. Memories of my mom’s apron bow? Nope, we were right next to her in the kitchen. We learned invaluable lessons, like how to juggle 15 dishes of food, so everything was hot when it came to the table. When we were really little, I remember all the aunts, girl cousins and grandma in that tiny kitchen serving up wonderful food…..hey, where were all the men and boys?

    • remember when I tried to get the men and boys out in the kitchen doing dishes–Herb was always good that way

      • Yep, and he still is!

  4. I don’t think I ever remember my mom cooking Christmas dinner- we were always travelling back and forth between dinners at the grandparents. My husband and I decided that we weren’t going to leave our own home on Christmas Day, and so we haven’t for 15 years – everyone comes to us. My husband cooks, it’s low key, but since he is a great cook, it’s always delicious. And always a 30-35lb turkey, to feed the relatives and neighbours that we cram round the table.

  5. Love both of these quotes, especially the first. Yes, the way we live and treat one another at Christmas would be a prescription for achieving happiness the year through.
    Merry Christmas!!

  6. I am usually the body behind the bow and I’m definitely “with” Peg Bracken! 🙂

  7. Lovely quotes. We should all think like Christmas every day of the year. “Peace and goodwill to all men” would really make the world a wonderful place to live in. Merry Christmas to you and yours. 🙂

  8. Like Peggy, I was always in the kitchen with my mom from a very early age. Even if only to mix the cookie dough with my little fingers. Maybe that’s why I love to cook now. But I’m with you about the clean up. Fortunately, my husband has a thing for stacking the dishwasher in his own way so he does most of the clean-up…a match made in heaven!

    • my dishwasher is broken–I have another friend whose husband is a bit “anal” about stacking the dishwasher–I think that is a good thing

  9. My mother’s apron was always going back and forth to the kitchen…serving others and never it seemed sitting down to eat…grabbing a mouthful here and there…amidst those saying ‘what can I help you with’ a response of ‘nothing…I’m fine’!….Diane

  10. I love my daughter-in-law and she loves me. We both hate cooking. When we visit, it’s nothing but take-out pizza.

  11. This is only my second year of not having dinner on Christmas in my house, it’s strange to find myself going out on Christmas now. I don’t care to cook much and less the cleaning up, but there was always something about cooking for people on Christmas that I enjoyed, part of it was knowing that the dishes that took real time to prepare would be appreciated as little children don’t get the time involved therefore don’t appreciate it the same.

    You know it’s been quite a few years since my grandmother was able to be in a kitchen, so I had forgotten all about her apron. Your reminding me of it has brought back wonderful memories of those years. Thank you.

    Have a Very Merry Christmas.

    • a little appreciation goes a long way
      glad I reminded you of your grandma–have a very Merry Christmas too

  12. You know, Lou Ann I remember my Mom getting stressed out about cooking ALL THAT FOOD, but she liked doing it and still does. Hubby and I have started a tradition (because we’re normally living off somewhere away from family) of eating steak and lobster. There’s NEVER any leftovers.

    Merry Christmas and a wonderful New Year to you and yours.

    • steak and lobster is a wonderful tradition–I rarely wear an apron, mostly when I eat

  13. I have wonderful memories of my Mom cooking holiday meals and I actually have her favorite apron.. While I will not be cooking a feast this year, I shall don it in memory of her and all the festive gatherings she hosted!!

  14. Lovely post Lou! So like you.
    I am recalling my mom’s awful shrimp salad for some reason right now as I think of her apron bow.
    Not sure why the salad out of ll the wonderful things she prepared and were my favorites. But there you go. This how memories and recall of them work, especially when prompted in such a charming way.

    Maybe its because it was her insistence it be on the table which she could never explain why. She knew no one would eat unless they were guests new to her Christmas table, then only out of politeness.
    I have seen the faces. I have tasted the salad.

    Gosh that was fun, thank you! ~

    Merry Christmas My dear friend Lou~

    • funny memories are as good as any others–poor mom!

      • I I thank you again Lou for you, and for your amazing skill to create such memory provoking writing.and inspire these memories.
        You are my wonderful northern blogging friend.
        Just so you know. Merry Christmas sweetie!

      • I am glad to be your northern blogging friend, and I am happy that I provoke some good memories–wishing you and yours the best holiday ever- merry happy!

  15. Oh my goodness! I couldn’t believe it when I saw Peg Braken’s name! She’s one of my favorite cooks of all time. I still have all of her cookbooks, yellowed, torn and tattered. I still follow some of her easy recipes. I love her sense of humor. She was ahead of her time with her quick, easy cooking.

  16. I remember the I hate to Housekeep book – my mother bought it and my siblings and i would read it 😉 I’ve never seen the I Hate to book Book or the Almanack but they sound equally as entertaining! 🙂

  17. […] Christmas Quotes of Note ( […]

  18. Never heard of Peg Bracken…you’ve made me curious to know more!

    I love to cook, but I must admit, when I have been the one to do “the” holiday meal, whether Thanksgiving, Christmas or Easter, at the end of it, I’m pooped! Even with help from others, the big meals for big gatherings really take it out of you! But in my family, it has to be that way…just wouldn’t be right without the traditional foods. Fun post! ~ Sheila

    • I know, sometimes I get so tired that I am not much fun to be around
      Peg Bracken is from the late 60s early 70s

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