Ana, Becca, and I have exchanged handmade Christmas gifts since Ana and Becca were little girls. That is one part of our tradition, and the other part is that our gifts are never ready on time, so we schedule a little Christmas party later, usually in January. This year, however, I didn’t even start my presents for Ana and Ken till Christmas was over. I made them both socks, and Ken, being a boy, has significantly larger feet than those of the folks for whom I usually knit socks. So they took a while. Then, once we all had our presents completed, there was the conflicting days off issue. Finally, we had a Christmas/St Patrick’s Day dinner. Becca made vegan corned beef, and it was pretty delicious! In fact it is one of my favorite things. In my youth, my family ate corned beef at the Knights of Columbus St. Patrick’s day dinner at our church every year. I always looked forward to it. Of course, the corned beef there was made from a cow rather than from a field of wheat. I much prefer the field of wheat version. I was in charge of the salad. As we were being Irish, I made the sort of salad that Grandma Ross always made when Becca was wee, and that we ate when we lived in Ireland. At that time, we told one another that this salad was so mundane, and the lettuce absolutely déclassé, but nonetheless, we wolfed it down, and looked forward to having it next time we came. Of course we were way too cool to actually serve it ourselves! What this salad lacks in snob appeal, it makes up for in yumminess. Becca prepared this same salad recently at a nice dinner for the Aunties, and it was the surprise success of her party. The dressing recipe is here. And Becca's soda bread recipe can be found here.
Years ago, Ana made Becca a shawl as one of her very first knitting projects. One day when I was sick and very cold, Becca lent me the shawl, and I never gave it back. It was just the ticket for reading in bed on a cold night, or keeping one’s neck warm while doing housework on a chilly day. For years, I have worn it constantly during winter weather. Whenever Ana visited and saw me wearing it, she shuddered and told me it was ugly. So this year for Christmas, she knitted me a lovely replacement. It is even warmer, and much, much prettier. Ana knitted Becca a darling little fox, shown here. We don’t have pictures of most of our gifts because the doggies, who also came to the party, got restive and needed to go home before we could take any. To make up for that, here is a picture of Ana, Becca, and me in our matching Irish sweaters.