Saturday, 12 September 2015

Starting to get ready for that "C" Word

September is the month I start to do this.  My family always did as well namely my grandmother and my mother.  Carefully putting a few luxury items here and there and putting a few pounds aside for the purpose so that when you see an offer you can take advantage.

During the autumn days pickles, chutneys and bottled fruits were always "Put Up or Put Down" (as well as crops during the summer months) as well as being used on a seasonal daily basis.  I think this was a fall back to the War Years.  My Nan was lucky to live in  the country and put up all sorts of things even then as well as sharing it with other villagers or those not so well prepared.  She also had a large pantry.  In those days they used to keep pigs and do their own bacon, curing etc as well as home made wine and other goodies.  The pantry I was not allowed in so I always viewed it as a magical place full of goodies.

Today we don't have any appreciation of what our forebears went through in order to put things on the table and the eking out of certain ingredients to do something really special.  We all rush to the supermarket   - what would you do if the supermarket was not there?  That's one of the other reasons I go for ingredients and then make things from scratch - you know what is going into everything.  Because of my medical conditions I have to watch what I eat - no pre-processed food it blocks up the natural system of the body and clogs up the arteries.

Tinned goods in particular were popped up - especially tinned salmon considered a luxury but one of the few items that did not fall under restrictions during the war years.  Even now I always keep tinned salmon in as you can cook with it and I usually turn them into home made fish cakes.  I love them OH does not.  He is not a fan of tinned salmon preferring tuna.  So when I make a batch of fishcakes as there is nearly always too many for me to eat I freeze the rest and just get them out of the freezer when the fancy takes me.

September is traditionally the month I start getting ready for the "C" word.  If you read back through my blog you will see that I seriously advocate buying a little extra here and there if and when I can afford it and I keep copious lists. During the early part of the year I make sure the freezers are well stocked and the tinned pantry and dry ingredient pantry similarly so. I watch the sell by dates and only buy if there is a long stop date on. I keep a good stock of various ingredients and never let those run out.  Even when I make batches of jam or chutneys or pickles I have a separate shelf for the Christmas stuff usually a couple of jars of this or that added from a batch of something or the go into the big red box under the stairs which I add to.  In fairness certain things that I use on a regular basis like cranberry or redcurrant jelly if they are on offer I will buy a couple of jars and store them in the Christmas Box even though they will be in use throughout the year and not just for Christmas and then if there is anything left from the Christmas stockpile after Christmas it is put into everyday use.  Its a win win situation really.  I try and get most of the food stuff sorted by the beginning of December then I can concentrate on finishing things off and wrapping presents etc. A few jars of home made preserves usually go down well as extra Christmas presents.

Christmas is going to be very different this year without mum. Mum would always come to us initially on Christmas Day but when my nephews were born we swapped days and Mum and Dad woul go to my brother for Christmas Day so as to see the boys open their presents.  They would then come to us on Boxing Day.  In our family Christmas has always been about being with family - family is important and it does not matter where you go in the world they will still be your family and those you are closets too. But most of all Christmas was for the children(including the inner child of the big children) and we celebrate what we have i.e. good food on the table, being in work, having a roof over our heads etc.  We always raise a toast at the Christmas table to absent friends and those no longer with us. Iti s one of our little rituals.

We learned many years ago not to go over the top and to pay for things and put them up as we go along.  That way we do not end up paying for things into the New Year or living beyond our means."Cutting our cloth according to our kelt".  Besides there's no need to spend oodles of money on a present.  I prefer to buy presents - but sometimes its not possible - like with my nephews.  I think the world of them but I do not know what they are quite into (to the younger generation I am dotty Aunty Tricia).  So that's why I give them money and they then choose what they would like to buy or put it too.  I would rather have something that I would like than something that has no meaning to me.  That includes second hand items if I really really like them.  I am not fussy but I do see the practicalities of sometimes buying second hand or from a charity shop. I think that this stems from the fact that when we were growing up money was tight - my brother and I were always very conscious of this - and when asked what we would like we would be careful what we said and what we asked for but we never expected anything.  We all have different tastes and different depths of pockets and different values.

Talking of the C word whilst clearing papers at my mum's we came across a couple of letters from Santa Claus to the boys and we showed my eldest nephew the letters and he remembered them and there were some happy memories associated with them - he went all dewy eyed.  However what he was not aware of was that his dotty Aunty had done them both which he had not appreciated.  He had totally bought into it which I was so pleased about because for every child Christmas should be magic and in my view it is the responsibility of every adult to make it so.  Happiness is a wonderful thing especially through the eyes of a child.  That happiness makes them grow into well rounded adults.

Catch you later.




  1. Oh yes a tin of salmon and a tin of ham always went by for Christmas, I think its a great idea to spread the cost and put by a few treats :-)

  2. Hi Dawn

    Yes there was always the tinned ham - in fact the Co-Op had some the other day on offer and I was eyeballing it. Decided would do a proper ham like I did last year but it is a good standby.




Thank you for popping by. I love to receive comments and to make new friends so please say Hi. Pattypan

Meet the Moggies

  • Merlin (approx 18 months)
  • Squeak (approx 2 years)
  • Poppy (approx 16 years)
  • Tyson (approx 17 years)
  • Tinky (official name Clover approx 18 years)