What’s in Your Christmas Stocking?

DSC_0834Before Christmas becomes a distant memory, at the prompting of my friend Stacy, I thought I would share with you just what Santa brought me in my Christmas stocking just a few short weeks ago.  My living room is still “littered” with the remnants of six stockings, well seven, including the stocking for our canary which six year old Sam insisted we hang by the fireplace.  One day these kids will understand the parental chaos they create when they pull out one more stocking for Santa to fill on Christmas Eve.

This year, Santa brought me a few of my favorite things.  To start, I pulled a mini bottle of Bombay Sapphire Gin and Maker’s Mark out of my stocking.  That was followed by a mini ice cube tray and then loads of peppermint patties and altoids.  I guess Santa thinks if I’m going to take a nip, I better wash it down with breath freshening mints.

This made me think of what Santa left in my stocking as a child.  Not your standard fare of candy, although I did receive my fair share of that as well.  Every year, Santa dropped a can of smoked oysters and a wheel of Camembert into my stocking (“Santa left you a can of beer” Sam exclaimed with surprise as I told him this story). I cherished both of those items, and would save them for a special occasion.  How did Santa ever figure out that I might even like those delicacies, I still wonder today. Another Christmas tradition was started by my next door neighbor, who would give both my sister and I a large jar (half gallon sized) of Penrose spicy sausage.  I have not seen them since, which is probably a good thing, as independently demolishing a whole jar of these sausages on an annual basis is sure to decrease life expectancy. They were essentially a bunch of full sized hot dogs pickled in a jar. I would keep them in my closet, and when my parents sat down for their nightly cocktails, I would grab a paper towel, go into my closet and pull out one of those sausages, and then sit on the couch next to my mom and eat it.  If you don’t think that’s weird enough, I also loved anchovies.  While anchovies weren’t connected to Christmas, it was a late night snack that my mother and I would sometimes have – a saltine cracker, a bit of butter, and a nice fat anchovy on top. She learned to eat anchovies when she journeyed from Norfolk, VA to Europe on an Italian Coal Freighter to visit my Dad who was in the Navy on a Med Cruise.  She was the only woman on board this ship, and dined with the Captain every night. Reportedly she could speak Italian AND loved anchovies by the time Europe was on the horizon.

The other funny food that I loved as a child was blue cheese.  When visiting my grandmother in Syracuse, we would go to the Valle Steak House, where I always ordered a salad with blue cheese dressing AND extra blue cheese.  This salad arrived with about an extra 2 inches of blue cheese on top, and I relished every bite. (While my eyes popped open wide in anticipation of eating that salad back then, my stomach turns over when I picture this sight today – albeit I’m still a blue cheese fan). I can’t imagine my kids eating any of these aforementioned items (except the spicy sausage probably would be a hit).  And to close out, I was also a caviar fan.

Now tell me, what 8 or 10 year old kid loves anchovies, caviar, blue cheese, Camembert, smoked oysters and spicy sausage?  Well, other than my sister, we might be hard pressed to identify another.  I still am personally amazed that my taste buds were so willing at that age.  Of course I did sit at the dining table for two hours one evening stubbornly refusing to eat the asparagus.

So what about you?  Any surprises in your Christmas stocking?  Any unusual food fetishes as a child?


  • Barb Says:
    1-14-2011 09:32:34

    You would love Port and Stilton, which is our big Christmas tradition. But your story reminds me of my now 11 year old on a trip to France 9 years ago. We all sat down for a pizza lunch in a bistro. At the tender age of 2, he dove across the table and started devouring all of the black olives from the pizzas. I don’t like olives so never would have fed them to him; he just knew he wanted them. And he has had that taste for olives, dill pickles, caviar, etc. ever since. I think it’s just something you have or crave. I can eat all those delicacies, but I’d rather have some Marshmallow Peeps any day!

  • Stacy Says:
    1-14-2011 11:21:16

    It still cracks me up that your stocking had airplane sized bottles of booze in it…..and candy!

    I grew up as the black sheep of the family artistically and gastronomically speaking. It was during the time that individuality and self expression were not embraced or encouraged. I didn’t like meat and my vegetables had to be fresh and raw. My Father still tells the story of how I would put a piece of steak in my mouth and chew it and chew it and chew it…..until it was just an undistinguishable mass which he would finally allow me to “remove”!

    I now have very strong opinions about food, food education, listening to one’s body, tasting what we eat and noticing our body’s reaction, how we cook and the ingredients we cook with. And, needless to say, I am a very picky eater.

  • Cathy Says:
    1-14-2011 11:44:15

    I remember when we served my 4 year old nephew asparagus and he remarked “But where is the hollandaise sauce?”

  • Anne Says:
    1-14-2011 13:47:37

    Barb -

    I think you hit the nail on the head. I definitely like salt. I too have always loved olives – I used to dig them out of my mother’s drinks!

  • Anne Says:
    1-14-2011 13:49:03

    Cathy, if I had known of hollandaise sauce at that age, I may just have been able to tolerate the asparagus. Is that nephew now a chef?!

  • Anne Says:
    1-14-2011 13:50:18

    Stacy – I’m just glad that your focus on the food world provides me access to some great recipes!

  • Cindy L Says:
    1-23-2011 16:56:14

    You got some great loot!! Happy New Year!

  • Margie Says:
    6-26-2015 20:53:54

    I can totally rleate. It took me 2 days to pack up all of the Christmas only to open the front door and see the decoration I had left on there:) Loving your One Little Word!

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