(This blog is posted by Toni V. Sweeney for Tony-Paul de Vissage, fellow Southerner who has absolutely no computer-savvy when it comes to anything Internet.)

Toni suggested I write a blog about Christmas customs unique to the Southern US, especially that insular little part in which I grew up. So I sat down and attempted to compose such a chef d’oeurve. Then, I got this e-mail from amie Merrylee. It gave me the chuckle, so I had the brilliant idea: Why not share it with the PFSW’s reading audience? Mais oui! So, with Merrylee’s permission, here are her suggestions (and replies) to ways to make holidays easier and give you more time for important things, like eating most of those cookies you’re going to bake and drinking a good portion of that eggnog. Plus, I've included a few winter snaps to make you're glad you're inside and not out in all that snow.


If you’re giving les infants ice cream cones to nosh on between meals (after all it is a holiday so how can it ruin their petit appetites, non?) or decide to indulge yourself, prevent drips by stuffing a miniature marshmallow in the bottom of the cone.

Marshmallows? Just suck the ice cream out of the bottom of the cone, for Pete's sake! You're probably lying on the couch with your feet up eating it anyway!

To keep potatoes from budding, place an apple in the bag with the potatoes.

Potatoes? Bags? Buy instant potato mix. Keeps in the pantry for up to a year. After that, you just sift out the weevils and add hot water.

When a cake recipe calls for flouring the baking pan, use a bit of the dry cake mix instead and there won't be any white mess on the outside of the cake.

Who bakes? Go to the bakery! Hell, they'll even decorate it for you! And if you snivel properly, they'll deliver, too.

If you accidentally over-salt a dish while it's still cooking, drop in a peeled potato and it will absorb the

excess salt for an instant 'fix-me-up.'

Who doesn’t have a heavy hand with the salt cellar? Les Americaines love sodium. It's true! And have you ever had the top simply fall off as you shook it over a saucepan? If you over-salt a dish while you're cooking...Too bad, Bud! Please recite after me my Maman’s motto: I worked all day on this. You'll eat it and I don't care how bad it tastes!

Wrap celery in aluminum foil when putting in the refrigerator and it will keep for weeks.

Celery? Is that a food? Never heard of it!

Cure for headaches: take a lime, cut it in half and rub it on your forehead. The throbbing will go away.

Better recipe: Take a lime, mix it with tequila, chill and drink! All your pains go away! (And the next morning, you can do the same thing to cure the hangover.)

Don't throw out all that leftover wine. Freeze into ice cubes for future use in casseroles and sauces.

Leftover wine??????????? HELLO!!!!!!!Since when????????? Ignore last suggestion, take empty wine bottle, place in recycling bin, head to bed with orders to those still awake to clean up. Use next to last recipe upon awakening.

And now, one of Maman's cookie recipes, to add calories perhaps but also to make you enjoy the holiday mood.


1/2 C margarine 1 tsp vanilla

3/4 C sugar 1/4 salt

1 C raisins 1/2 pecan bits

1 beaten egg 2 1/2 C puffed wheat

1 tbl milk 1 1/2 C coconut (optional)

Melt margarine in saucepan. Add sugar, raisins, egg, milk, vanilla, and salt and bring to boil for 2 mins. Add cereal and nuts and mix thoroughly. Cool slightly and spoon by tablespoons onto coconut and roll to coat. If not using coconut, spoon onto wax paper by tablespoonfuls. Cool completely before service. Makes 3-3 1/2 dozen.

Joyeux Noel, mon amies. Et une Nouvelle Annee Heureuse, aussi!


  1. Judy // December 14, 2010 at 12:53 PM  

    Hi, Toni! er, Tony! The three of you came up with a wonderful post! I love all the helpful hints! Never thought of freezing leftover wine but then, like Tony, it happens so rarely! The cookies sound wonderful, too. Thanks!

  2. Kimber Leszczuk. // December 14, 2010 at 1:57 PM  

    I loved reading this post. It was hilarious and full of good info at the same time. Fun!

  3. Anonymous // December 14, 2010 at 5:38 PM  

    Great post. Enjoyed reading it. Cookies, YUM!!

  4. Toni V.S. // December 14, 2010 at 6:10 PM  

    Tony doesn't cook, but I've made these cookies a lot, especially for Boy Scout meetings.

  5. Barbara Monajem // December 14, 2010 at 6:55 PM  

    Joyeux Noel, Tony! Thanks for a fun blog.

  6. Mona Risk // December 14, 2010 at 9:35 PM  

    Tony, that's a cute blog with many good advice. And yes I often pour too much salt on my food. Joyeux Noel et bonne annee.

  7. Mary Marvella // December 14, 2010 at 11:31 PM  

    Thanks for the great ideas and the laughs! Nothing like a southern Christmas!

  8. Pamela Varnado // December 15, 2010 at 12:25 AM  

    Hee, hee, Toni. Funny post and love the cookie sounds yummy.

  9. Nightingale // December 15, 2010 at 12:12 PM  

    What a hilarious post. I loved the tequila suggestion.

  10. Cyrano // December 15, 2010 at 3:36 PM  

    Very funny post, and great information too!
    And the cookies sound yum-a-licious!
    Have a great evening!

  11. Beth Trissel // December 15, 2010 at 4:41 PM  

    What a wonderful post. I loved it. :)

  12. Mary Ricksen // December 15, 2010 at 6:29 PM  

    Toni-isms! I love it. Thanks for the chuckle and the ideas!

  13. Toni V.S. // December 16, 2010 at 11:18 AM  

    TPV and I both thank everyone for their comments and wish you all a Merry Christmas.

  14. Joanne // December 20, 2010 at 9:26 PM  

    Toni--what a fun post! Thanks for another interesting recipe, too.