By Temple Wynne
I have always loved Christmas - everything about it. I love the music and the lights. I love the thought that goes into making Christmas lists, and keeping family traditions alive. I love setting out marvelous nativity scenes that bring home the true meaning of Christmas. And, yes, the food - traditional delights!
This year, I got my first real infusion of Christmas spirit at the EmilyAnn Trail of Lights - more wonderful than ever. Thus inspired, I made a special trip to Dallas to join my cousins in a seven generation old tradition - the putting down of the Christmas spice rounds. Looking forward to this taste treat as I was growing up, I decided that this is a tradition worth kindling at my home here in Wimberley. All in all, we made rounds that went to homes in Dallas, Plano, Tulsa, Midland, Ft. Worth, Austin and Wimberley!
To make this magic, representatives from each branch of our large extended family gather in one kitchen. While our "spice girls" measure and stir delicious smelling spices into a special concoction on the stove, the rest of us work around a kitchen table preparing our respective rounds of beef. Not a job for the faint of heart, each round cut of beef (10'd x 6" h) has to be bound tightly with kitchen string, punctured through repeatedly with a sharpened dowel, and then each hole stuffed with the fragrant blend of spices. The round is then sewn snuggly into cheesecloth, and "put down" in a cold spot for two weeks to cure in the brine. And finally, while still in its cloth, it is boiled, refrigerated, and made ready to go! And go it does, to each of our houses and friends' houses, for every holiday party. Placed on a beautiful tray, surrounded with greenery and berries, the firm spice round is carved flat across the top in paper thin slices, and enjoyed on crackers or thin toasts- spicy and delicious- a real Christmas delight!
We at River House wish you and yours a loving, delightful Christmas and a prosperous New Year.