Celebrating Holiday Fruits During Christmas

Joan Gussdow reminds readers it is a special treat to indulge in celebrating holiday fruits during Christmas season.

| December 2002/January 2003

  • Celebrating the special holiday fruits available during Christmas.
    Celebrating the special holiday fruits available during Christmas.

  • Celebrating the special holiday fruits available during Christmas.

Celebrating the special holiday fruits during Christmas.

Gooseberry Dessert

Gooseberry Pie Recipe

It was a winter morning in suburban New York, and I was sharing with my young sons a favorite breakfast treat, homemade corn muffins. My sons' devouring eagerness had already told me that the muffins were delicious — and I agreed, just before I remarked that I could probably cut down the sugar even more. My younger son looked up from his plate in exasperation, "Gee, Mom, just when you get something perfect you have to make it healthier."

Stabbed to the heart! He was absolutely right. Where raising the bar is concerned, I have tended to be insufferable. Eager as I am, however, to crusade for local food in season, this does seem an ideal time of year to lower the bar. Winter, after all, offers those many occasions for celebration that cluster around the longest night of the year, and some of what we celebrate ought surely to be treats — including non-local food.

As an Earth-lover, I've grown attached to observing the solstice, but the holiday I grew up with is Christmas. I was a California child whose mother read Charles Dickens to her girls at bedtime; I grew up yearning for snowy Christmases, horse-drawn sleighs and hearty British feasts. There is nothing like indulging in holiday fruits during Christmas. For me, the climax of the Christmas feast was always gooseberry pie.

Our guests at every Christmas dinner were a family — a mother with two unmarried daughters close to my mother's age — from my parents' home state of Iowa. Though childless, the daughters were confident they knew better than my mother how young people ought to be raised, so my sister and I were required to endure in silence their frequent critiques of our manners. What made the holiday dinner tolerable was that their mother always arrived bearing German anise picture cookies and gooseberry pie.


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