Christmas, Friends and Recipes…

It’s three days til Christmas

And in the Reeve house

I’ve been thinking about friendship,

Hoping I won’t find a mouse! (I detest rodents!)
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     Okay! I agree, the poetry is awful, but thinking about friendship and time I’ve spent recently with friends has been quite lovely!

     Thoughts about friendship began when I retrieved a pumpkin bread recipe I make almost every holiday season. The 3×5 lined index card on which the recipe is typed is quite ratty, spattered with ancient remnants of batter. I’m sure germs linger on the card, and I probably should toss it.

     But, I’m not going to do that because of the history this recipe card holds. I have a few other similar treasures, and I suppose many of you do as well.

     Many years ago, I lived for a little over a year in Rhode Island. During most of that time, I worked in the Pathology Department at Rhode Island Hospital in Providence. In my stint as a medical transcriptionist there, I forged a casual friendship with a co-worker named Christine.

     Chris was adorable with dark hair, big brown eyes and animated characteristics consistent with her full-blooded Italian heritage. We were about the same age. We were both chatty and enjoyed visiting while eating lunch in the hospital cafeteria. We were both recent newlyweds. Homemaking was a value we shared. Our Christian faith was an important component of both our journeys.

     Also, we both enjoyed cooking.

     The Pumpkin Bread recipe was one of several exchanged during our few months of friendship. I’ve given small loaves of the sweet bread to a lot of people over the years. Almost every time, someone asks for the recipe.

     Four or five years ago when I was whipping up a batch of Chris’ Pumpkin Bread, I decided to see if I could locate my ‘old’ friend. I remembered her husband’s name was David, and I couldn’t imagine their Italian last name was that common. I checked the on-line white pages telephone directory for Providence, and sure enough, there was the name—with not only a number but an address to boot!

     I decided calling might be too awkward, so instead, I sent a little note. Shortly, Chris replied. We’ve exchanged Christmas cards and personal notes since that time. She has been a faithful Listening on the Journey… reader and told me some of the posts have helped her deal with a heartbreaking challenge she and her family are navigating.

     I love what C. S. Lewis says about friendship.

Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another, ‘What! You too? I thought I was the only one.[1]

     I can think of no better time than Christmas to celebrate the significance of friendships. Also, I don’t imagine there’s a better time to share a cherished recipe with friends. So, to you, my friends, I share Christine’s recipe.

Pumpkin Bread

3 1/3 C. sifted flour

2 tsp. baking soda

1 ½ tsp. salt

1 tsp. each cinnamon and nutmeg

Sift dry ingredients together. In a separate bowl, mix together:

1 C. oil

3 C. sugar

(FYI: I made this note on the recipe card: ‘Important to use full amount of oil and sugar.’ I assume I tried to lighten up the recipe one time, and the outcome wasn’t too successful.)

4 eggs, added whole

1/3 C. water

2 C. canned pumpkin

1 C. dates, chopped

1 C. nuts, chopped (walnuts or pecans both work well)

Fold dry ingredients into pumpkin mixture.

Grease and flour 4 one-lb. coffee cans well and pour batter into cans a little over half full. Let batter set about 20 minutes in the cans before putting in the oven. Bake at 350 degrees for one hour or slightly longer (depending on oven). After bread has cooled, take out of cans and finish cooling. Put into baggies and put back in clean coffee cans and store in freezer. Can also use 10” Bundt pan – 350 for 70 minutes.

Note: I haven’t used the coffee cans for years but instead use small loaf pans. I check after about 45 minutes in oven, insert knife in center to make sure loaves are fully baked. Cool and wrap in plastic wrap and foil. Add a pretty bow and gift tag. Co-workers and neighbors love the special treat.

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     Here’s to Christmastime treats, enduring friendships and the Reason for this season…

Sue Reeve


4 thoughts on “Christmas, Friends and Recipes…

  1. Recipes are special like that and so are friendships. I recently pulled out my ‘ratty recipe card’ with your handwriting on it … your tried and true banana bread recipe. I’m thankful for our friendship and that we’ve been able to reconnect in the summer to share some more of your wonderful recipes. Wishing you and Ron and your family a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year 🙂

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