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Oh, what a goodly and a glorious show;
The stately trees have decked themselves with white,
And stand transfigured in a robe of light;
Wearing for each lost leaf a flake of snow.

Richard Wilton (1827–1903)

Recipes from the Highest Table

Mrs. Woodrow Wilson’s Clam Dip This recipe is perhaps the simplest in the presidential legacy. It was written down in longhand with pencil by Mrs. Woodrow Wilson, a first lady who was not among the greatest of cooks. Still, her clam dip was often served to the president.

  • 1 small can clams, drained
  • 1 8-ounce package of cream cheese
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons of grated onion
  • salt and pepper, to taste

    Mix all ingredients slowly until thoroughly incorporated. Chill and serve with crackers.

    Ike’s Potato Salad
    Dwight D. "Ike" Eisenhower was known to spend considerable time in the kitchen. Here’s his potato salad recipe.

    Boil potatoes, slice or cube, and marinate in wine vinegar for 20 minutes. Drain and mix with chopped onions and chopped parsley. Salt and pepper to taste. Pour the used vinegar over this mixture and add mayonnaise to taste. Spice with 1/8 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce, celery salt, and a pinch of garlic salt. Serve cold with sliced hard-boiled eggs, sliced pimientos, and olives.

    Martha Washington’s Olives of Beef with Sweet-and-Sour Sauce Martha Washington’s handwritten books include many simple recipes such as olives of beef.This type of meatball was one of the favorites of our first president, who had difficulty with his dentures and appreciated the fine taste of beef without the discomfort that chewing involved for him.

    Martha’s Great Cake
    And, if you have a crowd coming for a holiday party, you may want to try
    Martha Washington’s Great Cake. Be forewarned that you start with 40 eggs!!!

    For more holiday recipes and trivia, go to Holiday Feasts, Folklore, and Fun.

  • It’s time to send holiday cards to friends and relatives. Why not save the 41 cents and send an e-card instead? Check out our selection of seasonal images or submit your own photos to be included in our gallery.

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    The burning yule log is symbolic of the light that will return after the dark days of early winter and gives us an excuse to gather with family and friends before a roaring fire.

    The tradition is an old one, going back to the Druid custom of choosing a large log from an apple or oak tree, lighting it afire, and praying that it would burn forever. In England, the log was selected months before Christmas. Because it was believed that all who brought it in from the woods would be protected against harm for the ensuing year, everyone lent a hand, making the event itself a festive time.

    Custom also decreed that a piece from the previous year’s log be saved to light the new log. As the yule log burned, everyone danced and cavorted in its heat and warmth, safe in the knowledge that the evil spirits would stay away for another year.

    The Old Farmer’s Almanac

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    December 5 — First Day of Chanukah

      This eight-day Jewish festival began at sundown on December 4. The central feature of the observance of Chanukah is the nightly lighting of the Chanukah, an eight-branched candelabra with a place for a ninth candle, the shammes, used to light the others. One candle is lit on the first night of Chanukah, and an additional candle is lit on each successive night, until, on the eighth night, the Chanukiah is fully illuminated.

    December 6 — St. Nicholas

      In Holland, everyone celebrates the Feast of Sinterklaas, or St. Nicholas, on the eve of December 6. After dinner, Dutch families hunt for presents, following clues in funny, anonymous poems. They also eat candies and cookies. The legend of St. Nicholas is, like the lives of many saints, shrouded in mystery. We know that he was a bishop during the fourth century. In many places in the United States and abroad, children still place their shoes by the window or door for St. Nicholas to fill them with presents and sweets. He is considered the patron saint of children.

    December 7 — National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day

      At dawn on Sunday, December 7, 1941, Japanese planes attacked the U.S. Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, in an attempt to cripple the fleet and hinder U.S. intervention in other Japanese actions in the South Pacific. The attack mobilized the United States and initiated its entry into World War II.

    December 13 — St. Lucia’s Day

      St. Lucia (also called Lucy) was a fourth-century Italian martyr. Her name is derived from the Latin lux, meaning "light," and thus she is associated with festivals of light. St. Lucia’s Day is celebrated especially in Italy and in Sweden, where the youngest daughter dons a crown of burning candles and wakes the family with coffee and St. Lucia buns (sweet rolls seasoned with saffron).

    December 13-14 — Meteor Watch

      The Geminid meteor showers should be visible after sunset on both the 13th and 14th. Wish for clear skies!

    December 14 — Halcyon Days begin

      About 14 days of calm weather follow the blustery winds of autumn’s end. The ancient Greeks and Romans believed them to occur around the time of the winter solstice, when the halcyon, or kingfisher, was brooding. In a nest floating on the sea, the bird was said to have charmed the wind and waves so that the waters were especially calm during this period.

    Your December Forecast

      Wondering if it’s going to snow for the holidays or if you will need an umbrella for that New Year’s Eve celebration? Here are our December and January weather predictions for your regions. Just click on the map.

    Early December Extremes

      December 5, 1981
      Newport, Rhode Island, received 24 inches of snow.

      December 6, 1970
      A windstorm toppled the national Christmas tree at the White House.

      December 7, 2005
      Denver, Colorado, experienced a frigid temperature of 0 degrees F.

      December 7, 1989
      An ice storm in Nashville, Tennessee, cut electricity to 40,000 houses.

      December 9, 1980
      It was 61 degrees F. in Boston, at 1:00 A.M.

      December 10, 1946
      The temperature reached 70 degrees F. in New York City.

      December 12, 1960
      20 inches of snow covered Newark, New Jersey.

      December 13, 1962
      Tampa, Florida, experienced a severe freeze with a temperature of 18 degrees F.

      December 14, 1924
      The temperature at Helena, Montana, fell 79 degrees in 24 hours.

    Snow Contest Winners

      Our first BIG snow here in Dublin arrived on Tuesday, November 20, 2007. Two inches of snow covered our parking lot and stuck for 24 hours.

      Congratulations to all five winners (drawn at random from all correct guesses), who will receive a Weather Watcher’s Calendar in the mail.
      Janet K., Saginaw, MI; George S., Walden, NY; Edward C., Groveland, MA; Kay A., Lakemont, GA; John S., Qu’Appelle, SK, Canada

    © 2007, Yankee Publishing Inc. All rights reserved
    Yankee Publishing Inc., P.O. Box 520, Dublin, NH 03444, USA, (603) 563-8111