Thursday, December 24, 2009

A Christmas Recipe from Author Tracy Groot

Christmas Eve Feast
by Tracy Groot, author of Madman

I've always been enchanted by holiday traditions.  When I married, I decided to create a tradition of my own.  Since Jack's side of the family celebrated Christmas the Saturday before and my side met on Christmas day, I invited anyone who wanted to come for a special Christmas Eve feast.

Jack's parents and Jack's sister, Rita, along with Rita's family, came to the very first Feast.  I planned the menu weeks ahead.  I scrubbed the house to a spit-shine and happily fretted over endless details incumbent upon a holiday hostess.  It was important for that first Feast to go well, and it did.  The guests were suitably impressed by the food, and the atmosphere was pleasant and festive.

One year I decided to serve prime rib.  I investigated many methods of cooking it, and finally decided on the One True Way.  With guests about to arrive, I prepared a final herb rub--and noticed a funny smell.

"Is that my roast?" I shrieked.

"Yes," Jack admitted, as if he'd noticed it for a while.

Turned out my prime rib was way past its prime--the meat was foul.  Christmas Eve Feast was about to be a complete failure.  Maybe my husband expected wails and groans--maybe I did.  But many years of celebrating this Christmas Eve Feast taught me one thing: it isn't about food, though the food is nice.  It isn't about the atmosphere, though atmosphere is important.  It's about people.  It will always be about people.

"Stoke up the grill!" I hollered.  "Meijers is open for another twenty minutes!"

I flew to the store, grabbed an armload of steaks, and made it home just as the first guests arrived. 

It wasn't prime rib, but the most important feature to adorn that table was there--family.

This is special to me for two reasons: It's my son Evan's favorite dessert, and always requested for his birthday "cake," and it came from a dear friend, Amy Strating, whose recipes compile about half of what is in my recipe box.

Whopper Dessert
35 Oreo cookies, crushed
6 T butter or margarine, melted
1 half-gallon vanilla ice cream, softened
1 12 oz. box of Whoppers candy, crushed
      reserving 3/4 cup
1 jar of hot fudge topping (I use Mrs. Richardson's), very slightly warmed
1 8 oz. container of Cool Whip, thawed

Combine crushed Oreos and melted butter, and place in the bottom of a 9x13" pan.  Mix ice cream with crushed Whoppers until well combined; then spread on Oreo layer.  Freeze until firm.  Spread with the jar of hot fudge topping, then the Cool Whip, and sprinkle with the reserved crushed Whoppers.  Keep frozen until serving.

Taken from Come to Our Table, Moody Publishers, ©Moody Bible Institute, 2007


  1. Tracy, you might have stubbed your culinary toe with the prime rib, but I have to tell you that your book, Madman, is pure artistry. What a wonderful book, and thank you for sharing about your personal life.

    Latayne C. Scott

  2. That recipe, minus the whoppers, is one my MIL made for my husband's birthdays. He still loves it. Funny the things that make memories, like that stinky roast! One of mine involves a rotten lobster for a Christmas dinner in Charleston.


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