Christmas in Charleston

“The advantage of doing ones own praising is that you can lay it on just so thick and in all the right places.”  I am the biggest fan of my food, Christmas dishes at my house.  It is midnight.  I served duck today that my 16 year old friend Richard Hanger shared with me from his shoot at Coosaw Plantation with his friend, Bolton Sanford.  A true Charleston man loves the land, being one with God and nature, and showing he is a provider.  I sauteed the duck in butter and Madeira with shallots and then added my calamondin marmalade from our home grown citrus grove in the front garden.  Wow!  I invited Richard’s family over tonight for the remains of the day and the kill, since it was his offering.  His mother, Monti, did not know what to do with it; I got lucky as it was passed on to me.  I served it with Carolina Gold Rice, which sells for its weight in gold,  precious stuff, grown on a limited scale on only a few plantations in the Lowcountry more as a hobby.

After dinner and our family friends helped me reset the table for tomorrow.  I made Lobster Newberg and more Carolina Gold Rice.  This dish is a Christmas special with cream, vermouth, and brandy combined with a lobster broth reduction.  If you are not coming at Christmas time, don’t get your hopes up.  I do not cook this rich a luncheon every day.  I am using the Doubleday Cookbook receipt, the second one, which is richer.  I cannot tell you how good it is.  You will have to try it for yourself.

For those who read my Thanksgiving entry, the Mars Hill College football player and family DID come on my tour.  It was a joy to treat them to the gift I had offered.  Mills Adams is a sickle cell carrier and was in the paper for “playing with fire”.  His team made it to regional championship games for the first time in 20 years.  Before the words were out of my mouth on South Carolina’s history, Mills would be saying it for me.  It is incredible how much he loves his State’s history.  He is a history major and had NEVER been in Historic Charleston houses.  “You have no idea what this means to me,” he kept saying.  His mom, a former history teacher, and teenage brother came, too.  They are descendants of Robert Mills, Charleston architect of the first Fire Proof Building and the Washington Monument in DC, among others.

Husband Preston this afternoon cut HUGE branches of calamondin oranges–JUST what I need before Christmas–more projects!  I will be up to my eyeballs in making calamondin marmalade, as if I have not made enough already!  Everybody wants some though;  it goes out the door as fast as I can make it.  I bought  baler jars from Italy, which add to the beauty of this locally grown golden product.

Our Christmas baby daughter is turning 14 December 22, with a family birthday tea party here, followed by Christmas Eve Dinner here two days later before she sings in St. Philip’s choir  for Midnight Mass.  Sleep time now!  I can’t wait to meet the next group of people tomorrow–oops this morning!

May your days be Merry and Bright–Laura



Filed under breaking routine, Calamondin Marmalade, Christmas in Charleston, for foodies, Gardening, Mills Adams, national architect from Charleston, Robert Mills, sickle cell

2 responses to “Christmas in Charleston

  1. Miss Ruby V, I am going down stairs to put up more marmalade this Boxing Day morning as it all went out the door this Christmas as fast as I could boil it up. My husband, Preston, and I both slept til 8 for our Christmas rest this morning. After Christmas Eve Dinner here with my parents and brother and family, we went to the Candle Light Service at historic St. Philip’s. Birthday girl, Victoria, now 14, sang in the choir with daughter Olivia, home from college. The college young men in their enthusiasm got ahead of the choir director at one point; it was a battle as to who was going to lead who, with gentle chuckles and knowing looks going round the old church.

    Christmas night we got together with my husband’s extended family at Aunt Jan’s for a Chinese gift exchange. My husband had quietly wrapped what he thought were some unwanted wedding presents of ours collecting dust in the attic. Unbeknownst to him, they were the treasured pottery art collection of daughter Delia’s Godfather, Daniel, from around the world. Thankfully Daniel and his mother were with us. The SHOCK on Daniel’s face whipping around at otherwise trustworthy Preston as each of the four treasures was opened sent my husband into fits of tearful laughter such as we rarely see in my quiet husband, and set the rest of us HOWLING as the mistake became apparent. We ended Christmas Night round the piano singing Christmas Carols as Aunt Dee played. And may all our Christmases be as bright!–Laura Wichmann Hipp

  2. Ruby Davis

    Laura, I stand in awe of your energy & enthusiasm. You are truly doing what you were meant to do. I am envying the people who are taking your Christmas tour….it sounds amazing. My question is when do you have time to do marmalade? My friends Mary Ann, Ann & I did your tour in April and enjoyed it immensely. I wish you and your family a wondrous Christmas and a Happy New Year. Be sure to give yourself a gift of time for a little rest .

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