I am excited to introduce Elanna Scott the main character from Promises and Quills and the mother in Deceptive Promises by Amber Miller to join us. What is so awesome about this is Elanna is visiting us during the Revolutionary War period of American History. The magic of technology!!!She is going to share some of the traditions and foods that were eaten during this time. So get ready for a fun Christmas interview.
Elanna lets start off with my favorite subject besides books-food. Are there any foods that you only have at Christmas? Could you please share a family favorite recipe?
We did not have many unique foods when I was a young girl, but wassail and gingerbread were commonly available.
- 1 gallon apple cider
- 16 ounces of unsweetened pineapple juice
- 3/4 cup tea
Place in a cheesecloth sack:1 Tablespoon whole cloves1 Tablespoon whole allspice2 sticks cinnamon Allow the cheesecloth sack to brew with the cider and tea. Let it simmer very slowly for 4 to 6 hours. You can add water if it evaporates too much.
The recipe for gingerbread cookies has been adapted for those of you who are living in what I hear is a more modern time period than them time in which I live. If you were to bake these cookies the way we did, I do not believe you would have much success. Perhaps this adaptation will prove successful, though.
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons ginger
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 cup melted margarine
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 cup evaporated milk
- 1 cup unsulfered molasses
- 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3/4 teaspoon lemon extract
- 4 cups stone-ground or unbleached flour, unsifted
Combine the sugar, ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, salt, and baking soda. Mix well. Add the melted margarine, evaporated milk and molasses. Add the extracts. Mix well. Add the flour 1 cup at a time, stirring constantly. The dough should be stiff enough to handle without sticking to fingers. Knead the dough for a smoother texture. Add up to ½ cup additional flour if necessary to prevent sticking. When the dough is smooth, roll it out ¼ inch thick on a floured surface and cut it into cookies. Bake on floured or greased cookie sheets in a preheated 375° F oven for 10 to 12 minutes. The gingerbread cookies are done when they spring back when touched.
Thank you for the recipes, I'll have to try them this Christmas. When we marry, our family traditions change to join with our spouse’s traditions. What traditions to you have that are different from when you were growing up? What traditions do you hold most dear?
One of my favorite traditions is the hardening and curing of oranges in preparation for making pomander balls to hang around our home. A blend of cinnamon, nutmeg and orrisroot were combined and inserted into holes poked into the oranges with nails, and whole cloves or other spices would also be added. Those combined with the netting filled with rosemary, dried lavender, rose petals and bayberry would make Christmas come alive with rich aromas. Even now that I am married, I have shared that tradition with our children. And they all love to be involved in the process.
My husband, Madison, hailed from Boston, and Christmas was quite different for him. We in the middle colonies never really identified the day as different from the rest, but we did honor the season with our decorations. But Madison and his family decorated with sprigs of evergreen and holly, attended a church service and even engaged in dancing afterward. They might also visit another family or receive visitors at their home. We adapted the evergreen and holly for our windowpanes, and now, we have a special meal, making a point to share this time with our family.
I love that you blended his traditions with your own. Christmas is a time that many memories are made. What is the best Christmas memory you have?
That must be an occurrence that took place this year. My daughter, Margret, had been keeping company with a young gentleman her father and I believed to be divided in his loyalties between England and our colonies. As such, her father forbade her from having any associations with him. However, on the night of Christmas, who should appear at our door but the young man himself, escorting Margret’s cousin who had been captured by the British during a recent battle at Cooch’s Bridge. General Washington’s army had reported him as missing, but Samuel Lowe brought him home. And despite being forbidden to appear at our home, he also made a bold proposal to my daughter, requesting permission for her hand in marriage. He had more than proven his loyalty and redeemed himself in our eyes, so Margret’s father had given his approval.
I am so happy to hear they are getting married. I wish them a blessed marriage. What does your family do to remember what the real reason for Christmas is?
Giving thanks to our Father in Heaven for sending His Son for us is ever present in our hearts and minds. We take time to ask for His blessings on our lives as the year comes to a close and request that He grant us favor and continued blessings for the coming year. As this time of year is always celebrated by time spent with our family, we have nothing else occupying our minds which needs to be dismissed. If we do exchange gifts, a reminder is always stated pertaining to the gift of God’s son for all of us.
Now a few questions for Amber Miller the wonderfully gifted author of three Heartsong Presents book. Two of which I have read and loved.
Amber, what led you to write a Christmas story?
This story isn’t exactly a full Christmas story, but it does conclude on Christmas Day. The book preceding this one included several traditions that are referenced in this one, but not given as much focus. As this time is a special time of year, and as the greater timeline of events provided a clear point where Christmas could be the focus, I decided to end the story there with references to what would happen later. It worked out quite well, I believe.
I look forward to reading Deceptive Promises. I love that you have written books that link three generations of family. Could you please briefly describe your novel?
Quills & Promises
Innocence paired with wisdom beyond her years--With these traits, Elanna Hanssen unwittingly captures the attentions of Major Madison Scott. Her honest desire to understand the war fascinates him, and he resolves to get to know this perspicacious young lady better. When he is called away to fight the French and the Indians, they begin a correspondence, cautiously baring their hearts to one another. Elanna has never known emotions like these before, but she is drawn to the integrity she sees in her major. When a writer for the first newspaper in the colony questions the major's credentials and activities, however, will she allow her heart or her head to rule? Can true love grow over such distance and around such obstacles?
Is deception fair in wartime? Margret Scott finds she must deal with this question as she becomes attracted to the enigmatic Samuel Lowe. As the tensions grow between the colonists and the British soldiers and loyalists, Margret struggles to determine where Samuel's loyalties lie, despite his reassurances that they lie with the colonists. Samuel's duties have him working for both sides of this war, and he is often torn between what is right and what is wrong. He promises Margret she can trust him, and Margret promises him she does. But can promises born in deception be trusted? Can relationships built in uncertainty survive?
If you would like to visit Amber's website click here
Amber has offered an autographed copy of Deceptive Promises to a luck winner so if you would like to win a copy please leave a comment and answer the following question. What Christmas traditions do you cherish the most? Don't forget to leave an addy in disguise (yourname[at]ouraddress[dot]net)