Saturday, December 31, 2011

Cheese Wiz, Gummy Fish & Cocktail Shrimp

Doesn’t sound like a very appetizing combination, does it?   And no, that's not a recipe from the Treasurey of White Trash Cooking (well, at least I don't think it is).

That's what we used to have for pre-midnight snacks at my Great Aunt Harriet’s house on New Year’s Eve as kids.  And I LOVED it!  It’s not like we put Cheese Wiz on the Swedish Fish.  There were separate plates for the squirty can of cheese-like substance and crackers, the multi-colored Swedish Fish (back then you couldn’t get just all red ones) in a fancy crystal bowl and then cocktail shrimp served on a elegant shrimp tray complete with the little attached bowl for the cocktail sauce. 

I would eat shrimp until I was stuffed.  And then eat some more.  Nothing like starting kids on high-priced seafood at such a young age.  Although I absolutely loved the shrimp, I don't recall if Christine had started her hatred of the little decapod crustaceans at this point or not.  Maybe I taunted her with the little shrimp bodies.....I don't recall.

Honestly, I don’t remember if we had a fancy supper beforehand or not.  Besides, how can a kid eat supper if she knows there’s going to be a huge bowl full of fish-shaped, gummy candy waiting?

We watched the big ball count the time down to Midnight on the television set (Midnight NY time, not Chicago time, so we got screwed out of another hour of staying up!) and blew our party horns, cranked those metal clanky things……and were out light a light no more than five minutes later.  I find out later in life that we were celebrating an hour early as the program we were watching was from New York and we were in Chicago.  Apparently the words “Time Zone” have little or no meaning to ones so young.  I recall being fast asleep in bed and suddenly being awakened by the sound of fireworks and gunshots……you know, the real Midnight, Central Standard Time.  Oh well.  We still got to eat gobs of junk and party food.
When we got a little older and were too "big" to spend the night at Aunt Harriet's, my Dad continued the shrimp feast.  We'd go to the local seafood market and buy jumbo shirmp.  Dad & I would sit in front of the sink peeling & deveining all those shrimp and then Dad would fry them up in a huge skillet with butter and fresh garlic.  The smell in the house was heavenly!  Of course, Christine didn't partake in the shrimp-extravaganza (where was she anyways??)  Silly girl.
Now that I have a family of my own, I’m starting to wonder what holiday traditions we should start.  Hopefully ones that Rhiannon will fondly remember.  We don’t have television hooked up so wouldn’t be able to do the New York Midnight celebration, but I suppose we could covertly turn the clocks ahead an hour and wait for the Cuckoo clock to strike a preemptive twelve (because you know, Mommy & Daddy can barely stay up past 10:30 nowadays). What tangled webs we weave!  Hopefully she won’t be psychologically scarred if / when she finds out we lied to her about it.
I guess we have a few more years until Rhiannon participates in the actual Midnight Celebration, but I haven’t decided what New Year’s Day will be like yet.  I go back & forth between wanting to make it a movie-watching, junk-food eating day or something outdoorsy like fishing or hiking and a picnic (weather permitting, of course).  But I do think that the Swedish Fish should be a continuing tradition, don’t you?
Have a safe and wonderful New Year's.  I'll see y'all next year!
PS - Yes Dad, we'll have a silver coin in our pockets at Midnight!


  1. I just might try your trick and move the clock from 9pm to midnight. I can't stay up that late anymore!

    Happy NY!

  2. Wonderful memories. Thanks for sharing them. Love the coin in pocket thing. A new one for me to try with my GK's

  3. Swedish Fish sounds like a fine tradition for you to carry on! :)
    Happy New Year!!

  4. I totally agree on the Swedish fish - we love them.

  5. Thanks for sharing the memories of traditions in your family. I don't remember anything from our family's New Year's Day except football, football, football! But still kind of a low-key, relaxed holiday.