The 5th prompt on the Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories is about Christmas recipes. It is my favorite so far because it allows me to tell one of my favorite stories about my mom's crazy family. It is bittersweet however, because there are only two of us left now who remember this wonderful group of people-- me and one of my older cousins.
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My family always made a special drink for Christmas Eve back in the days when the whole family still got together. It was called a Tom and Jerry. It is a combination of raw eggs, sugar, butter, cloves, and nutmeg plus rum, brandy, or whiskey. It is sort of like hot chocolate for adults without the chocolate! It is not Eggnog. Never was; never will be. It is served hot! It is smoother and you can drink a lot more of it and my family did.
The Tom and Jerry originated in the mid 1850's and was not named after the cartoon cat and mouse. It was a very popular drink well into the 1950's. I think it must have been replaced by Eggnog for some reason. Possibly it was too labor intensive and it does contain raw eggs. I still have a few of my mom's set of Tom & Jerry cups. Yes, you drank it from special cups with the name "Tom & Jerry" in gold on the front.
My mom and her sisters always took turns having Christmas Eve. I was just a little girl with two cousins who were close to my age. The family was made up of my parents, three sets of aunts and uncles. four sets of married cousins, plus us three little kids. We had a ball. It was always a lot of fun -- probably due to the Tom & Jerry's.
I was the oldest of the young cousins and for a few years it was just me and one other cousin who was four months younger than me. Then one Christmas Eve a miracle happened. My cousin's mom went into labor. Of course, all the adults had been drinking Tom & Jerry's so they had to go through the whole group until they found someone who was sober enough to drive the expectant couple to the hospital. They picked my uncle who was a policeman!
As the three of them were leaving for the hospital someone yelled, "Hey, if it's a boy name him Jerry." That made perfect sense. You see my other cousin's name was Tom and it had suddenly dawned on my family that if they named his new brother Jerry we would always have Tom & Jerry's for Christmas.
It was a boy, born on Christmas Eve and they did name him Jerry!!
Even after we no longer made the drink for Christmas Eve and the special cups were packed away in the attic, we could still celebrate with Tom and Jerry every Christmas.