A Bone family Thanksgiving or Christmas is never complete without Auntie Mable’s creamed onions. The first time I tasted the creamed onions I was conflicted – I loved the cream sauce, and especially the buttery HiHo cracker topping, but I DIDN’T like the onions. (Auntie Mable’s recipe calls for HiHo crackers, but I can rarely find them now, so I use Ritz crackers and silently apologize to Auntie Mable as I put the box of Ritz in my shopping cart.) I would take a serving of the dish, gobble down the crispy topping with the creaming filling, and to not offend my dear Auntie Mable, I would always nibble at the onions – until one day, I found that I liked the onions too. I have spoken to others of my cousins and siblings, and several went through the same taste progression.
I know for me and my siblings, we look forward to the creamed onions more than we do the turkey or the dressing or the candied yams or just about anything else – with the exception of Mom’s sour cream raisin pie…and that is a tossup, in my opinion.
Interestingly enough – I acquired a taste for sour cream raisin pie, much the same way I acquired a taste for creamed onions. I loooooooved the filling, but I wasn’t so enamored of the raisins. I would eat that pie last, after all the other pies were gone. I would eat around the raisins, suck every last bit of filling off of them, and leave a pile of rejected raisins on my plate. Over time, it got to be too much of a bother to do it this way, so I just ate the raisins, and over more time, I decided the raisins were good, and the pie became my favorite! In fact, today I will ignore other pies if any sour cream raisin remains – and sadly, it seems that most of my siblings, their spouses and their children do likewise…the sour cream raisin pie is usually the first to be devoured.
Mom says that the closest she has found to her recipe (she’s not sure if it is EXACTLY the same) is in this book – except hers is the 1953 edition:
Auntie Mary was the real gourmet chef in the family. She made amazing dishes. She made a cranberry sauce with orange juice and walnuts (I think) that was special. She always had some special dish each time, and they were always very good. An aside here – she made a dessert that I only tasted once or twice (and only for a cousin’s birthday) that was all creamy and coconutty and caramel-drizzled heaven – but I cannot remember the name of this (as Ira Reid or Uncle JC would say) extry-special confection. As I said, I’ve only tasted it once or twice, but the memory of it lingers and nothing has ever measured up to it’s special goodness. It was the rare dish that was visually spectacular, and tasted better than it looked. I hope my cousin, Doug (or Barbara, or Caroline, or Russell), reads this and provides the name of this taste of paradise in the comments.
The thing about creamed onions (yes, back to that) is they are good the next day, and they are good cold, or reheated. Each iteration of creamed onions – fresh-made, leftover, cold, reheated – has its own special qualities to recommend it. And, in my experience, creamed onions never go bad!