Ask a Syllabub Question . . .

I had lots of Christmas this weekend, with friends, family, and more family. Today was Christmas at the family farm.
There was lots of good stuff to eat, including my favorite treat, ambrosia.
I asked my grandmother if she ever made syllabub, and she said yes. I told her about my efforts with Mrs. Dull’s Southern Cooking, told her that I’d worked on a new edition. She said, “I have an original edition.” We dug it out.
Original edition of Mrs. Dull's Southern Cooking
And then I opened it up and found it was signed, given as a gift by Mrs. Dull in 1940 to my cousin Jane.
Mrs. Dull's signature
Jane’s mother was Cousin Jewel (for whom one of my hens was named, may she rest in peace). Gran said that Mrs. Dull helped Jewel when she started a cooking school way back when. Jewel paid Gran five dollars to go on stage and bake biscuits, because although Jewel formed the cooking school, she in fact had never cooked. (Evidently Jewel found herself in financial straits for the first time in her life, and cooking schools were very popular then and a reliable source of income.) Who knew?
The recipes in this edition are a bit different, written for a different time. Here’s the page with the syllabub recipe. I love that it calls for cream that is twenty-four hours old.
Mrs. Dull's original recipe for Syllabub
A few years back, I could’ve easily gotten cream and milk just as was called for, since the family farm was once part of a dairy. It hasn’t been in operation since I can remember–the cows above just graze there now, owned by other farmers who rent the pastureland–but there are lots of wonderful remnants. My cousin Jay uses the old dairy to house his pottery studio, Benzel Pottery on Highway 20. My fabulous Aunt Joan gave me another old Nejasco Farms dairy bottle this weekend (thank you, auntie!), which I’m going to root mint in. And Gran has used old dairy implements as planters around the house. Here’s the side of one.
Old dairy pot stamp
One of the best things about Christmas, to me, is going back to my roots, landscapes and faces and flavors that have remained essentially the same constant comfort, with new people and bits of information and jokes and stories added each time. I always know exactly what I’ll find, and yet I’m always delighted at the new discoveries, the new life growing out of the familiar.

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