SCIWAY News No. 50 – December 2007
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In This Issue
1. Spreading Our Cheer!Here at SCIway we have at least 50 things to celebrate this holiday season ... because this is our 50th edition of SCIWAY News!
We wanted to do something special to commemorate this milestone. After a lot of thought, we decided to give 50% of the money we receive from new sponsors this month to three SC food banks.
Together, Harvest Hope, Golden Harvest, and the Lowcountry Food Bank serve almost every county in the state, feeding over 400,000 hungry South Carolinians each year.
So if you've been thinking about advertising your company on SCIway, now's the time! From December 1 through December 31, half of the payments we receive from new SCIway sponsors will be given to these organizations. It's our way of saying, "Thanks, South Carolina!"
Editor's Note: In January, we'll let you know how much we donated, and we'll also publish a list of the advertisers who contributed.
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2. SC Holiday & Winter ResourcesIf you're anything like us, the holidays may have you a little frenzied already. Never fear, SCIWAY News is here! In this issue, you'll find links to seasonal festivities, a very wintry "Picture of the Month," and some special recipes from our homes to yours. The following is a list of resources we hope will help you through this hectic – but exciting – season.
3. Thank you ...Now is the perfect time to say what we've been thinking all year – thank you to everyone who has helped SCIway grow and improve!
Of course, we owe a huge thanks to our advertisers, the folks who make SCIway possible. They benefit from advertising on the largest directory of South Carolina information on the Internet ... and we get to keep making SCIway better! Here are some of the projects we've been able to complete, with their help, in 2007:
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4. Upcoming SC Festivals & EventsFor a complete calendar of South Carolina festivals and events, visit http://www.sciway.net/calendar.html. Here are just a few of December and early January's highlights:
5. SC Picture of the MonthOur December Picture of the Month is an homage to our state's cotton industry. It also paints a rustic picture of a rural South Carolina landscape.
The region around Edgefield and the J. Strom Thurmond Lake offers visitors and residents many opportunities for enjoying the outdoors, as well as discovering pleasant small towns. Thanks to Robbie Bellamy of Aiken, who sent us this photo.
6. Holiday Recipes from Your Friends at SCIway.netThis time of year would not be complete without all the wonderful food that brings families and friends together. We're no different here at SCIway.net, so we've decided to give our readers a small introduction to the SCIway staff by way of their favorite holiday recipes. We hope that you enjoy them as much as we do.
Kerri Fitts, Columbia:
One of my favorite childhood memories is about a cookie (no big surprise for those who know me). Every Christmas, my maternal-grandmother, Grammy, would bake about two dozen gingerbread men. The holiday season never really arrived at my house until Grammy did, with her cookies in tow.
Not only did she bring the goodies, but they doubled as Christmas tree ornaments. Yep, Grammy would use a straw to make a hole in the top of the head before she baked the cookies, then tie a ribbon loop for easy hanging. Now my sister has always been a well-known clothes horse and couldn't bear to see those poor guys on the tree without anything on. So we would get the tubes of decorator icing out and design all kinds of interesting outfits for our gingerbread men, always making sure Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus were dressed in their best red outfits.
Once the icing dried, up on the tree they would go. Not only was our tree the "best dressed" in town, but it was the yummiest too! A warning though – make sure to hang the gingerbread men above the reach of Rover. We learned this the hard way when the tragedy that is known as the "Christmas Eve Massacre of 1977" was committed by our sheltie.
I've heard that your sense of smell is the strongest of all of your senses, and that's easy to believe around the holidays. The smell of freshly cut Christmas trees and simmering wassail are enough to take me back to cozy childhood holidays in Early Branch, SC. An exciting hunt for the perfect Christmas tree would often be followed by Mom's wassail (pronounced "WOSS - ul"). The spiced cider requires several hours of stove time, which is perhaps the best part. The smell emanated throughout our house – even upstairs where we would all sneak to discuss Christmas presents. Cooking wassail was an all-day reminder that family was home, and company was coming ... and that our day would be so leisurely that checking the cider's progress could be a priority.
Of course, wassail has other benefits. Even the Lowcountry of South Carolina is usually cold over Christmas, so it was nice to sit around a decorated tree with a piping hot cup of wassail. Somehow, the taste and smell make any winter get-together seem more complete. As a child, it seemed a quite complicated recipe that resulted in a luxurious treat. I now know that many families have their own version, and they're usually not too complicated. Here is my mother's recipe, which looks beautiful in the pot and adds special warmth to holiday festivities:
Being originally from Belgium (that tiny country squeezed in between Holland, Germany, and France), what else could I do but write about a recipe that has chocolate ... and lots of it. This particular chocolate mousse recipe is one that has been passed down from my grandmother, Mamy, to every generation thereafter. The recipe is so rich in chocolate, butter, and eggs that it is no wonder it's goooood. In fact, every time I go visit my grandmother in Belgium, it tops my list of foods I should enjoy while there. Sharing this delightful dessert will surely bring smiles to chocolate lovers and convert the ones not yet under chocolate's spell.
As the chocolate mousse is based on ... chocolate, try to buy the nicest chocolate available. Dark is best. As for the butter, feel free to substitute up to half with a good quality margarine. You can vary the sugar amounts depending on the sweetness level desired or the sweetness of the chocolate used. The trickiest part of this recipe is separating the egg whites from the yolks and whipping them up into a stiff foam. Make sure you don't get any yolk into the egg whites. When you're done with the delectable mixture, I find that the best way to serve them is in small individually-sized cups or dishes. That way you can ensure everyone gets the same amount, because sharing this one is tough!
Christmas is special for many reasons, but for my family, it's special because we actually get to use real plates. And glasses. And silverware that is not made of plastic! You see, my mom is a great cook – when she cooks. Which is about once a year. To put this into some sort of perspective, there are more broken burners on her stove than working ones. I shouldn't complain though. It takes a special talent to raise four children while not owning a serrated knife. Besides, my sisters and I are apparently all amazing wonders of science. Our formative years were sustained by pizza, hot dogs, and macaroni from a box, and still we managed to pass five feet. (Well, with heels on in any case.)
Needless to say, all this made picking my favorite holiday recipe a pretty easy decision. I mean, heck ... there were only three choices! So without further delay, I introduce you to my mom's famous-for-multiple-reasons English Teacakes. (She actually got this recipe from a good friend of hers who is German, but don't let that dissuade you.) Momma bakes these teacakes every Christmas morning and we all love them very much! My birthday is the week after Christmas and sometimes I ask her to make me another batch then too.
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