Food’s important, but family is special at Christmas in West Columbia
From the traditional to adventure cooking, Christmas meal perpetration in West Columbia varies. And getting together with the people you love is as important in West Columbia as the turkey or the oysters.
Mike Hicks is the owner of the popular Delucca’s restaurant on Sunset Boulevard in West Columbia. His family tradition is to have a Christmas Eve dinner. Hicks, who is a chef, prepares the Christmas Eve dinner for his family.
“It’s so easy and comes naturally,” said Hicks. So he is in charge.
“We like to keep it simple. My family has lots going on,” he said,
“We make a big Beaufort stew and we like oysters. So we have oysters.”
Beaufort stew is a Lowcountry creation typically made from corn-on-the-cob, potatoes, shrimp and sausage.
Hicks said until a couple of years ago, he’d call upon his culinary expertise to make a turkey-based dinner for his family at Christmas.
“I’d make a pumpkin, cranberry and pecan stuffing, said Hicks. “I’d pound out a turkey breast to a rolade. My Granny (Betty) Yandle loved it, so I made it.” Because family is most important.
A rolade is a dish cooked or served in the form of a roll, often made from a piece of meat, spread with a soft filling and rolled into a spiral. The stuffing Hicks makes is the filling for the rolade.
Hicks said he’d lay out the turkey breast and put the stuffing on it and roll it tight, then string the rolades together. He said cooking the turkey breast with the stuffing, binding the pieces together, keeps it moist.
Hicks said another favorite of his granny’s is turkey breast, pounded out the same way as before, and wrapped with bacon.
Granny Yandle loves both of them,” said Hicks.
Hicks also said he incorporates a lot of the organizational skills he uses as a restaurateur into his role as family chef.
“I like uniformity,” he said. We had too much stuff before. With him in charge Christmas dinner is simpler, and it is a smoother process.
Hicks is not the only one who does not want a complicated Christmas.
West Columbia Mayor Bobby Horton, and his wife Kay, also like simplicity. For years they would venture to Kershaw, the home of Kay’s mother, for the Christmas meal. And Bobby would cook the bird, or the ham.
“We would cook our ham or turkey the traditional way in the oven,” said Horton. He said that turkey and ham is what he and Kay would take to the family gathering.
Kay said once there, other family members from nieces, nephews, and cousins would bring the rest of the meal. From macaroni and cheese to pumpkin pie and dressing. It is as traditional a Christmas meal as you can get.
The Hortons said the food is a big part of it, but getting together with family members who you love, but see less frequently is the true value of the Christmas season.
“It’s just so good to get together,” said Kay. “It reminds you of all Christmas gatherings throughout the years and how much love there is in the family. It’s a wonderful time, and there is nothing else like this time of the year.”