Oyster stew and family traditions

Every family has traditions especially around the holidays, I thought I would share mine. As a child we use to go Winston-Salem on Christmas Eve and have a Moravian love feast. For those of you who don’t know what that means a quick history lesson. The Moravians came to America when it was first forming and settled in Winston-Salem North Carolina, similar to Quakers in Pennsylvania. There is even a part of town called Old Salem which has people dress in period costumes and cobble streets to demonstrate what it was like when they first settled. The love feast is really just black coffee and bread with a “M” on the top. My great grandfather started having family come to church and then we would exchange presents at his house. The actual church program is the same every year to the extent that they take your program when you leave, save it and give it to you the next year complete with coffee stains. I love listening to the kids sing Morning Star always a highlight for me. It always ends with beeswax candles passed out with red ribbon there is a significance for it but I never remember why it is red.

My husband also has fond memories with Moravians and Christmas. His ancestors were Moravian and some are even buried at Old Salem. His mom and sister always make Moravian cookies around this time of year. I personally love the Moravian sugar cake. I highly suggest going to Dewey’s bakery to get any kind of Moravian baked goodie.


Another huge tradition for my family is to meet up for Oyster Stew. There is no particular day that we do this just sometime between October and March. (According to my great grandfather that is when they are in season and the best) All the people married into the family don’t like it (my dad was the exception) but if you are born into the family you love it. The receipe is super simple: about a gallon of milk, 2-3 sticks of butter, oysters; heat on low. The interesting thing is what we do with it once it is in our own individual bowls. While there are those out there that eat oyster stew they probably don’t eat it like we do. We add ketchup to it, some like it to be a light pink others like me want it to be more red. We also add a ton of crackers to the extent that its half to one sleeve of saltines per person per bowl.

There are some other family traditions that we do that I will put in other posts. For now share some of your family traditions in the comments below.