Pepper Pot Day commemorates the creation of thick, spicy pepper pot soup, which was served to the Continental Army during the cold, harsh winter of 1777-1778. Pepper pot soup was first made on Dec. 29, 1777.

According to the legend, during the Revolutionary War, the Continental Army was camped at Valley Forge. The winter was cold and harsh, and conditions were deplorable. Food was often scarce. George Washington asked his army’s chef to prepare a meal for the army that would both warm them and boost their morale.

The chef found scraps of tripe, small bits of meat and some peppercorn. He mixed this in with some other ingredients, and created pepper pot soup, also known as “Philadelphia pepper pot soup.” The hot and somewhat spicy soup was well received by the troops. It was called “the soup that won the war.”

Celebrate Pepper Pot Day by making some pepper pot soup for the family. I’m sure a recipe can be found in the older cookbooks or on the Internet. However, please note, while tripe was a main ingredient of this soup, you can substitute with chicken or beef. Well, there you have it: a nice warming soup served to our ancestors that helped our nation to become the greatest in the world. Who would have thought?

And now that you have an idea for dinner tonight, what are your plans for New Year’s Eve? Whoa, Whoa, Whoa! Before we get into that discussion, how were your Christmas Eve and Christmas Day?

Our Christmas Eve was quiet with dinner with family members who were not able to attend our get-together on Christmas Day. We enjoyed takeout from an Elk Grove Italian restaurant and, of course, Christmas cookies for dessert.

Christmas Day went by too fast. We had lots of food, laughter and, of course, more Christmas cookies and candy. A few tears were shed (mostly by me). To explain, my children and grandchildren compete every year to see whose gift will make Grandma tear up. I am a sentimental weeper.

Grace won this year with a bag of fresh coffee beans, my favorite gingerbread flavoring, and what got to me — a coffee mug with the word “Grandmother” printed on one side and on the opposite side. “In addition to being ‘Grand’ we think you are really great!” is printed. Now what Grandma wouldn’t tear up?

We played the stealing game and, as usual, at the end of game, trades were made. Good memories were made.

Back to New Year’s Eve — do you stay home or go out? If you haven’t made your reservations for a restaurant party venue, you may want to get on that. I am sure they are filling up fast. But, of course, there is always takeout from your favorite restaurant, but haven’t you had enough of takeout due to the pandemic?

However, you do have time to make a trip to the grocery store to purchase substantial amounts of snacks and junk food, because I am sure there are no more Christmas leftovers, and you can only eat so much pepper pot soup before you have had enough.

Make sure you buy enough food for New Year’s Day. You never know who may stop by to wish you well. It is always a good idea to have some goodies on hand to share. Don always makes Chinese chicken wings on New Year’s Day. His mom and dad took a Chinese cooking class way back in the 1970s and 1980s, and one of the recipes was for an appetizer of chicken wings, and they are the best.

So, although it is good luck to eat black-eyed peas and ham hocks on New Year’s Day, our family partakes of this chicken wing appetizer to add an extra sprinkle of good luck for the New Year. That being said, may I say, from my home to yours: I wish you and your family a blessed 2022.

Recipe of the day: Deviled Eggs

Flower of the Day: Paper Whites

Oh, and by the way, there are 367 shopping days until Christmas 2022.

Dates to remember:

Dec. 31 – New Year’s Eve

Jan. 1 – New Year’s Day

Jan. 3 – First day of school for 2022

Jan. 17 – Martin Luther King Day

Until next year, next week: Be strong, be courageous and make a memory.