Christmas gifts from the kitchen

Published 11:59 am Saturday, December 7, 2019

Always appreciated at Christmastime are special food gifts. Spiced tea, pickles and special sauces are selected.

Hot Spiced Tea, Friendship Tea or Russian Tea

It’s not really Russian. The recipe comes from church and community cookbooks, writes Kat Kinsman at

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Post World War II, writes Kinsman, orange juiced, clove infused “Russian tea” found its way into community cookbooks. The recipe changed when Tang was introduced and then Lipton found the formula for instant iced tea. The recipe is found in church/community cookbooks dating back to 1970s.

Kinsman first tasted the spiced tea at a Christmas Eve Moravian Lovefeast. She offers two recipes: one the instant mix, suitable for gift giving, and the other “made from scratch.”

Instant Russian Tea

From Recipes from Our Heart, Advent Moravian Church—Winston-Salem


1 18-ounce jar orange Tang

1¼ cup sugar

½ cup instant tea with lemon, unsweetened

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground cloves

What to Do: Mix. Store in jar. To serve use 2 heaping tablespoons tea mixture in 1 cup hot water.

Russian Tea

Recipes from Our Heart, Advent Moravian Church—Winston-Salem


2 tablespoons tea

1 tablespoon whole cloves

2 cups sugar

1 large can orange juice

1 large can pineapple juice

1 small can frozen lemonade

15-18 cups water

What to Do

Steep tea and strain into large container. Put cloves in tea ball or tie in a piece of cloth and put in large container with the rest of the ingredients. Bring to a boil. This may be stored in the refrigerator when cool, then heated as needed.


Clare Turner’s Cucumber Delight Pickles




2 to 3 large NC cucumbers, sliced

1 medium yellow onion

1 clove garlic per jar or 2 cloves in the bowl

1 piece fresh dill or 1 teaspoon dill weed or dill seed per jar or double for the bowl

Bring to a boil:

2 cups white vinegar

2 cups water

1 cup sugar

3 tablespoons salt

What to Do


In 2 quart or 4 pint jars or a large bowl alternate the layers of cucumber and onion, then add the garlic and dill.

Bring to a boil:

Cool liquid completely and pour over the cucumber and onion mixture.

Refrigerate for three days before eating. These will keep in the refrigerator for 3 weeks.


Icebox Pickles

By Gene Steelman

The Kitchen Connection

St. Andrew’s By-the-Sea Episcopal Church Women, 1987


6 cups cucumbers, thin sliced

6 small onions, thin sliced

1 green pepper, chopped

1 sweet red pepper, copped

1 heaping tablespoon plain salt

1 cup sugar

1 cup vinegar

1 teaspoon celery seed

What to do

Sprinkle salt over vegetables and allow to stand for 3 hours. Drain off juice and discard. Pack vegetables in jars or plastic containers. Make a syrup of the sugar, vinegar and celery seed. Pour over vegetables, cover and store in refrigerator. Keeps for several months.


Mike’s Just Right Sauce

(for grilled meats)

By Billie Swain

Mike is Billie Swain’s son.

Keeping the Faith

Hatteras United Methodist Church, 2009


2 cups apple cider vinegar

1½ cup ketchup

1 cup brown sugar

1 cup water

1 tablespoon hot sauce

2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon black pepper

2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon crushed red pepper

1 teaspoon onion powder

2 teaspoon light corn syrup

1 teaspoon garlic powder

What to Do

Mix all ingredients together. Brush on chicken or pork at the end of its cooking time. Put in bowl to serve as sauce with the meat. Put leftover in a bottle or plastic container with lid.


Mike’s Sauce

(For chicken wings)

By Billie Swain

Mike is Billie Swain’s son.

Keeping the Faith

Hatteras United Methodist Church, 2009


1 cup of Texas Pete

½ stick butter

2 teaspoon honey

What to Do

Put ingredients in a sauce pan. Bring to a boil. After cooking wings (by grilling, baking or frying) dip in sauce and serve.



Twice-Baked Sweet Potatoes

Turnip Root and Green Gratin