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An American Christmas

Consumer Time

An American Christmas

Dec 21 1946 





MRS. KONCHER, from Australia

MRS. HARDIN, from the Philippines

MRS. FRY, from France




DATE: December 21, 1946 


TIME: 12:15-12:30 PM EST 




ANNCR: During the next fifteen minutes, the National Broadcasting Company and its affiliated independent stations make their facilities available for the presentation of CONSUMER TIME, by the U. S. Department of Agriculture. And here are your inquiring consumers...Mrs. Freyman and Johnny.. 

FREYMAN: Merry Christmas, Johnny. 

JOHN: The season's greetings to you, Mrs. Freyman. 

FREYMAN: And a warm welcome to our special guests today...three brides of American G.I.'s...one from Australia... 

JOHN: One from the Philippines.

FREYMAN: And one from France. They're all spending their first Christmas in America this year. 

JOHN: It's certainly interesting for us to meet and talk with these girls. 

FREYMAN: And from what I've heard...a lot of people around the country have found it interesting too. Reports from the U. S. Department of Agriculture's home demonstration agents and FHA home supervisors tell of get acquainted parties for war brides from other countries. 

JOHN: How about all those nutrition classes so these girls can learn to shop and cook the American way? 

FREYMAN: Yes, lots of people are trying to make them feel at home. And we on CONSUMER TIME want to do our bit. So we thought we'd help our guests today to plan their first Christmas dinner here in America...as well as give American homemakers some tips on what will be available for the holiday menu. 

JOHN: Incidentally...I want to hear about Christmas in other countries too. 

FREYMAN: Then let's start with Mrs. Jean Koncher...an Australian by birth...an American by marriage. 

JOHN: Welcome to CONSUMER TIME, Mrs. Koncher. 

KONCHER: Thank you, Johnny. 

FREYMAN: Mrs. Koncher...what's Christmas like in Australia? 

KONCHER: Well, in the first place Christmas comes during our summer...and it's really quite warm.

JOHN: (MOCK ASTONISHMENT) No snow at Christmas? 

KONCHER: As a matter of fact....I've never even seen snow. I'm looking forward to it. 

FREYMAN: Why are you so shocked...Johnny? There are plenty of places in our own country that never have any snow. 

JOHN: Yes but Christmas cards...and all... 

FREYMAN: We'd better get back to Christmas in Australia. I want to hear more about it. 

KONCHER: Since the weather is warm...one of the things almost everybody does on Christmas day is go down to the seashore. We pack the remains of the Christmas dinner for a picnic supper. The whole family goes and we have a jolly time until about ten o'clock at night. 

JOHN: Sounds swell...like a fourth of July picnic. 

FREYMAN: What food usually makes up the Christmas picnic supper? 

KONCHER: Usually cold turkey...and cold sliced ham..... 

FREYMAN: Then I gather those are the main courses at the big Christmas dinner at noon in Australia? 

KONCHER: Yes they are. 

JOHN: Both turkey and ham at one meal...that's wonderful. 

FREYMAN: Mrs. Koncher, could you fill us in on the rest of the Christmas dinner menu? 

KONCHER: First we'd have some cold juice...like tomato juice. Then the hot turkey and cold ham...roast potatoes...a couple of green vegetables, perhaps cauliflower...with a parsley sauce...sometimes candied sweet potatoes. Really about five vegetables besides the salad. 

FREYMAN: It's pretty much like an American Christmas dinner so far. 

KONCHER: And since it's summer...the beverages are usually iced tea or beer. For dessert we have nuts and candy and of course plum pudding with a lighted brandy sauce. 

JOHN: Every Christmas I promise myself I'll leave room for the plum pudding...but generally...oh well. 

KONCHER: Maybe you need the inducement of some money hidden in the Christmas pudding. 

JOHN: Is that an Australian custom? 

KONCHER: Oh yes. It's baked right in, you know...three pence and six pence. Sometimes we put in little trinkets or charms. And the lucky person gets the piece of pudding with the prize in it. My husband really got a big kick out of it. 

FREYMAN: Well it's a new and interesting idea to most of us....What else can you tell us about Christmas in Australia, Mrs. Koncher? 

KONCHER: The day after Christmas is Boxing Day...and that's a holiday too. 

JOHN: I always thought there should be an extra day...to recover from the Christmas dinner. 

FREYMAN: Boxing Day...it's an odd name. Does it have any special significance? 

KONCHER: Originally the day after Christmas was set aside in Australia for remembering the trades people the family dealt with all year long. 

JOHN: You mean the butcher, the baker.... 

KONCHER: That's right...and the postman and milkman...everybody would get a Christmas box. 

FREYMAN: And so the name Boxing Day. 

KONCHER: Yes...and Boxing Day is a lot of fun too. Christmas Day you usually spend with the family. But Boxing Day is for friends...and so there are organized picnics and that kind of thing. 

FREYMAN: A summertime Christmas in Australia sounds very jolly. 

JOHN: Say, Mrs. Koncher, are you going to cook your first Christmas dinner in America for your husband? 

KONCHER: Yes I plan to. 

FREYMAN: I don't think you'll have any trouble duplicating a typical Australian Christmas dinner. I've checked up on supplies...and almost every vegetable you mentioned is pretty plentiful across the country right now. 

KONCHER: The turkeys in the market seem rather big though....for just the two of us.

FREYMAN: Well there are more baking chickens on the market now....if you'd rather stuff and roast one of them. But Mrs. Koncher...did you know that you can stuff half a large young turkey and do it effectively? 

KONCHER: Half a turkey would he just right for our small family. 

JOHN: Well, Mrs. Freyman...here's your chance to give our guests and listeners some good pre-Christmas dinner tips. How do you stuff half a turkey? 

FREYMAN: Well, after your half turkey is cleaned, tie the leg to the tail. Sew the neck skin and breast skin together to form a pocket. Then you salt the body cavity and pack it loosely with stuffing. 

KONCHER: But how do you keep the stuffing from falling out? 

JOHN: That's what I want to know too. 

FREYMAN: Merely by cutting a piece of heavy greased paper...preferably parchment paper to fit over the body cavity of the turkey. Then fasten it over the stuffing by lacing wrapping cord back and forth across the paper. You have to catch the skin on each side and pull it up to cover the edge of the paper. 

JOHN: Now that is ingenious. 

FREYMAN: Incidentally, you can leave the paper on while you're serving the turkey. 

JOHN: How do you get the stuffing out then? 

FREYMAN: Well, when you cut off the drumstick, you have an opening to the stuffing. 

JOHN: Think you can handle half a turkey, Mrs. Koncher? 

KONCHER: I'm going to try anyway. 

FREYMAN: Fine. And good luck to your first American Christmas dinner, Mrs. Jean Koncher of Australia. 

JOHN: And thanks for being with us today. Now...how about introducing our second guest. 

FREYMAN: All right. She's Mrs. Rebecca Hardin who just five months ago came from the Philippine Islands to join her G. I. husband.

JOHN: Let's see Mrs. Hardin...the Philippine Islands have a warm climate. So I was wondering if you have the kind of evergreen Christmas trees that we do. 

HARDIN: No we don't. But we do trim our own trees so that they resemble your Christmas trees...with the short branches coming to a point on top. And the longer branches on the bottom. 

FREYMAN: And do you decorate them? 

HARDIN: Oh yes...we decorate them with gay bulbs and papers. And of course the gifts are piled underneath the tree. 

JOHN: Incidentally, when do you open your Christmas gifts in the 

Philippines...after breakfast on Christmas morning? 

HARDIN: No we usually wait until after Christmas dinner. 

FREYMAN: How about the Christmas stockings? 

HARDIN: Children in the Philippines don't hang up stockings. But we do have Christmas programs and dramas in the schools and churches. 

JOHN: How about Santa Claus...are the Philippine Islands on his route? 

HARDIN: Yes indeed. We have a Santa Claus with his red suit and white beard. The young boys and men dress up like him. And sometimes we have some very warm Santa Clauses...because the weather is so warm. 

JOHN: I'll bet they're uncomfortable...but jolly, nevertheless. 

FREYMAN: Do you have any special Christmas eve celebration in the 

Philippines, Mrs. Hardin? 

HARDIN: Yes...my husband says you have the same here. The older children and the grownups walk from house to house singing Christmas carols. And of course we feed them or give them money. 

JOHN: Mrs. Hardin...I'm anxious to know about Christmas dinner in the Philippines. 

FREYMAN: Me too. Can you tell us what's on the menu? 

HARDIN: The main dish is roast pig...done to a turn. Then we have Philippino cakes...they're rice cakes. We have about the same vegetables you have here. 

JOHN: How about fruit? 

HARDIN: Many kinds of fruit grow in the Philippines. We have lots and lots of coconut. And usually around Christmas time we import small oranges. The wild oranges grow as big as the head. 

FREYMAN: Think of all that vitamin C in one package. 

HARDIN: Then we import nuts too for Christmas. 

JOHN: Mrs. Hardin...has agriculture in the Philippine Islands recovered any from the war? 

HARDIN: Yes Johnny...quite a bit. We're lucky that we can grow crops almost all year round. So now the Philippine Islands raise enough food to be self-supporting...except for rice. We'll have to import that for another year or so. 

FREYMAN: Yes...rice is short all over the world. But fortunately here in America we have plenty of potatoes. 

JOHN: I can tell what you're thinking, Mrs. Freyman. 


JOHN: That a mashed potato stuffing makes a swell partner for the Christmas turkey or chicken. 

FREYMAN: That's right. And I recommend mashed potatoes to anybody who wants a delicious...but thrifty...stuffing. 

JOHN: Mrs. Hardin...are you planning to cook your first Christmas dinner in America yourself? 

HARDIN: Yes I am. 

FREYMAN: Is there anything special about the dinner that worries you? 

HARDIN: I don't think so. I think it is easy to shop here. You have the super markets with everything in one store...and every item has a price marked on it. It's easy. But there is one thing I'd like to ask about the turkey. 

JOHN: Sure thing...Mrs. Freyman knows all the answers. 

FREYMAN: Well, I'll try to answer it anyhow. 

HARDIN: I was wondering how long you cook half a turkey? 

FREYMAN: It depends on the weight. But if your half turkey weighs from seven to nine pounds...you should figure on four and a half to five hours to roast it. 

HARDIN: How hot should the oven be? 

FREYMAN: Three hundred degrees Fahrenheit. Incidentally the turkey should roast on a rack in a shallow pan. And you don't need any cover or water. But remember to brush it with melted fat and baste with drippings several times during roasting.

HARDIN: Thank you. I'm going to cook half a turkey too. 

JOHN: Good...I'll bet it comes out swell. And thanks a lot Mrs. Rebecca Hardin, from the Philippine Islands for visiting CONSUMER TIME today. 

FREYMAN: And now from another part of the world comes our third guest. She's Mrs. Andree Fry...all the way from Paris, France. 

JOHN: Welcome to CONSUMER TIME, Mrs. Fry. And what's Christmas like in France? 

FRY: Christmas in France is really more for the children than the grownups. The children put their shoes in front of the fireplace on Christmas eve and Pere Noel...Father Christmas, fills them with candy. He brings them toys too. 

FREYMAN: Does Father Christmas look like our Santa Claus? 

FRY: I think so...He wears a red suit and has a white beard. 

JOHN: That's the old boy. I guess he shows up in every country. 

FREYMAN: Do you have Christmas trees in France? 

FRY: Oh yes...all lit up. That's when the older folks have the fun...on Christmas eve when it's time to decorate the tree. "Reveilloner" we call it..."to stay up late." 

JOHN: Is that when you put up the mistletoe too? 

FRY: In France mistletoe seems to go more with the First of January feast....We stay up late then too and drink Champagne at midnight. 

FREYMAN: Like our New Year's eve celebration, Johnny. 

JOHN: But the mistletoe custom is the same...I hope. 

FRY: You mean...kissing under the mistletoe? Oh yes...that's the same. And some people do hang mistletoe at Christmas too, I think. 

FREYMAN: Don't worry, Johnny....I think that custom is popular in most countries. 

FRY: Incidentally, Johnny, you'll be glad to know we have snow in France...although usually not in the southern part. 

JOHN: Good...I like snow with my Christmas. Gives me more of an appetite...then I can really do justice to my Christmas dinner. 

FREYMAN: Which brings us to that important question...What's Christmas dinner like in France, Mrs. Fry? 

FRY: We have turkey too...with a chestnut stuffing. Sometimes goose is the main course at the Christmas dinner. Then we have vegetables like you do. Only we serve and eat them separately...not all mixed up together. 

FREYMAN: How about those famous French casseroles, though? Aren't all the ingredients blended together? 

FRY: Yes...casseroles are different. But other dishes are served separately. 

JOHN: Well, Mrs. Fry, what else goes with a French Christmas dinner besides turkey and vegetables? 

FRY: There is salad. And before the dessert comes cheese and crackers. And my family's Christmas dinner dessert was always English plum pudding...with a blazing brandy sauce. You see my mother is English. 

JOHN: Then you really had quite an international Christmas dinner at home. 

FREYMAN: What do other French families serve for dessert in place of the plum pudding? 

FRY: Christmas yule logs. 

JOHN: Yule logs! Aren't they a little...ah, hard on the teeth? 

FRY: No...these are little cakes...very delicious. They're made from angel food rolled up with a coffee cream filling and covered with chocolate icing. So they look like little yule logs. 

FREYMAN: And they sound perfectly scrumptious. 

FRY: Yes...they are very good. Oh incidentally did I tell you that in France we also have a two day Christmas holiday. 

JOHN: Is that right? Any special reason for the extra day? 

FRY: Not that I know of...unless it's because people are tired. 

JOHN: Like me...from eating too much. 

FREYMAN: Do you find it hard shopping and cooking here in America, Mrs. Fry? 

FRY: No, I think it's very easy. Especially with the canned foods and the frozen foods. You don't have to prepare them, and they only take a few minutes to cook. 

FREYMAN: Can you buy frozen fruits and vegetables in France? 

FRY: You couldn't when I left France last March. Before the war they had started to sell dehydrated vegetables. But there's one fresh vegetable we had in France I can't seem to find here.

JOHN: What's that? 

FRY: We call it "echelot"...it's like an onion, only stronger. 

JOHN: Maybe it's like our shallott. 

FREYMAN: Or our scallions...or spring onions, as they're sometimes called. 

FEY: Well, I'll keep looking for them. 

JOHN: What do you use them in particularly, Mrs. Fry? 

FRY: Oh lots of things...meat with sauces especially. And there is one more thing I do miss for cooking....and that's herbs. You have some, but not many. So I think I will plant some in my garden. 

FREYMAN: That's a fine idea. Many people do that....In fact some people grow a small amount of herbs in window boxes. 

JOHN: Mrs. Fry, are you planning to cook Christmas dinner this year? 

FRY: No, we are going to spend my first Christmas in America with my in laws in West Virginia. But I think I'll try a half a turkey for the two of us soon. 

JOHN: Swell...and I know it will be really tasty. Thanks a lot Mrs. Fry for visiting CONSUMER TIME today and telling us about Christmas in France. 

FREYMAN: Yes...thanks to all three of our guests...Mrs. Fry from France...Mrs. Hardin from the Philippines...and Mrs. Koncher from Australia. We hope your first Christmas in America...in fact all your Christmases in America will be merry ones. 

JOHN: Mrs. Freyman doesn't it strike you from what our guests said today...that Christmas is about the same in every country? The customs may vary slightly...but basically they're the same. 

FREYMAN: Yes Johnny...the climates are a little different...and I think that affects the customs. 

JOHN: But whether you spend Christmas on a sunny beach or in a cold city... the people and the spirit of good will are the same. 

FREYMAN: Makes me think of that lovely Christmas Carol by Phillips Brooks... 

"Christmas in lands of the fir-tree and pine, 

Christmas in lands of the palm-tree and vine; 

Christmas where snow-peaks stand solemn and white, 

Christmas where corn-fields lie sunny and bright. 

Everywhere, everywhere, Christmas tonight". 


JOHN: And now here's our announcer Holly Wright to tell you what's on CONSUMER TIME next Saturday. 

WRIGHT: Friends, next week we're going to wind up the year with some New Year's resolutions that will help you plan nutritious well balanced meals for the family. We know you'll find it interesting...especially if yours is a family with young children. We'll emphasize changing the food plan to fit changing food supplies and prices. So don't forget to tune in. And now here are Mrs. Freyman and Johnny again. 

FREYMAN: Just to wish all our listeners a Merry Christmas. 

JOHN: Merry Christmas everybody...hope you'll be with us next week for another edition of 




ANNCR: CONSUMER TIME, written by Eleanor Miller and directed by Frederick Schweikher is presented by the U. S. Department of Agriculture, through the facilities of the National Broadcasting Company and its affiliated independent stations. It comes to you from Washington, D. C. 

This is NBC, the National Broadcasting Company.