I have the squash, apple, pecan, and cranberry bake ready to go into the oven. I have Aunt Tillie Potatoes ready, too. I have chopped the veggies and am pretty ready for Christmas Eve feasting.

Here is the importance of family stories. We have no Aunt Tillie. What we have is a family story instead.

I do have an Aunt Kathy. She always had wonderful things to serve when we went back to Illinois at Christmas time. I remember some dip for Fritos that was delicious and is just called Aunt Kathy’s dip and she made these wonderful cheesy potatoes that we called Aunt Kathy’s potatoes. We all knew what those were so whatever the official name was supposed to be was totally unnecessary for communication within the family.

Many, many years ago, Cheri worked at a bank. She was a teller there. They had a potluck dinner and she brought Aunt Kathy’s potatoes to share. Everybody loved them and they disappeared quickly. Of course, as with most businesses, the help likes to party at lunchtime. So there were future potluck dinners.

Another teller asked Cheri to bring Aunt Tillie’s potatoes. Cheri had no idea what she was talking about and thought it was some special recipe. When she asked where she could find this recipe, the coworker was puzzled. She said they were the potatoes she brought to the last potluck.

And so, the potatoes were renamed. They are officially now Aunt Tillie’s potatoes although we know no Aunt Tillie. They remain delicious although I no longer add the stick of butter to them. If you would like to make some Aunt Tillie potatoes, you can.

2# frozen hash browns, thawed ½ to 1 hour
1 cup chopped onions
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 pint sour cream
1 stick margarine
8 ounces grated cheddar cheese

Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl and place in a greased 9 x 13 pan. Cook 45 minutes to 1 hour at 375⁰ until golden brown. (It’s easier to mix together the thawed potatoes, onions, and cheese before adding mixed together sour cream and soup. If the dry and then wet ingredients are mixed separately first, they mix together better without pockets of unmixed stuff showing up in the bake. Adding the butter/margarine made it too much for us.)

They are simply delicious and go well with ham, which is our main entrée for the feast. And they make us smile as we remember the story each time we make them.

May your holiday be merry and bright. Enjoy your meal. Tell some family stories to keep the traditions alive. Share your history with the next generations.

Merry Christmas.

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