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The Spectrum Café Presents the Twelve Days of Christmas


Christmas is a time for celebrating the Advent of Jesus; it is also a time for families to gather around the table and spend time together. As you gather around your table this holiday season, enjoy these stories and recipes from our Spectrum family to yours. Merry Christmas!

The year was 1960, and Darlene was spending Christmas with her boyfriend’s family. There were many presents stacked colorfully under the Christmas tree, but Darlene had her heart set on one gift in particular. When her boyfriend Eldon handed her a rather large package, Darlene tried to hide her disappointment.

She attempted to smile pleasantly as she unwrapped a Pendleton pleated skirt. It was an expensive gift, at least forty-five to fifty dollars–nearly as much as Darlene made for a week of work–but it was not the engagement watch she was hoping for.

At twenty-three years old, Darlene was always the bridesmaid and never the bride. All of her friends had married when they were eighteen-years-old, and Darlene was more than ready to walk down the aisle with the love of her life–if only he would ask!

Eldon drove Darlene home that night after dinner and helped her carry her presents into her house. As they were unpacking everything, Eldon noticed a big present Darlene had not yet opened. Darlene threw it a cursory glance, noted its size, and immediately became uninterested.

“Don’t you want to open it?” Eldon prompted her. “I know you! Why aren’t you more curious?”

Rather than explain to him her lack of interest, Darlene began removing the wrappings. In the large box was a smaller box. When she opened it, there was a smaller box inside of that. Six boxes later, Darlene held up a small, watch-sized box.

“Yes!” she exclaimed, not even waiting to hear the question.

Eldon grinned and they were married three months later in March of 1961.

At the time, Eldon Dickenson was a freshman dentistry student at Loma Linda Dental School. Although money was tight, their first year spent together was full of love, happiness, and many adventures. When Christmas arrived the following year, Darlene was sure to make her signature dish: The Scottish Trifle.

“Eldon liked to cook the dessert, normally,” Darlene said. “It’s funny, since he was studying to be a dentist he was always big on designing sugar-free desserts. It was the quirk in his cooking. My trifle is not sugar-free, but he loved it!”

Darlene has made several adaptations to her recipe throughout the years. For one, she chooses to use packaged vanilla pudding instead of making it homemade. Also, the original recipe calls for fresh fruit, but Darlene couldn’t resist making it in December, and fresh fruit was not always easy to come by in the sixties during the wintertime.  

No matter which version you chose to use, Darlene assures you this trifle will always be a winner! With simple instructions and a short prep time, this is the perfect recipe for beginners in the kitchen.

Scottish Trifle
Active prep time: 25 minutes
Serves: 8 dessert servings

1 pound cake, sliced
2 ¼ oz. vanilla pudding, prepared according to package directions
One 29 oz. can of sliced peaches. (Substitute fresh when available.)
2-3 sliced bananas
2-3 cups of fresh raspberries
1 large Cool Whip  
Layer in trifle bowl starting with sliced pound cake and then pudding, peaches, bananas, raspberries, and Cool Whip.
Repeat layers until bowl is filled, finishing with Cool Whip.
Chill before serving.

Darlene’s Tip:

Dip fresh peaches in orange juice to prevent browning.


Rachel Logan is a writing intern for Spectrum Magazine.

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