What does Aunt Alexandra prepare for Christmas dinner in To Kill a Mockingbird?

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gpane eNotes educator| Certified Educator

When Atticus and the children go to Aunt Alexandra's house for Christmas, she lays on a sumptuous feast, described as follows:

...three kinds of meat, summer vegetables from her pantry shelves; peach pickles, two kinds of cake and ambrosia constituted a modest Christmas dinner. Afterwards, the adults made for the livingroom and sat around in a dazed condition. (chapter 9)

Everyone is satiated with the meal, as the reference to the adults being 'dazed' afterwards, shows: they are too full and comfortable to move after sampling Aunt Alexandra's delectable cooking.

The fact that Aunt Alexandra is such a good cook is the only thing that reconciles Scout to going to her house at all, as otherwise she finds her aunt to be altogether too prim and restrictive for her liking. Aunt Alexandra is a very good cook and housekeeper; she epitomizes the ideal housewife who excels at all domestic duties and she wants Scout to be the same. However, Scout has very different ideas: she prefers to be a tomboy and not at all like the prim, feminine, well-behaved little girl that Alexandra would like her to be.

The clash between Scout and her aunt makes for much comedy in the novel, particularly in the latter stages when Alexandra comes to stay at Atticus's house with the idea of providing the growing Scout with what she sees as some much-needed feminine influence. She has good intentions, but she cannot understand Scout and Scout cannot understand her. 

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To Kill a Mockingbird

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