Christmas at TransAtlantic Towers isn’t a traditional Dickensian picture. It’s much more a traditional New York Jewish Christmas – Chinese food and a movie(s). But as we are in the UK and not NYC, it’s a homemade Chinese feast rather than take away or a scrumptious selection of dishes at – in my case – Pig Heaven on Second Avenue or Evergreen on First. Your restaurant may vary. We’ll have Chinese-style, sticky spareribs, stir-fry of chicken and oyster mushrooms, fragrant shrimp, fried rice, noodles and sauteed veg. Behold last year’s spread:
Some of the kitchen activity IS given over to a Christmas tradition – in that Dungeekin’s “project salt beef” is underway. This has been part of their family Christmas for decades, cooked by his grandmother and mother before him and a recipe that is, to put it mildly, always evolving. This is a side of beef that, after an 11 day marinade, undergoes a slow (6-8 hours) and low (60C/140F) cook. This is in preparation for Christmas 2 down at Che In-Laws. We do the whole gifts, tree, turkey thing once Sprog has joined us – hence Christmas 2. Lucky boy, Sprog.
As there’s nothing I need to do while this whole Chinese food prep and salt beef cooking is going on, I like to do a bit of leisurely “site” seeing of a foodie nature. It’s a sort of virtual version of that “nice walk” everyone’s Dad seems to suggest over here just after everyone has eaten their own weight in poultry and Brussels sprouts. It’s warmer than going outside (and this year drier) Gets the ol’ taste buds going, the brain cells firing (in view of the annual resolution to blog more) and also keeps me out of Dungeekin’s way. 🙂 So, what have I found this year?
- Cooking with … the hairdryer? Well, it’s NPR so it MUST be legit, right? I can totally see it being useful for s’mores but I hesitate on the whole turkey thing
- Alexia pointed me in the direction of the history of the chocolate chip cookie, and really I don’t know why they make history in school so dry and dusty when clearly there are tastier options to study.
- Thoroughly enjoyed Christmas Around the World over at The Kitchn and found much food for thought (pardon the expression) in 75 Expert Essential for Home Cooks in 2013. I think their definition of essential is more elastic than mine.
- The list-loving Forbes can’t let anything alone and has come up with “What You’ll Eat Next: Food Trends 2014” all of which were things we all saw on the rise over the past several years. So they are both list-loving and late the party. Also – vegetables aren’t a trend. They are a given. Much more fun is the related Huffington Post list, “Food Trends 2014: What’s Coming Up and What’s Passé” – because it includes passé. I love kicking things (even food) when it’s down. That said, I quibble with anyone who says “Out with fried chicken.” I won’t even mention the LUNACY of saying – and forgive me – “Out with bacon.”
- There are – of course – several relevant food observances – Pumpkin Pie Day (Dec 25) though as I have said elsewhere I’m not wholly convinced this was the best choice for Dec 25. There is Candy Cane Day (Dec 26) which is also a puzzlement since by then – you’d think everyone would have had enough. Dec 27 is Fruitcake Day – see earlier comment re candy canes but December is also fruitcake month so I’m even less convinced fruitcake needs an actual DAY. And of course, Dec 30 is Bicarbonate of Soda Day. Two days too early if you ask me. But no one did. So happy bubbles to one and all. 🙂
And I leave you with this, a favorite Christmas time quote of mine:
“Christmas? Christmas means dinner, dinner means death! Death means carnage; Christmas means carnage!” — Ferdinand the Duck in the film ‘Babe‘ (1995)