This year the Enlightened Housewife is confronted by a unique challenge. How to cater for the traditions encompassed (that’s wordy) by three cultures. (“Encompassed”. ¬†Sounds like the state of my wallet before I started Christmas shopping this year. As in. My wallet encompassed a lot of money before I was exposed to the terribly effective marketing processes by the major American Merchants.
To wit, Macy’s flyers came through the mailbox almost daily. In the last two weeks we had a Last Minute Sale. Then a final sale. Then a Last Second Sale!!
So Philip our German Au Pair and I were talking about the different ways of celebrating Christmas around the world. Philip is used to celebrating Christmas Eve. In and aound his village,big hot dinner is Raclette which his family comes together to celebrate.
“The word “raclette” comes from the French word “to scrape.” Raclette makes up a simple meal that was enjoyed by shepherds in the fields. They would boil up some potatoes, and heat a stone and melt a bit of the raclette cheese on the hot stone. Once melted, the cheese was scraped off and served on top of the potatoes. Raclette has a long history and has been mentioned in medieval writings.”
The German tradition is to have the heated grill in the middle of the dining table and everyone takes their own plate or pan to cook a selection of meats, veges and cheese! Yum! The gift giving is on Christmas Eve. And get this folks! Santa visits the young children in person! Knocks on the door Christmas Eve and hands out gifts to all the young children. I look at him amazed! “How the fuck does Santa take time out of his busy schedule to personally visit the children in your village?” And the Villages around, he says,” like it’s the most normal thing in the world.
So far,So Great. Germany celebrates on Christmas Eve and we have a young gentleman from Germany, his first Christmas away from home and now I’m¬†eager to make sure there’s not too much of a disconnect to knock him into homesickness. “We’ll have our hot dinner Christmas Eve to celebrate for Philip I tell the Master of the Domain. Hubby. He looks resigned. “That just means we’ll have all the cooking and preparation for big meals two days in a row”, he says. “I know right!” I bounce.
The Kiwi tradition for a meal is a combo of a hot meal, seafood and grilling (barbecuing) And anything in between. Cooked and devoured with plates on knees or dressed up sitting around a dining table. Which makes Absolutely No Sense given New Zealand celebrates Christmas in Summer. But dress up we must given our Commonwealth ties:
So. We subsequent to much forelock tugging, we plan our hot meal for Christmas Eve:
Roast Pork with Sage and Fennel
Roast Chicken with Tarragon Mustard and Chive Butter Glaze.
Squash Casserole. (This is a testimony to the American element of our Christmas. (Squash, Shopping and Starbucks)
Roast Fennel Bulb and Red Onion
Steamed Fresh Vegetables.
Italian Seasoned Stuffing.
Recipes¬†and photos to follow. I will say the roast meat was amazing. I’d cooked roast lamb three nights ahead and left the fat and juices in the pan. When it came to cook the pork I fired up the oven to temp (415′ for 25 minutes then back down to 350′ for three hours. I threw the pork in on the dirty pan. The pork was flavored with a cumin/black pepper rub and sprinkled with Mustard seed and Coriander seed.
The chicken went in 1 hour and fifty minutes out. A mustard chive and tarragon mix to baste while cooking. The fat from the lamb cooked the pork to a state of tenderness and with a flavorsome crust that you can’t get with a pan scrubbed clean.
Only one more day until the next shopping day: