Saturday Christmas Eve Surprise!

Somehow it just didn’t seem right to do a post about political turmoil on Christmas Eve, and especially since it’s Saturday and I haven’t done a Saturday Surprise post for several weeks now.  So, let’s combine Christmas Eve and Saturday Surprise into one fun (hopefully) post!

I thought it might be fun to look at some of the Christmas food traditions around the globe. In Portugal, for instance, Christmas means lampreia de ovos, a sugary likeness of a blood-sucking eel-like parasite.  It is a curved, eel-shaped mound of egg yolks, sugar syrup, and almonds that will stare at diners with candied-fruit eyes and a big smile.

Looks pretty friendly and harmless, doesn’t it?  If you’d like to try making one at home, you can find the recipe here. Now, you might be surprised to learn what the Christmas feast in Japan is …

Yep, good ol’ Colonel Sanders Kentucky Fried Chicken, complete with all the trimmings including a side dish of shrimp gratin.  Every year, some 3.6 million Japanese families celebrate Christmas with fried chicken, courtesy of Colonel Sanders. KFC has become such a big deal in Japan that Christmas accounts for roughly a third of the franchise’s annual sales there.

Now in some of the Central European countries, notably the Czech Republic, Poland and Slovakia, they really like their carp for a Christmas treat.  They like it as a savory aspic, a fish soup, or perhaps breaded and fried.  But they don’t just go to the grocery store and purchase a dead fish … oh no!  They catch the fish a few days ahead of time and then keep it alive in the bathtub until they’re ready to cook it!

They swear that giving these bottom-feeders a chance to clear their digestive tracts results in a cleaner flavor profile.  The only real glitch with this method is that you can’t catch feelings for your temporary housepet. In The Carp in the Bathtub, a 1972 children’s book about a Jewish family in New York, two siblings valiantly attempt to save their catch from becoming gefilte fish.

And on to another Christmas food venture … Gingerbread is a holiday favourite, at least in many places.  This year, The Museum of the City of New York invited top bakeries and amateur bakers from across the city to enter Gingerbread NYC: The Great Borough Bake-Off.  Bakers from around the city made gingerbread replicas of famous landmarks in New York City.  I thought you might enjoy seeing a few of them …

Long Island City’s Sans Bakery fashioned the iconic 7 train and Silvercup Studios out of gingerbread

John Kuehn designed a gingerbread version of Manhattan’s Madison Square Park.

Kozlowski used food coloring to paint an edible copy of the classic mural at Madame Sousou’s Cafe in Astoria.

Staten Island’s Bruno’s Bakery reconstructed the borough’s famous ferry as part of its entry.

Bruno’s Bakery, which has been open in Staten Island for 40 years, made the borough’s famous Snug Harbor buildings.

Well, friends, as they say in da history books, “‘Twas the day before Christmas and all through the house, there was clutter enough to scare off a mouse.” I must go bake a pie, make some cranberry sauce, toss some towels in the wash, and whatever else it is that needs to be done around here.  I hope you all are having a fun time with wrapping, baking, etc., and I hope you are staying warm!  The temperature as I write this is 4 below zero here! And that’s farenheit … in celcius, it’s -20°! Luckily, we still have electricity, for many power lines came down in last night’s winds and heavy snowfall.  Also luckily, I don’t have to leave the house today!