Tonight we had our family Christmas dinner, as we have for years now, on Christmas Eve. We almost had it on Christmas, but at the last minute my mother couldn’t make it (she’s been taking care of the local priests on Christmas evening for years now, and they didn’t have anybody else to help them), so it was Christmas Eve again.
This is the second year we’ve hosted Christmas dinner at our house, with our family’s traditional feast of Peking Duck. This is a roast duck that you eat by stripping off the skin and meat, rolling it in a little steamed crepe-style wrap, with sweet Hoi Sin sauce and a sprig of green onion (which I opt out of). It’s an incredible taste mixture of sweet, chewy carb, and roasted duck (a rather fatty bird with loads more flavour than turkey or chicken). It is my favorite meal in the world, and we’ve been eating it at Christmas for as long as I can remember.
The pancakes are made a few days ahead of time, and the whole family would get involved. The “man” of the house would do the kneading and rolling, and cutting them up with our special cookie cutter that has been around since I was a child. The rest of us would paste two rounds together with a brush of sesame oil, then pass it back to the man to roll as thin as possible. Then we’d drop it in a very hot and dry cast-iron pan, and the heat of the oil separates the two rolled-together pancakes, and voila! paper thin pancakes. It used to be my stepfather who rolled them. Then when he got sick with cancer my brother took over. It was only 3 years after stepdad died that my brother also died.
In 2002, when DH and I moved back to our home town, DH was taught the pancake technique. This is now the third Christmas we’ve spent here where DH has been the “roller”. Last night, DD joined in with the pancake making, a sight which really warmed my heart. With Mum celebrating her second Christmas in her new condo (which she moved into from our house of 23 years) without making the duck, the torch is offically passed on to my family now. Mum comes here, bearing loads of supplies of course, but the meal is made here and eaten here. It’s a very interactive meal, both in the preparation and the eating, and it was so special for me to have all of us together, here in my home, celebrating the holiday this way.
So Merry Christmas, whatever Christmas means to all of you. For me, its all about family, tradition, and warming up winter. Peace and love are nice, too. 🙂