This is the first time in memory I did not hold some sort of meal on Christmas with my friends. Usually I cook a turkey, if I can find one, otherwise chickens to stuff. In Canada many families eat turkey on Christmas, so it is a bit of home when we are living so far away and in another culture. My students remind me of this every Chusok when they are actually surprised because they expect me to travel for 24 hours from Jeonju to my hometown and my reaction is to laugh because it is not a holiday in my country, so I feel no longing for home or loneliness at that time. And so I am not surprised that they do not feel the same way about Christmas that I do. Neither do the Americans. For them,Thanksgiving is the big family holiday whereas in Canada and Britain we have the 25th and the 26th, Boxing Day, as holidays so families get together then. All schools and many companies close between Christmas and New Year's so we have opportunities to travel from one house to another or to do family things together. Plus most places are closed Christmas Eve at about 5pm and on the 25th and 26th so there is no where to go anyway. Since in Korea the25th is mostly a day for couples, it is hard for my students to understand my longings,but the ones invitedto my house reap the benefits of great Christmas food.
This year Allison offered to have Christmas at her house. She has been on sabbatical this semester and hasn't had as much contact with people this. Plus her house is warmer and cleaner than mine. Since she was doing the turkey, I offered to prepare a raw vegetable plate and to do desserts. We also had a Chistmas party in Dongtan at another foreign couple friends' place two days earlier so I was cooking up a storm. I made marzipan, which is floured almonds and sugar. I made them in the shape of potatoes and I think I got the flavour spot on. I made the usual shortbread cookies with rice flour. And when I was in Seoul last month I bought chocolate molds. So I used the Christmas mold to reshape chocolates into Christmas shapes. And then I made cherry delight with less than one third the usual sugar and it tasted just as great. I brought all this food to Dongtan where it was eaten up. I made the cherry delight for Christmas, as well as two pies, one apple and one lemon. They were both delicious. I let Eunha take the leftover desserts home at the end of the evening.
I had enough pie dough left over to make butter tarts on Thursday, another Canadian food. I hadn't had homemade tarts in over 10 years. I had been craving them. I know, I have diabetes so I shouldn't be eating these foods but I was careful with portions and how much sugar I used so my blood sugar levels were safe. And it is just for Christmas, right? Except Monday is my birthday so Christmas runs a little longer for me than most. But I promise to behave and I have still munched on the vegetables a lot. I hope you had a wonderful Christmas and celebrate a bright and happy New Year.