Saturday, December 27, 2008


This Christmas was fun!

First I ran around Atlanta, freezing (since I had no time to go to storage and retrieve my winter clothes), shopping for ethnic food - both Swedish and Polish... and for American Christmas Day turkey dinner, too.... since my daughter wanted to have all these traditions observed during the holidays.

Both in Poland and Sweden the biggest, most important, traditional feast is a Christmas Eve dinner:

in Poland a "fasting" (here fasting just meaning: no meat) feast of seven ... no, not seven fishes, as is the tradistion in Italy, but seven...or nine... or even twelve different dishes (most of them fish, though), which you begin to consume when a first star is spotted in the sky .

Don't worry about what to do, when the sky is overcats: someone will eventually get hungry enough and insist he spotted a star... and everybody will accept that gratefully.

In Sweden a traditional Christmas eve dinner is a Julbord, a Christmas smorgoasbord.... with all sorts of herrings, lax, but also ham, meatballs, sausages, cheeses.

Thus in both Poland and Sweden an overabundance of food, just rather different types of food.Swedish food was far easier to get, thanks to IKEA, which had all sorts of Swedish fare: herrings, crispbreads, cheeses, caviar, Swedish ham, lingonberries, Princess cake...

Polish food was nearly impossible to find in Atlanta, so I finally gave up on most traditional Polish Christmas Eve dishes, except for my daughter's favorite:

cabbage ( half fresh cabbage, half sauerkraut) sateueed with porcini mushrooms,

...which , however, she'll get first tomorrow, accompanying a pork roast with plums,
not a pan fried fat fish, as Polish Christmas tradition would demand, since that particular kind of fish was not available even in the World Farmers' Market :-(((

I also had to give up on a traditional Polish dessert, which I love:

a poppy seed sufflet with tropical fruit and whipped cream: trying to buy a pound of poppy seeds in Atlanta could get me suspected of attempting to make opium.... not a particularly appealing prospect.

When I lived in central Texas I could always drop to any of the ethnic Czech bakeries,

order a poppy seed strudel...
and ask to buy a pound of poppy seeds for my sufflet from them. Besides, in Texas, Minnesota and Colorado there were Polish ethnic shops, but there is none in Atlanta. Had I been planning this better I could have ordered everything from Chicago by mail, but I did not.

Next I was preparing all the dishes I could, just as my daughter wished to have them, being in a traditional mood this year, but then I tried really hard not to eat them myself, as nearly all are too fat, too heavy, in short: completely unsuitable for a diabetic.
And a Christmas miracle happened: I lost seven pounds during the Christmas week, surrounded with all that food. If that's no miracle, I don't know what is ;-)!


The way said...

it is looks delicious

Anonymous said...

A Princess Cake? That sounds and looks wonderful (same with the poppyseed torte). Seeing your xmas cat cheered me up and made my day. How did you get that belt on? That is the best photo ever...katrina

Minerva said...

Actually, Ilja, my coworker dressed the cat and made a photo - i was too busy chasing deadlines ;-).
Princess cake tastes heavenly, too ... but it is a summer cake, actually: light and fluffy with all the whipped cream under the marzipan cover. Yumm :-))

zooms said...

would you care to adopt me?

Minerva said...

why, not, zooms, why not?
and, I guess T too?
So that come next holidays I would have to add plum pudding and what else British food you'd want... plus T's Grenadian favorities... but in a bigger company it would be so much easier for me to fake eating! so you are on :-)))

zooms said...

I can pass on British food, can't speak for T, but whatever's on your menu looks great to me. I am not surprised that you lost all that weight though, talk about hard work, I thought you were on holiday?

Minerva said...

I think weather had more to do with loosing weight (I tend to swell in the humid tropics, while here in winter ac makes the air dry). The work was fun... and to see my daughter happy!
BTW I remember having liked plum pudding and kidney pie from my days living in London... some 30 years ago!