Admission of Defeat

Oy. This did not go nearly as smoothly as I hoped.

Get it? Cause it's Rocky Road?

Get it? Cause it’s Rocky Road?

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Last year I was unemployed and living in a place I hated. My guess is 25 Days was a special way to escape that. It turned out to be so much fun that I was determined to do it again the following year, but plan ahead so there wasn’t the same scramble.

Obviously I didn’t end up planning.

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Day 3: Carp & Vánoční Rybí Polévka

Christmas in the Czech Republic is bathed in superstition and tradition. The list is long and, amazingly, many Czech families follow most, if not all, the rules. There are some good ones – like the table should be set for an even number of guests because an odd number brings bad luck or death. Or the first person to leave the table will die in the coming year so everyone has to get up at the same time. And my personal favorite, if you fast all day you will see zlaté prasátko, the golden piglet who brings good fortune, on the wall before dinner.

Omg shhhh he's sleeeepin.

Omg shhhh he’s sleeeepin.

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I want to see the golden piglet.

Even though the majority of Czech aren’t actually that religious, they place importance on those superstitions and traditions. Another tradition that seems to have stuck is carp. Traditionally, a Czech Christmas dinner consists of anywhere between 9 and 12 meatless (or supposed to be meatless) courses depending on the area of the country. Like other cultures that eat fish on Christmas, carp is symbolic of the Last Supper. Families that served 12 dishes were invoking Jesus’ 12 apostles.

Om...noms?

Om…noms?

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Day 2: Cola de Mono

Mmmm. Alcoholic beverages. Who doesn’t love an alcoholic beverage, especially on a holiday?

Yuck.

Yuck.

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Me. I don’t like alcoholic beverages.

Me aside, the answer would be most people. Come Christmas you get a lot of creamy, milk-based alcoholic beverages. Eggnog, ponche, rompope, coquito, etc. Chile has one too.

Cola de mono.

Cola de mono.

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Since Chile is a largely Catholic country, Christmas holds a special place on the calendar. It’s a time to get together with friends and family, eat, drink, and generally celebrate. The only equivalents would be New Year’s Day and September 18th (Chilean Independence Day). Since Christmas falls during the height of summer, the holiday has been adapted to fit the climate and culture of Chile.

Let me voice some of the obvious questions that are running through your mind right now.

Do Chileans eat fresh vegetable salads during Christmas dinner? Of course they do. Does Santa wear shorts? Ya darn tootin’. Is their milk-based alcoholic beverage of choice served cold?

You betcha.

I don't understand. Where are the brussels sprouts?

I don’t understand. Where are the brussels sprouts?

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Day 1: Christmas in China

Christmas is the most important day of the year in China.

china-christmas-2008-12-20-23-34-0

What is this magic?

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No it’s not, I’m totally lying.

The most important day/festival of the year is the New Year, also known as the Spring Festival. Children are given new clothes, delicious meals, small toys, and firecrackers (always a good idea to give a child a firecracker). They pay respects to their elders and spend time with family.

How stupid adorable is this?

How stupid adorable is this?

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Sounds a bit like western Christmas, amirite?

Christmas is celebrated in China, as well. Sort of.

OH MY GOD.

OH MY GOD.

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Last Year on 25 Days of Christmas (Food)…

Remember last year when I went insane and wrote a post a day for the 25 days prior to Christmas?

I think this is actually someone’s house.

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I’m doing it again this year.

Me on December 26th.

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While you reflect on my poor decision making, here’s the 25 (technically 26 because one was a two-parter) posts I did last Christmas.

Poor decision making. Ya know, kinda like getting a lower back tattoo.

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Big Thank You!

To my Darling Readers,

Thank you for reading and sharing and being wonderfully curious.

I’ve already started planning next year’s 25 Days of Christmas (Food), with a couple tweaks to my process (ya know, so it doesn’t take until mid-February to finish). So far I have planned….well, mostly just fruitcake since I skipped it (there were too many fruitcake-like items already). I’ll also be able to throw up those Hanukkah posts I planned.

Fried things.

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I’m going to update a few of the posts since I feel there are some I didn’t have time to properly explore. Plus, I have some awesome Photoshops I didn’t make due to time constraints.

It’s been tough and so rewarding and I’m very proud. When it comes down to it I did 23 posts in 23 days. I’ve never worked on anything this hard in my life, and I definitely didn’t work this hard in college. I have no idea how I graduated (I totally do. I’m a great manipulator).

This is me when I graduated and this picture is hilarious because my gown was just way too big youguys lol omg.

And remember to check out the Philadelphia Science Festival blog, my second home for the next three months. There’ll be some nifty food science going on!

Keep eating and asking, my friends.

Esther

Day 25: The Christmas Bird (Part the Second)

Welcome to Part the Second of The Christmas Bird! This sort of accidentally ended up being the history of the turkey. It’s because I’m like sooooooooo thorough omg.

I am hungry right now and this looks delicious.

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The wild turkey, native to Mexico and Central America, was nothing like the bird we know today. They were incredibly intelligent, brightly colored, and lived in flocks. Certain American Indian tribes, like the Zuni and Sioux, connected the turkey to the sun the same way early Europeans did with the goose. In one early Zuni legend it is said that the turkey, in an effort to raise the sun, burned his head feathers off, and that is why the turkey is bald. The turkey is associated with crops and their feathers were used in clothing and rituals. Later, European immigrants brought their custom of using the wishbone of the turkey to predict events to America.

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Day 25: The Christmas Bird (Part the First)

NOTE: While I had originally intended for this to be one post, I’ve decided to make it two due to extreme length. I’ll put the bibliography in Part the Second. Enjoy.

This year I went to my first real Christmas party. There was food and drink and games and even a little bit of awkwardness. We were playing Christmas trivia and one of the questions was “What is the traditional American Christmas dinner?” I, in my infinite food history genius, knew at once the answer was turkey. Which obviously it was. However, nearly all of the 20 or so people at the party insisted that the traditional meal was ham.

I did not know that Christmas ham included pineapple and maraschino cherries. On a related note, I've never had Hawaiian pizza.

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Uuuuh, no you’re all wrong, I’m right, don’t argue with me because I am a food history virtuoso.

Omigosh I'm like sooooo totally humble you guys!

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