Monday, December 26, 2011

Orphan's Christmas

Yesterday was the 25th, so Christmas Day for the expats and we celebrated our "orphan's Christmas" over at Sabine's and Natalie's place. Basically an orphan's Christmas is where you open up your home to everyone who otherwise doesn't have any family or holiday plans around. Nat had some Kiwi, English and South African friends visiting from London. So for me it turned out to be my first Commonwealth Christmas.

We had lots of really yummy food. I brought a ham and Nat picked up some lamb from the local halal shop. I got to try my very first Christmas pudding - a plum pudding. It's not something we have in the USA but it is a big part of any English Christmas celebration. It was soaked in brandy and set on fire. It was quite good but enough to get you tipsy. I was also introduced to pavlova. It's a dessert invented in New Zealand in honor of Russian ballet dancer Anna Pavlova's world tour in the 1920s. Pavlova is almost like a meringue. You beat egg whites until they are stiff and then fold in powdered sugar, white vinegar, vanilla and corn flour. The corn flour gives it a crunch outer shell and it was great topped with kiwi fruit.

Earlier this year, Nat's parents came for a visit all the way from New Zealand. I remember her mom, Robyn, looking at me as if I had three eyeballs when I mentioned that I had no idea of what a Christmas cracker was. It's definitely not an American thing. Well I guess her mom felt so sorry for my poor upbringing that she sent me a box of crackers. These are not the kind you eat.

A cracker is a cardboard tube wrapped in paper and twisted at the ends so that it looks like a giant sweet. Sort of like a wishbone, two people pull on each end until it snaps like a cap gun. Inside of each cracker is some candy, a paper hat, a joke or a riddle, and other various little prizes. Not all crackers are good ones; some contain dud prizes. Normally crackers are pulled at the table for Christmas dinner. They were fun but I think that it has to be something you grew up with in order to fully appreciate them. In many Commonwealth countries it's common for kids to make crackers from used toilet paper rolls. None the less it was incredibly thoughtful for Robyn to send me crackers all the way from New Zealand. Of course when she was here I thought it was a bit crazy that she had never heard of a seedless watermelon before. I wonder if and how I could get one over to her in Wellington?

No comments:

Post a Comment