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Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Beans, Pumpkin and Apricots

Christmas is receding into the past (except for old calendar Orthodox countries like Russia and Serbia) but I came upon some pictures from the Christmas Eve table at my mother's place which I would like to share.

One is supposed to fast for 40 days before Christmas but on the 23rd the conversation between my brother and mother went as follows:
My mother: What are we eating tonight? Something light and vegetarian as we have to fast at least 24 hours before Christmas.
My brother: Well, fasting tomorrow evening would be enough I think. Let's grill this nice meat.

So much for sacrifices.

The frugal Christmas Eve table is almost the same each year with only small variations. It includes:
- bread with a cross on top of it and a coin inside;
- red peppers staffed with beans;
- rolled vine leaves with rice;
- potato and onion salad;
- tomato and onion salad;
- dried apricots and prunes;
- all kinds of nuts;
- baked pumpkin;
- pickled peppers staffed with pickled cauliflower.

Christmas Eve Table

Each year I swear to eat less but it is never easy given the temptations. For me the quantity of eaten food during the holidays is in inverse correlation with the capacity for social interaction and enjoyment. It seems to me that millions of people do not enjoy the overeating part of the holidays but persist in doing it. It is understandable that excess is one of the points in each holiday but wouldn't it be nicer to indulge in an excess of sociability and communication for example rather than excess in eating.

Christmas Eve Table, another perspective

There is of course a magic formula for the quantity of wine to be drunk in order to achieve a maximal sharpness of mind. This formula is hidden in a bottle swallowed by a fish which was swallowed by a whale. I am not preaching moderation here as sharpness of mind is hardly the desirable condition for each one picking a glass.

Bulgarian Wine Collection in the Restaurant in Village Kosovo

Wine Produced by My Friend Z

There is an idiom in Bulgarian which is hard to translate but it approximately means 'I wish I had your problems'....


A Thousand Clapping Hands said...

Wishing you a very Happy 2010. I really enjoyed reading about your family's culinary traditions. I always have a craving for apricots, walnuts, and prunes this time of year which were so prevalent in my Baba's sweets. This year I made my own prune lekvar for palacsinka since it is becoming hard to find here. It was quite easy and delicious too.
All the best to you,

Anonymous said...

The verdict is in. You clearly did not imbibe enough. Instead of "stuffing" your peppers, you opted for "staffing" them.

More wine and longer vacation are clearly in order.

Wishing you both, along with merry this and merry that.


p.s. Your blog, for lack of a better word, is terrific. Keep stuffing.

Anonymous said...

Your Friend Z gratitude to you ;-)))

Jelica said...

you summed it up very well at the end--da ti imam problemite :)))

Merisi said...

What a wonderful spread!
Happy New Year!

Love the staffed peppers! Wonder if their employees are computer savvy! *giggles*

Funny thing how we chose to stick to one part of tradition, while letting the other one fall by the wayside: No fasting but holding on to feasting as if we had fasted! i remember there was no meat to be eaten or handled until after lunchtime on Christmas Eve day in the little village I spent my early childhood. That fasting was followed by a rather light meal of boiled Weißwurst (the Bavarian border was near), Sauerkraut and potatoes. Christmas cookies were baked all December long, but never eaten before Christmas Eve, after the Christ-Child had brought the gifts, when the cookies were presented on a big platter, a few of each variety baked. I still hold on to these customs.

Ruslan said...

Thousand Clapping Hands, Happy New 2010 to you too! Enjoy the lekvar! Do you ever come back to Slovakia?

Tzena, thanks for all the merriness you wished and the good words for the blog! Good to be in touch again.

Z. (but not Zoro) your wine, especially the rose, was great. If your first wine is like that what would the next ones be?

Jelica, vseki s problemite si:-) (each one has his/her specific problems...)

Merisi, thanks for sharing some Austrian customs. Whereabouts in Austria is this village? We've been skiing in the Instruck region several times.

Delwyn said...

Happy new year Ruslan and Jelica

It is interesting to learn how others in their homelands and adopted homelands celebrate Christmas. Food is the universal common denominator of celebration and shared times with family and friends.
Being in the full flight of summer we indulge in salads and cold meats or seafood and plenty of cold sweet dishes to follow...pavlovas and trifles...

Happy days
Happy days