Sunday, November 20, 2016

The Culinary Historians' Christmas in November

Christmas desserts: irresistible!
The dessert table at the participatory dinner of the Culinary Historians of Ann Arbor (CHAA) this afternoon was all the proof I needed that many people do their most wonderful baking and cooking for this holiday. A ginger and orange layer cake, a raspberry-and-cream trifle, cardamom-and-rosewater-flavored rice pudding, figgy pudding with custard sauce, and several types of cookies were all remarkable. I tried almost every one! My photos below capture only a fraction of the many festive appetizers, meat dishes, and vegetables that were on the three tables.

Gravlax garnished with dill sauce was one of the appetizers.
Our contribution: in honor of the famous Jewish custom of going out for Chinese
food for Christmas we brought dumplings from a local Chinese restaurant.
Everyone seemed very amused at this slightly irreverent choice.
Cranberry cornbread with butter. At far right: citrus salad.
Beef brisket with mushrooms and cranberries, often a dish for Chanukah. Two different brisket preparations were on the table!
People gathered, arranged food on the table, and then each of us described the foods we had prepared. The theme was Christmas and other winter holidays around the world. Most of the dishes were national or family Christmas foods such as Danish-style red cabbage; Swedish gravlax; Canadian pork spread; duck with cranberries; and rice pudding that's a dessert, but in Denmark often precedes the Christmas dinner.  We learned that a very strong tradition in modern-day Japan is to order Kentucky Fried Chicken for Christmas -- we were grateful that our friend Howard decided instead to make a delicious Japanese Christmas dish of chicken slow-cooked in Saki.

Preparing the saki-chicken.
Describing the desserts.


Beth F said...

"Beef brisket with mushrooms and cranberries, often a dish for Chanukah." That's interesting. I've never heard of this way of preparing brisket.

Debra Eliotseats said...

I love your posts like this!!!! Beautiful spread.