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Remembering Christmas of days gone by.....

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This year, 2009, for some reason, I have been suddenly remembering and pining for the Christmases of my childhood... those christmases where innocence was the key word to enjoying a holiday, worry-free and going with the flow was the norm. The memories that linger were more of the dishes laden and prepared by the adults in the family. Since my father had many Chinese compadres, he would usually received gifts of Chinese hams, Queso de Bolas, cartons of candies, eggs and more stuff that seems to escape my mind at the moment.

I vividly remember my uncles (from my father's side of the family) boiling the ham in a big square empty can of oil for several hours (a task usually done outside of the house) to rid of the ham's saltiness before they could be eaten. This was my first taste of ham before I was even introduced to sweet ham (usually cured with pineapple juice). For some reason, Chinese hams when eaten with bread, tasted so good since the bread would offset the saltiness of the ham.

Another noteworthy Christmas and New Year fare is the Queso de Bola wrapped in red paraffin with red transparent paper over it. A search on the internet provided a very interesting origin of this cheese ball known as Marca Pina. I learned that this is Edam cheese imported from the Netherlands and has that distinct salty flavor since in the 1930's when they were being imported to Asia, salt was used to help preserved the cheeses from it long voyage from the other side of the world.

One dessert that I always look forward to is my Grandma Kiring's "sagmani" which is made from Taro root where she would cut it in half, scrape the middle part (leaving a shell)..... cook it in coconut milk with brown sugar and once cooked put it back in the shell, wrap it in banana leaves and then boil this again. Another version of this is the "Binagol" which has more ingredients added to it. However, my favorite is still the sagmani. Looking back now, making this wonderful and delectable "kakanin" was truly a labor of love from my  Lola Kiring, who would always give in to our requests to make it (me most of the time, anyways). It would take her almost the whole day to make it since most of the time she was making this by herself.


            The author with mother, aunt, brother, sister, cousins & their favorite Grandma Kiring during one of those childhood holiday celebration....

One great website that I found is Gerry Ruiz photo blog that has wonderful photos of the sagmani and the binagol....  

Another favorite is the Spanish chocolate which we call "tsokolate eh" usually made in the form of a tablea (round tablets of cocoa) which are dissolved in hot water. The distinctive aroma and flavor of this hot chocolate drink truly makes for an amazing experience. This drink goes with anything from breads to "kakanins" and is a welcome treat any time of the day.

1 comments:

Dear, Serey.

That’s a good memory.
Christmas is coming on us.
Have a good time.

Giein

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Big hugs and lots of kisses to my daughter, Karrol, for re-designing my blogsite. She is responsible for making my blog look cool... If you want to check out her own blog, visit K-Dream Palace and her contributing articles at AATheory.