inkwell.vue.398 : Holiday Seasons Past - The Good, The Bad, The Hilarious
permalink #26 of 45: Sharon Lynne Fisher (slf) Tue 30 Nov 10 10:14
    
Heh. I had a similar experience with sewing in home ec. For the final
exam, we had a written component and a practical component. For the
written component, I got an A. But the practical one, I literally did
backwards and upside down, and scorched it in the process. Got a D on
that part.
  
inkwell.vue.398 : Holiday Seasons Past - The Good, The Bad, The Hilarious
permalink #27 of 45: Gail (gail) Tue 30 Nov 10 10:51
    
Oh wow.  I was a sewing failure in 8th grade too!  My worst grade
ever, in any level of schooling. I took the dress home over the
weekend, pulled stitches, got some help from my grandma in redoing the
zipper, and still got a D+ on the project.  I was humbled.  Before that
I thought I was above average at anything I tried hard at. 

Food was easy, clothes were hard!  (I think you might guess that by
looking at my body type and fashion sense today, for that matter.)  

When I worked in theater I got pretty good at designing and sewing
impromptu inexpensive costumes when I had to, so I finally got the
satisfaction of going back and reclaiming that skill.
  
inkwell.vue.398 : Holiday Seasons Past - The Good, The Bad, The Hilarious
permalink #28 of 45: Lisa Harris (lrph) Tue 30 Nov 10 15:16
    
I was fortunate to have no sewing class requirement. 

Tomorrow is the first night of Chanukah. In my family, we spent the
Sunday of the 8 day holiday at Grandma Fritzie and Grandpa Sol's.
Fritzie would invite all the family, plus a few family friends. 

There were crispy latkes, savory brisket with loads of onions, kasha
varnishkas, and Fritzies famous sweet and sour tongue. Now, you have to
be related to me to love the sweet and sour tongue. Fritzie was many
things, but a good cook wasn't one of them. She cooked with love and we
ate with love. 

The gift opening was chaotic, with all of the kids opening presents
simultaneously. It wasn't until all of the wrapping paper was thrown
away that we had a chance to look over each others piles of stuff. 

My cousins and I would put the tape recorder under the table and press
record. At the end of the evening we would play back and hear all the
silliness that had ensued. 

Simple. And wonderful. 
  
inkwell.vue.398 : Holiday Seasons Past - The Good, The Bad, The Hilarious
permalink #29 of 45: Gail Williams (gail) Tue 30 Nov 10 15:41
    
Sweet and sour tongue?  Was that with Chinese sweet & sour sauce?
(I have always found the Chinese take-out Jewish celebration
connection charming, but that is one I've never heard of!)
  
inkwell.vue.398 : Holiday Seasons Past - The Good, The Bad, The Hilarious
permalink #30 of 45: Ed Ward (captward) Wed 1 Dec 10 01:51
    
No, there's a whole Eastern European sweet-sour tradition. I
encountered it in Bavaria with Kalbslunge in Süss-sauer, calves' lungs
in sweet-sour sauce. One spoonful only, and as disgusting as you might
think. However, it might be a way of covering up strong flavors such as
offal frequently has. I'm a tongue fan, so I'm kind of curious about
this.
  
inkwell.vue.398 : Holiday Seasons Past - The Good, The Bad, The Hilarious
permalink #31 of 45: Lisa Harris (lrph) Wed 1 Dec 10 07:07
    
If I can scare up Fritzie's recipe, I'll post it.  I truly loved this as a
child, but every person who ever ate it (that was not a blood relative)
thought it was gross.
  
inkwell.vue.398 : Holiday Seasons Past - The Good, The Bad, The Hilarious
permalink #32 of 45: Ed Ward (captward) Thu 2 Dec 10 02:17
    
I'm not saying that everyone who follows the tradition does it well,
of course. 
  
inkwell.vue.398 : Holiday Seasons Past - The Good, The Bad, The Hilarious
permalink #33 of 45: Gail Williams (gail) Thu 2 Dec 10 11:04
    
Happy Chanukah folks.  

I grew up in a secular Christmas tree family, one of those "who took
the Christ out of Christmas? We certainly did" households.  

So it was not until I was in college that my roomates and I started to
celebrate a not so religious but very warm and familial version of
Chanukah/Hanukkah - the holiday so nice they spelled it twice.

Candle lighting each evening!  How sweet it is at the dark days of the
year.  Dreidels baffled me, but the holiday food and the menorah
candles were awesome.  

With my goyishe background, I am timid about presenting my adapted
Jewish cooking ideas, but I will confess now.  I love playing with
sweet pasta dishes. I'd never call my blueberry whole-wheat lasagna a
Hanukkah Noodle Kugel, but that was where the idea was born.  Pasta is
so much easier than piecrust, and has so much possibility!
  
inkwell.vue.398 : Holiday Seasons Past - The Good, The Bad, The Hilarious
permalink #34 of 45: . (wickett) Fri 3 Dec 10 16:57
    

Fie on that Home Econ teacher, peoples!
  
inkwell.vue.398 : Holiday Seasons Past - The Good, The Bad, The Hilarious
permalink #35 of 45: the secret agenda of rabbits (cjp) Mon 6 Dec 10 11:32
    
Truly. I've been trying to find a way to adequately express my
feelings wrt that teacher, but so far am at a loss. My own home ec
teacher was a slob who also taught us grooming, so I loved my mother's
reaction when she finally met her at parents' night. "You weren't
lying," was she said.

That sweet and sour tongue sounds pretty good, too.
  
inkwell.vue.398 : Holiday Seasons Past - The Good, The Bad, The Hilarious
permalink #36 of 45: Gail Williams (gail) Mon 6 Dec 10 15:05
    
Based on that sweet and sour tongue post and a conversation with a
friend, I'm now also interested in something called Sweet and Sour Red
Cabbage Soup as an Eastern European winter dish.  I did find a recipe
from a google search, and that looked like a very interesting old
fashioned soup, with red cabbage, apples, raisins, brown sugar and
vinegar and more.  (What range of ingredients did people have in
Eastern Europe in the winter a century ago, anyway?)

I'd love to hear more about how the tongue is sweetened and soured,
too. 
  
inkwell.vue.398 : Holiday Seasons Past - The Good, The Bad, The Hilarious
permalink #37 of 45: Lisa Harris (lrph) Mon 6 Dec 10 16:00
    
I've put in a request for the recipe.  I'm not sure it's still around,
but we'll see.


Growing up the child of Jewish people, I never had a Christmas tree. 
Go figure.  Anyway, the first year Ken and I were together we had a
tree trimming party.  According to Ken, this was the easiest way to get
lots of new and interesting Christmas tree ornaments.  And he was
right!  We had about a dozen and a half people come.  We served chili
and corn bread and egg nog.  We had lights and tinsel and popcorn to
string.  Our guests brought us beautiful ornaments: some purchased, a
few hand made, and one a hand-me-down from their own collection.  

My favorite part of each Christmas season is taking out the ornaments
and remembering that first one together as we hang the ornaments from
that party.
  
inkwell.vue.398 : Holiday Seasons Past - The Good, The Bad, The Hilarious
permalink #38 of 45: Lisa Harris (lrph) Tue 7 Dec 10 04:08
    
Grandma's recipe for sweet and sour tongue, via Mom:

In a little oil, saute a medium sized onion chopped up.  Pour in
canned tomato sauce (15 oz) and a handful of yellow raisins and a bit
of lemon juice.  (It's possible that extra water was added to this,
we're really not sure).  In it, simmer sliced tongue (already cooked
from the deli, sliced 1/8 - 1/4 inch thick).  Cook until it's heated
all the way through.

Now, according to Mom, if you look up a real recipe it will have more
sour than this sweet recipe.  
  
inkwell.vue.398 : Holiday Seasons Past - The Good, The Bad, The Hilarious
permalink #39 of 45: Cynthia Dyer-Bennet (peoples) Tue 7 Dec 10 06:58
    

That recipe reminds me of a similar one for sweet & sour cabbage rolls a 
friend once gave me. It seems too simple, yet it works really well.

> favorite part of each Christmas season is taking out the ornaments ...

Oh, I share that sentiment, Lisa. Our Christmas tree decorations have
been collected over many years and I love unwrapping each one and 
recalling where we got them. 

When I first moved in with my husband-to-be 27 years ago, I brought a 
big box of tree ornaments into the relationship. They were all 
hand-painted over baked molded dough made of salt and flour, which 
was a popular medium for Christmas tree ornaments back then, before 
extruded resin ornaments showed up on the market.

We stored them in a box in the garage. Which suffered water incursion
after a particularly nasty storm. Which caused all the salt & flour 
ornaments in the cardboard box on the garage floor to soak up all the
storm water and swell into weird, bloated and unrecognizable lumps of
soggy salty dough flecked with bits of festive colored paint. 

I was so sad to lose my ornament collection, but it gave us the
opportunity build a new collection gathered together. So when we unwrap 
each ornament, we have a shared memory of its origin. 
  
inkwell.vue.398 : Holiday Seasons Past - The Good, The Bad, The Hilarious
permalink #40 of 45: Sharon Lynne Fisher (slf) Tue 7 Dec 10 08:40
    
aww.

In 1984, I was living with someone and we had a living room with a
tall ceiling, so we got a massive tree. It was gorgeous. And then we
thought about ornaments, and we each had the same feeling -- that we
wanted the ornaments we had as kids, and nothing else would feel right.
So we had just the tree, by itself.

Since I've moved to Idaho, I've encountered vintage ornaments a number
of times in garage sales, most impressively at an estate sale where I
got a big carton of them for like $4. I also, now, have the vintage
ornaments I had as a child, as well as the ice ball lights; in
addition, I picked up a whole lot of ice balls on eBay a few years
back. So I have the tree I remember from the 1960s.
  
inkwell.vue.398 : Holiday Seasons Past - The Good, The Bad, The Hilarious
permalink #41 of 45: . (wickett) Tue 7 Dec 10 10:11
    

The year before the firestorm, my mother and I spent hours decorating our
tree, taking out each handmade ornament or gift from around the world, 
telling its story and placing it on the tree.  All smoke and ash now, of 
course.

This year we're having a tree, only the second time is nineteen years.  
Acquisition and trimming party tomorrow evening.  Ornaments may be 
sparse.  That's okay as the previous collection developed slowly over the 
course of a century and we want only storied ornaments.  We have little 
glög cup ornaments from Sweden and hand-blown glass balls my husband 
bought at an art fair in Michigan, and a small collection of handmade 
ornaments, including a gilded walnut painted by my friend when she was 
five-years old, given to me by a friend's mother right after the 
firestorm.  She knew what my heart craved.

I remember making those baked flour and water ornaments, Cynthia, when I 
was a wee bairn.  Fun!  Did you and your husband make more?
  
inkwell.vue.398 : Holiday Seasons Past - The Good, The Bad, The Hilarious
permalink #42 of 45: Paolo (pdeep) Fri 10 Dec 10 06:42
    
Killing a young tree to celebrate the New Year.  I've always thought
it a very strange way to have fun.
  
inkwell.vue.398 : Holiday Seasons Past - The Good, The Bad, The Hilarious
permalink #43 of 45: the secret agenda of rabbits (cjp) Sun 12 Dec 10 12:08
    
From what I understand, the tree isn't killed, just sawed off with
enough branches at the base so that a new tree will grow. Some of our
neighbors would buy potted trees and then of course plant them in the
yard. Pretty impressive forests on a suburban lawn after a while!
  
inkwell.vue.398 : Holiday Seasons Past - The Good, The Bad, The Hilarious
permalink #44 of 45: Kathy (kathbran) Mon 13 Dec 10 12:50
    
(Sorry I'm a bit late, but I have to tell you I must have had
Cynthia's home ec teacher's doppelganger in 8th grade because I sewed a
pair of fitted, topstitched western-style pants for my sewing project
and got a low grade because she said I had had my mother make it.)
  
inkwell.vue.398 : Holiday Seasons Past - The Good, The Bad, The Hilarious
permalink #45 of 45: Sharon Lynne Fisher (slf) Mon 13 Dec 10 12:59
    
(I judged the K-4th grade Chamber of Commerce Christmas essays this
year, and one kid I marked down for having his or her speech all neatly
typed out, using words I don't expect kids of that level to use.
Instead, the winner was the kid who wrote their own essay in big loopy
printing.)
  



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