Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Christmas Recap

Have you ever been inspired to do something and plan for it for a few weeks or maybe a month or two, only to have the day come and you think, what the hell was I thinking?

That pretty much was Christmas this year.
A few months ago, Bry and I were watching a PBS special on holiday traditions associated with Eastern Europe. Many of the traditions I saw were foreign to me since my great-grandparents had immigrated to the United States many years ago. There were, however, some foods I had vivid memories of my grandparents cooking for both Christmas and Easter. As I watched, I became entranced in the stories of making pierogies and stuffed cabbage, of creating baskets on Easter to have blessed, of pickling eggs, and creating haluski with the leftovers. As I sat there watching, I relayed these memories to Bry and told him how much the food had been such an intergal part of our holiday festivities.
It was then, I got the brainstorm to start our own Christmas traditon. Inspired of course by my grandparents and Slovak and Polish heritage, Christmas day would now be a buffet of these foods from growing up: pierogies, stuffed cabbage, ham, & kielbsa. Bry offered to go to the Polish Market and pick up the hams, kielbsa, and sauerkraut, while I decided I would make my grandfather's pierogie recipe and stuffed cabbage. I asked my mom to help me with the pierogies, as they require quite a bit of elbow grease and did some online research for stuffed cabbage.
The months, then weeks, then days to Christmas quickly went by until it was the weekend before the big day.
My mom had agreed to babysit Mo so Bry and I could go to a holiday party, and then the next day, Sunday, we would together make piergoies. I would then make the filled cabbages on Monday or Tuesday, leaving Wednesday and Thursday for last minute baking, and gift wrapping.
Oh, how my plans were wrong!
Besides the fact that Mother Nature dropped two feet of snow on us on Saturday into Sunday, I was left to make the piergoies by myself. I did them in parts, making the mashed potatoes on Sunday, doing half a batch of rolling and cutting and boiling on Monday, and finishing them on Wednesday. On Tuesday I made some more cookies as I realized both Bry and my own cookie habit had put a large dent in our supply.
As for the stuffed cabbage, I purchased all the meat and ingredients on my weekly grocery shopping trip on Monday. Not wanting the ground meat to spoil, I put it in the freezer with the intention of taking it out the night before I intended to use it.
Again, intentions were good, however reality was different. Having made the last of the piergoies on Wednesday night, I forgot to take out the meat, until close to noon on Christmas Eve!
It ended up being a blessing in disguise as my sister came to our place around nine on Christmas Eve. No better time then the present to figure out exactly how to steam the cabbage leaves, make the right meat/rice ratio (don't get me started on rice! I hate my f--king stovetop!) and actual assembly. But about an hour and half later, we did it! We make two dozen filled cabbages that actually resembled the filled cabbages of my youth.
Christmas day and the twenty-sixth were are whirlwind. We had family and friends coming in and out all day, and I received quite a number of compliments on the stuffed cabbage. My future sister-in-law asked if she could be part of the pierogie party next year, and I defintely plan on making it a group effort. Bry took reigns of actual prep work during the two days and couldn't get the pierogies fried up quick enough! I'm guessing they were a hit!
Not too shabby for a 35 week pregnant lady who is carrying all in the front!
While I don't have any pictures of the feast, I promise next year I'll take some. I do have to include some from the past few days.

Christmas Eve,

Christmas Morning

Christmas Day

December 26

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