Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Christmas thoughts


I miss mince pies at Christmas time! Occasionally our local supermarket has them, but they are in the import aisle and very expensive. I suppose I could buy them via mail order, but they're even more expensive that way. I miss Christmas cake too - REAL Christmas cake though - not the nasty dry stuff you find here in the US masquerading as fruitcake. DARK fruitcake that was made (or bought) back in September and has been fed a regular diet of brandy (maybe a little Guinness) ever since so that the fruit is nice and MOIST and with marzipan and royal icing on top. Sigh! One year I will get my act together and make one. That way I'd get one exactly the way I want - without cherries which I always pick out! I suppose I could make some mince pies too. I made a green tomato pie back in September and was surprised to find that it was remarkably similar to mince pie - but then again, with a ton of brown sugar, raisins and ginger, the tomatoes didn't really contribute much to the flavour!

It is possible to get Christmas crackers here in the US now. Not 20 odd years ago though - or at least nowhere where I shopped. Even so, a confused American blogger in the UK recently referred to them as "cylindrical "bang" packages" and clearly had never heard of them, let alone seen them before. Of course it's the same here as in England - cheap crackers have cheap junk inside them. Expensive crackers have better quality junk. Our crackers this year came from The Christmas Tree Shops so I don't know why we bothered. The internationalization of holiday traditions goes both ways as last time I was in the UK for Christmas I noticed that it is possible to buy candy canes over there now. Again, that wasn't true when I first came to the US.

8 comments:

Vic said...

Making appears to be the way to go whether you're in the UK or the US, but it requires a special brand of skill that I completely lack. Otherwise I'd send you cake and mince pies.

Katie said...

It took me a while to try a mince pie because I was under the impression that they were full of minced meat. I'm glad I got around to trying them, though, because they're actually quite nice.

ExpatKat said...

Just made my Christmas puddings. Wouldn't be Christmas without them!

Almost American said...

Vic - Maybe I'll see if I can find some mincemeat at the supermarket (so long as it's not the dehydrated kind I tried once - really nasty!) and make some mince pies the next time we have a snow day - which will probably be tomorrow! The mincemeat part is easy (opening the jar) - it's the pastry I'm no good at!

Katie - the name is deceiving isn't it?!

Kat - Christmas puddings - hmm - I guess I don't like those quite as much seeing as I forgot to write about them.

Expat mum said...

I aked the ball & Chain to bring some Xmas crackers back from England about 10 years ago and he came back with ginger snaps. Idiot!!! This year they were selling them at Sur La Table and were;nt too expensive so I got 8. I've completely given up with Xmas cake or puds as no one else here will touch it. In fact, there's that joke about there being one Xmas cake in the US which is constantly re-gifted!

Almost American said...

Christmas crackers . . . ginger snaps - I can see how he confused them . . . NOT!!!!! Wow! What was he thinking?! "She asked me to bring something back, what was it?"

I've never seen a really GOOD fruit cake over here - I'm not surprised Americans think they don't like them. DH thought he didn't - until he tried our wedding cake!

marmiteandtea said...

Lucky me, my husbands company runs a Brit Xmas shop in the hols and so we have Mince Pies and M&S Xmas pud! I have made the cake, although I had to feed it apple juice rather than brandy due to the baby!
Thanks for stopping by always nice to meet a fellow brit abroad :)

rosiero said...

Are there any US import laws on mincemeat? If not, either stock up on jars whenever you come tot he UK or get some kind relative to send you over a few jars. That way, you can make your own. As for the pastry, can you buy ready-made short pastry in the US? If not, then you'll have to practice practice practice your technique! Happy Christmas, with or without them!!

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