We had a lovely Christmas. A very nice Polish Wigilia (the traditional Christmas Eve vigil supper) at the home of our dear friends Ed and Mary Noyszewski, in Berwyn, where I took a lot of pictures.
On Christmas Day, my brother and sister-in-law continued their longstanding tradition of an Internationally-themed Christmas dinner. Barbara (Basia) and Char were mildly stung by criticisms here when I mentioned their Oceania-themed dinner last year, and wanted me to point out that this year's Malaysian dinner was not intended to mimic what Malaysians themselves actually eat for a holiday feast, but is just a meal in honor of Malaysia. For one thing, Charlie says they used approximately 1/10th the amount of the hot spices the recipes called for. For another, Malaysia encompasses many cultures with several distinct cuisines, so no one meal can be typical of the whole country.
The fun in the meal is that Basia and Charlie research it for a month ahead of time, seeking out the appropriate ethnic restaurants (they found only one Malaysian restaurant in Chicago), trying out various dishes to taste-test them, and locating incredients. One dish this year called for pig brain, liver, and intestines, but mentioned that if offal wasn't your thing, lean pork could be sustituted. The resulting feng made of pork tenderloin was superb.
The meal was just fantastic. Every single dish was delicious. I especially liked the popiah. Every year, a favorite dish or two makes it into CharBarb's regular rotation, and they're going to have trouble exlcuding anything from this year. It was all great. Very tasty meal. Even if it was a lot less spicy-hot than Malaysians themselves prefer.
And by the bye, pavlova isn't Malaysian, but we all liked last year's Australia vs. New Zealand dessert so much that it's in the running to become an annual tradition. The garnishes this year had a Malaysian inflection, at least.
Here's today Christmas song: The Walkmen covering Lindsay Buckingham's "Holiday Road" on A.V. Undercover. The NYC-based Walkmen are a band of friends from an elite East-coast prep school. An antidote to the whiteboyishness tomorrow.
On a photographic note (...and we're back on topic) I wanted to add a "Photobook of Interest" for each of the Twelve Days of Christmas. Today's book is Back to the Future. Irina Werning is the single-auteur apotheosis of the Young Me / Now Me idea, and is so skilled at recreating old snapshots that people from around the world write to her imploring her to work her magic on snapshots that are special to them. The work is about time and the ways we all change and can be both funny and touching.
Original contents copyright 2014 by Michael C. Johnston and/or the bylined author. All Rights Reserved. Links in this post may be to our affiliates; sales through affiliate links may benefit this site.
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Featured Comments from:
Raden: "Nice post on Malaysian food Mike! Though as Pieter has pointed out in the Comments, to get a good sampling of Malaysian dishes you should visit Kuala Lumpur. By the way, watch this amazing time lapse of Kuala Lumpur by Rob Whitworth on Youtube. I'm a long time reader of your blog and have always enjoyed your writings. Thank you for sharing so much of your photographic knowledge with the rest of the world. From a Malaysian in Saudi Arabia."