2000-12-06
Dear Diary:

Look, all I can say is that I wasn't consulted and clearly someone is unclear on the concept.

I mean, the deal is that they pipe Christmas music INTO the stores and you go OUTSIDE to escape it right? I mean, that's how it was in Montreal, eh.

So why is it that the village where I go to shop has wired all three freakin' blocks of its downtown for sound? Why is it that the moment I left my car today I was bombarded with Christmas carols at an unconscionable volume and that I had to duck INTO the grocery store to escape the music?

I don't know about you, but I feel A Mistake Has Been Made. Heads should roll for this one.

Oh, and as if THAT wasn't stress enough, our local health food store has stopped carrying candied ginger.

"It's rolled in white sugar," the clerk informed me, her tone implying we were talking about something only slightly less dangerous than heroin.

Mr. Man, it's a good thing this is the holiday season. Otherwise the headline would have read, "Sanctimonious Quebec Health Food Store Clerk Beaten To Death With Own Birkenstocks."

See, this store is the only source of candied ginger in this area. Without candied ginger there can be no Chinese Chews, my favourite Christmas cookie in all the world.

I'll just give you to moment to process the enormity of this tragedy, okay?

There, now we can move along.

Fortunately, our friend John was also in the health food store and he told me he bought some candied ginger in Chinatown in Montreal. I have a daughter in Montreal.

I KNEW there was a reason I had spawned, eh.

Paul's mom taught me how to make these cookies. They're an old-fashioned Christmas cookie, one she remembers from before WWII. I'd never had them before I tasted hers, and the first time she told me the name, I thought she said "Chinese Jews" which struck me as kind of an odd name for a cookie, but it's what I thought I had heard.

To make Chinese Chews you need:

2 eggs
1 cup icing sugar
3 tbsp. melted butter
1 cup chopped dates
3/4 cup chopped almonds
3/4 cup candied cherries chopped up
1/4 cup candied ginger minced into teensy tiny sticky bits
1/4 cup sultana raisins
3/4 cup flour
1 tsp. baking powder
2/3 tsp. salt

You beat the eggs, then add sugar, butter and fruity goodness. Mix the dry ingredients, then fold them in. Grease an 8" square pan, fill with mix, bake at 350 for between 40 and 50 minutes. (Seeing light brown stuff in the pan is good, black and smoking is bad.)

While it's still hot and soft (and don't think this doesn't ouch because it does) you cut the Giant Cookie into one inch squares and then roll the pliant square into your hand until it forms a ball. Then you roll the ball in icing sugar.

Did I mention the word ouch?

You can't do it when they're red hot, but you can't leave them too long, either or the cookie cools and firms, won't roll into a ball anymore. I know, it's alot of grief for a mere cookie, but if you like the bite of ginger then you'll like these addictive little rascals.

Now, let's hope I can just figure out a way to sabotage the new village sound system. I'm cranky enough during the holidays. Mr. Man, you don't want to be around if I go into "Little Drummer Boy" meltdown.

--Marn

Old Drivel - New Drivel


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This template is a riff on a design by the truly talented Quinn. Because I'm a html 'tard, I got alot of pity coding to modify it from Ms. Kittay, a woman who can make html roll over, beg, and bring her her slippers. The logo goodness comes from the God of Graphics, the Fuhrer of Fonts, the one, the only El Presidente. I smooch you all. The background image is part of a painting called Higher Calling by Carter Goodrich which graced the cover of the Aug. 3, 1998 issue of The New Yorker Magazine.

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2000, 2001, 2002 Marn. This is me, dagnabbit. You be you.