Sunday, January 06, 2008

New Years Day

New Years Day at my sister-in-law's house, a family get-together that is all about food and camaraderie. We will have to mostly settle for pictures of the food though. For some reason a lot of the family seems reluctant to have their pictures appear on a blog devoted primarily to bars and drinking. This obviously doesn't apply to my brother-in-law Jim, though.

The Unbashful Jim

Okay, now that we have that out of the way, back to the food. We started out with a somewhat unsavory looking taro root dish the night before. This is supposed to be a traditional Chinese dish for the New Year. It is really quite good, considering you can't actually handle the uncooked taro root without getting a rash. A variety of taro root grown in the United States is called dasheen.

Taro root is starchy and somewhat like a potato. In fact the way my Mysterious Mother-in-Law makes it it tastes like a thick potato soup that my father used to make ,especially on a cold winter's night, when I was just a small Bar Boy. It really was quite tasty.

Lucky Taro Root

Also prepared on New Years Eve, but not allowed to be eaten until the morning of the New Year is this strange and sticky dish, and I mean really sticky. Think gluey sticky. But with a lot of ground pork in it. And it is delicious.

A Sticky Dish

There is really only one way to eat this, because no utensil seems adequate. First you spend about ten minutes cutting and prying a decent size lump away from rest.

A Decent Sized Lump

Then you simply pick it up and gnaw at it.

Looks Strange, Tastes Great

The strange thing, this dish seems to heal itself. At least until the real feeding frenzy begins the whole dish seems to just settle back together and you can't even tell that a piece has been removed. Spooky.

We had a lot of food, as you can imagine. Three kinds of bird, goose, duck, and chicken. And, even though Jim keeps trying to get his mom to do it, they weren't stuffed inside of each other.

A Goose Marinating

And the duck was taking a bath with his butt sticking out.

Duck Butt

The chicken was taking his bath too. You may notice that in Chinese tradition the fowl, especially the chicken, is cooked with the heads still attached. They aren't actually eaten, but generally show up at the table.

I Am Drowning Here

My contribution to this dinner were the ribs that I forgot to bring to yesterday's tailgate party. Although they were well received, the majority of the feast was prepared by the Mysterious Mother-in-Law who chopped and sewed and did whatever else she did all morning long.



And when it was all over, a feast we did have.

New Years Feast

And, as promised, the chicken head made its appearance.

Here's Looking At You

For the sake of symmetry I shall end this blog as I began it, with a picture of Jim holding a bottle. At least he isn't holding this one to his lips, we had to share.

Champagne Jim

Needless to say, a great time was had by all. And in another six weeks I get to do something similar for Chinese New Years. It will be the Year of the Rat, in case you are interested. Actually, it will be the Year of the Rat even if you aren't interested.