Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Old, New and Borrowed Traditions

"It is useful to study different traditions in order to be free of attachment to any one way of expressing what is beyond expression. (x)” Ravi Ravindra, The Wisdom of Patanjali's Yoga Sutras

During my life as an #expat I have worked hard to keep my family traditions alive, mainly for the sake
of my children.  Many of our traditions are culinary.  When I first got married, my mother in-law gave me a crash course on the dishes dear to her heart in order for her baby, my husband, to continue enjoying the family recipes.  I spent my first #Christmas as a married woman in her kitchen as  she taught me how to make her Anisette cookies.  I just finished making this year's batch, Merry Christmas Irma, I hope you saw the boys struggle making your cookies, you made it look so easy!

During our life overseas, I have celebrated foreign holidays and traditions that now have become my own.  There is no Christmas without a "Pan de Jamon", a Venezuelan Christmas bread stuffed with ham, bacon raisins and olives.  Many times I have also gathered with friends to celebrate Chinese New Year.  One of my expats friends never has her act together in order to mail #Christmas cards, so she always sends Happy Chinese New Year's cards in lieu of the Christmas ones.   Carnavales, celebrated in February in many Southamerican countries, was an easy one to adopt since it always meant traveling to the beach and enjoying the warm weather.

New Tradition: La Befana brings sweets to the children on January 6th.
On our first weekend in Italy we went to Piazza Navona, a buzzling square downtown #Rome that has forever been home of the most important Christmas market in the city.  We were puzzled to see as part of the Christmas decorations sold in the square, a witch, which for us was synonymous of #Halloween.  Come to find out, it was not a witch but the #Befana, an old lady that brings sweets to the children on January 6th and places them in their stockings.  If the children are naughty she brings coal; in the old days she really brought coal, but nowadays she brings coals made out of sugar.  Either way, it didn't take long for my children to demand we adopt the Befana tradition and there I was, buying candy like any other Italian mom, to stuff their stockings on the 6th.

For all the old, new and borrowed traditions, my favorite one will always be Christmas. This year the welcome drink for my guests (as my family is far away) will be a #Peruvian #PiscoSour and believe me, it's much better than a Margarita.  The recipe is as easy as 3, 2, 1.  Here it goes:

Peruvian Pisco Sour:

3 parts of Pisco (peruvian aguardiente)*
2 parts of simple syrup
1 part of lime juice

Mix ingredients in the blender with enough ice to double the volume of the liquid in the blender.
Crush the ice in the blender for a few seconds.  Add one egg white (yeah yeah yeah, organic, free range, bla bla bla) and blend on high for one minute.  This will give it a pretty foam to which you can add a few Angostura Bitters drops. One glass will put you in a very festive mood, enjoy!

*Italian grappa can be used instead of Pisco.

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