I’m sorry it has been a while since my last post! The holidays were wonderful and super-busy, and in between baking Christmas cookies, shopping for presents, and seeing family members, I fell down on my blog-posting duties. But now that it is a new year, I will be doing a much better job of keeping the blog updated and letting everyone know what is going on with Cambria!
I hope that all of you had a wonderful time during Christmas and New Year’s, and that you got to spend lots of time with family and friends! I love hearing about all of the rituals that different families do around the holidays, and I’d love to hear about how you spent yours!
My New Year’s was totally different from what I’m used to doing with my family, because I got to spend it with my boyfriend’s family in Hawaii this year. I was so excited to spend time with him, because we have been long-distance for the past several months, and all that time apart can be pretty rough. So I am was so grateful to spend the holidays with him. We had Christmas with my immediate family, and then for New Year’s, I followed him to Hawaii and we spent time with his.
All of my boyfriend’s great-grandparents came to Hawaii from Japan in the early 1900s, and even though they have been in Hawaii ever since, they still carry on a lot of Japanese traditions that have been passed down through the generations. New Year’s in particular is a very big deal in Japanese culture, and my boyfriend’s family always puts together a wonderful, huge celebration for it every year. The picture on the left was a part of herJapanese New Year’s decorations. It is called a katsumode, and is a symbol for good luck. The pine represents longevity and the bamboo represents resiliency.
For New Year’s Day, Shaun’s grandma put together a delicious meal that is traditionally eaten on New Year’s. For this meal, every food symbolizes something positive, and eating each one is supposed to bring good things into your life. The most important food was ozoni, a soup made of dashi broth, vegetables and mochi. Ozoni is traditionally supposed to be the first meal eaten on New Year’s Day. The healthiness of the soup is supposed to purify your body and soul for the new year, and to give you good luck. Shaun’s grandma’s ozoni was warm and comforting, a steaming bowl of broth filled with shitake mushrooms, carrots, daikon, fish cake and abalone.
After the ozoni, Shaun and I dug into the rest of the food. There was kobu maki, another traditional food that is usually served on New Year’s. It is made of seaweed that is filled with pork, carrots, gobo and dried mushrooms. It is then tied together with a ribbon made out of kanpyo, an edible squash, which makes it look like a little present. Kobu maki represents happiness, which is fitting, because besides looking cute, they were delicious!
Then there was kazunoko, or herring roe. These were delicate in flavor and crunchy, with a lovely soy ginger flavor from the sauce that they had been soaked in. Kazunoko represents fertility, and is eaten to bring prosperity to your children.
Then I took some kuromame, which are these delicious candied black beans that have been boiled in sugar water with chestnuts, and represent good health. These were by far my favorite food, probably because they are just like candy. I can’t resist anything sweet!
Also delicious was the nishime, or root vegetables that have been simmered in water, sake, dashi, and mirin. Like the ozoni, they were warm and comforting, my favorite type of holiday food!
Not everything was Japanese-influenced, though. This being Hawaii, our meal came with a lot of different cultural influences, and I ate my ozoni and nishime with a side of his grandma’s delicious potato salad and some spicy Portugese sausage. Mmmm!
And, of course, with lots of dessert. Somehow I didn’t take pictures of anything but the jellies – I must have been too caught up with the party by then. But these jellies were delicious!
Best wishes to everyone during this new year! I hope that everything is going well for you so far, and that you had a great time! Come back tomorrow for some exciting news about Cambria!