Sunday, December 11, 2011

Seasonal Radar

"These towels smell like Pookie," my husband said while holding a bath towel. "You know when he was out in the rain and came in smelling kind of musty," he continued. They did, and he was kind of happy smelling our stinky towels thinking about our beloved damp cat. That's what happens when you have a cold house on damp days and only a clothes rack to dry things.

The Mule told us, "My teacher complimented me in front of the whole class, out loud, for being such a good student and being able to speak English and Japanese." She, our daughter, was glowing. She cites her teacher frequently as the authority on just about everything so this was high praise to relish.

The Moose was obsessed with "Blue Christmas" after hearing the song at the Mule's hula dance recital today. He sang it the whole way home, again and again. We tried to tell him about the King. He thought I meant Michael Jackson. I had to clarify that Elvis came first and that he was the King of Rock. The Moose said, "How many kings are there?"

I would show you a clip of the Mule's hula dance except I forgot to turn on the camera. It was the first time for us to see her dance so I didn't notice that the camera wasn't filming; I had eyes only for her. I am pretty sure I am up for housekeeper and mother extraordinaire this week.

Strawberry season has begun here in Japan. As an American kid, I would have thought of summer as strawberry season, but not here. They grow in greenhouses between January and May thus the term ichigo (one five) being the name for strawberries in Japanese- month one to month five. They are really tasty! Strawberries are frequently used in Christmas cakes which are de rigueur this time of year, though we mostly just eat them- if we can get to them before the Moose.

My husband and I made apricot jelly doughnuts Saturday night, wild folks that we are. Of course I think most things deep fried taste good; these were! My husband thought our house smelled like the fair- fried dough does that to an Ohio boy. We're out of coffee so we ate them with beer. I think most things taste good with beer too. We'll be making those jelly doughnuts again.
Apricot jelly doughnuts
I am newly obsessed with butter pie crust having decided it tastes better than shortening. It works really well in my house because it so cold this time of year. Friday night I wore my down coat all evening, in my house; it was 50ºF, 10ºC for my Japanese friends, in my bedroom. Butter pie crust doesn't even need to be refrigerated at my house. We tried spinach, feta, and dill quiche as well as a potato and cheddar cheese quiche. I even made some little pies with chocolate ganache for the munsters. I still have pie left- it tastes great heated in the oven for 15 minutes at 300ºF (150ºC), but only four doughnuts.

It was my mom and my aunt's birthday (they are twins) so feeling a bit homesick the antidote was making pie and a rather tasty batch of doughnuts. Foods from childhood have a way of making you feel better thousands of miles away.

Our kokeshi doll crèche is on display. Mary is in red. In Japan red is a traditional color for a hero or heroine as in this case as well as a celebratory color. The munsters have been getting the daily advent stories out to read each morning- this seems the best advent countdown to me. The Moose, the most avid non reader reader in our house, is sure that somewhere there are more details on all the happenings. Our newest advent addition is the Playmobil Christmas Scene that you get to add to each day.

I feel like my seasonal radar is askew with strawberries, fried dough, advent, hula dancing, and a kokeshi crèche, but it is a fair reflection of the week gone by.
Hula Recital
It's Strawberry Season in Japan 
Kokeshi Crèche
Advent Calendar