This year we celebrated the holidays with the SweCan sailing family. You may recall that we parted ways with SV Okestern (Caroline & Johannes) and SV Ninita (Nina & Ola) in Tanna, Vanuatu, in early October so it was awesome to reunite in Sydney.
Our line up of holiday events spanned four days. Swedes have their main celebration on Christmas Eve, so the eve before Christmas Eve is ‘Waiting Up’ night … Hmm. It involves staying up, drinking ‘glögg’ (aka mulled wine) and watching movies. It wasn’t hard to convince us to join in.
On the 24th, they set up a beautiful Swedish ‘Christmas Table’ (buffet). The five different types of pickled herring had them all licking their lips, but the tastiness just didn’t translate for Will and I. We did eat smoked salmon, special baked bread, hard bread, ham, egg with caviar spread, beetroot, sausages, Swedish meatballs, and more ginger cookies and sweets. Snaps and singing punctuated the meal and before we knew it Christmas Eve lunch had extended well past midnight…
On December 25th, I had to drag myself out of bed to start the Canadian Christmas cooking. I’ve never had sole ownership of the task before, so I figured that cheating on various parts of the meal would be forgivable.
Up first was making pumpkin pie. I had begun my search for canned pumpkin a week earlier. There is an abundance of pumpkin in Australia (pumpkin served in EVERYTHING here) so when I brought up the concept of canned pumpkin puree, I got a few laughs and the question: why wouldn’t you just buy pumpkins and puree them yourself? I almost thought I would have to. However – I found a great online forum of North Americans also dedicated to the quest for canned pumpkin in Australia. Tipped off to one particular store, Will and I rushed over there last week and bought the second to last can of pumpkin puree on the shelf – for $9.99.
The turkey was also very easy. Warm summer temperatures mean that it’s acceptable (or perhaps most common) for turkey to be eaten cold. So – I was able to buy a pre-cooked cold turkey from the local grocery store. An hour in the oven on low – and Voila! The stuffing was made on the stove top, the gravy out of a package, the frozen brussle sprouts boiled, bread sauce in a pot, and the potatoes and sweet potatoes roasted as per usual technique. Hmm, maybe I cheated a bit too much?
Regardless, my Christmas dinner tasted just like the real deal. It even induced multiple ‘turkey comas’.
Our holiday festivities didn’t end there… we are in Sydney after all! The start of the Sydney to Hobart Race is always scheduled for December 26th, Boxing Day, regardless of weather (!). Here’s where (finally) an Australian tradition made its way into our schedule. New friends Dan and Maxine invited us to watch the race and enjoy a Boxing Day seafood lunch at their home. Wow – we had a fantastic view from a park on Middle Head and the celebrations continued….
Were we celebrating NOT being out there ourselves, sailing towards a gale? Perhaps.