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Dec 25, 2010 08:15 AM

Chinese Food and Christmas!

Today is Christmas and I am making my annual pilgrimage.... to the movies and a Chinese restaurant! I've also sometimes gone to the Bronx Zoo which is amazing as we have almost the entire park to ourselves. I just always find it so funny how this has become a pseudo- Jewish ritual:}

Does anyone else who is not Christian have a similar ritual?

To everyone who is, Merry Christmas!

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  1. maybe because the UK lagged behind for so long that nothing was open for Christmas and even still it's maybe just a corner shop for 4 hours or so or a gas station, that many British Jews make Christmas lunch, including turkey, stuffing, Xmas pud and mince pies. I remember our (Glatt) Kosher butcher telling my mother that he sells hundreds of Kosher turkeys the week before Christmas, 2 kinds of stuffing and lots of sausages and sausage meat.

    1 Reply
    1. re: smartie

      Smartie, I've noticed the same thing in France, though the meal choices are far more varied and often include smoked salmon. I'd often wind up spending Christmas with secular Jewish and Muslim friends, as France is so secular (though of course there are religious people of all religions). I have a friend in Paris who is strictly kosher, but she wouldn't eat most Chinese or Vietnamese food as there is obviously pork and searood present. I've never seen the attitude there of Asian food as "Kosher Treif".

      My family is nominally Catholic but utterly non-observant/lapsed.

      Nicole, different societies have different attitudes about the role of government regulations in terms of business hours. Many think it is up to government to ensure workers have days off to celebrate or simply rest - I'm thinking of democratic countries in Western Europe, not of any kind of "authoritarian" government. Canada is somewhere between the US laisser-faire attitude and the more regulatory attitude in many European countries. I've noticed VERY limited shopping hours when working in the Netherlands and in Germany.

    2. Officially Christian but definitely not a church goer, my spouse and I are going out for dim sum today. For a change, I'm not travelling for the Holidays, so it's just the two of us and I didn't want to cook a traditional Christmas dinner for two so that's why we're going out.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Chow Penguin

        we are also Christian decent Chinese-on - Christmas fans. Now to find a place in our new home, San Diego...
        I did cook a turkey dinner for Christmas Eve but love Chinese on Christmas.

      2. Like most Brits, we've had a festive lunchtime feast. Like most Brits, religion plays no part in our day.

        Our archaic law means today (as Easter Sunday) is a day when few commercial enterprises are legally able to open. Perhaps in due course, it will catch up to the fact that less than half of us claim an adherance to any religion and only some 10% of the population are active participants.

        I've just driven through the village centre. The only places open were two of the Indian restaurants.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Harters

          I remember being in Iceland during Easter. My travel agent had failed to warn me that almost nothing would be open. I was thankful to find a supermarket so I could eat. I agree that these laws are archaic; if a business owner wants to close up shop it should be their choice, not the government's. Especially on holdiays when there are many people looking for anything to be open.

        2. Well, we were supposed to leave today to go see our parents for two days of ham dinners and bad salad, and the family picture we always have to take a half-dozen times because I always close my eyes. But my boyfriend's soul-sucking harpy of a boss informed him that it was 'mandatory' that managers work Christmas eve, Christmas day, and the TWO DAYS following. She waited until the 23rd to inform him, even though she has had his holiday schedule in her possession for the last two weeks. That's right, we got scrooged. I had to call my mother and tell her that we weren't coming until Wednesday, the day after both of my brothers leave town. Maybe you heard her outraged screech from there?

          So, he's at work, I'm home (with a freshly cleaned out fridge, because we were leaving town) and feeling a bit blue . . . and then I remembered. People eat Chinese food on Christmas day! It's a little ritual enjoyed by many who do not partake in the ham dinner! I don't have to make bread-less, cheese-less onion soup for Christmas dinner, and serve with Triscuits, and canned black olives!

          And this has lifted my spirits immeasurably. We will eat Chinese food, drink whiskey, and watch It's a Wonderful Life in front of our Christmas tree.

          4 Replies
          1. re: onceadaylily

            I'm sorry to hear about your boyfriend. Enjoy your chinese, whiskey and christmas tree though! I must admit- while I love my menorah, I've always wished that Jews had something equivalent to a tree. (I don't do a "channukah bush"- it has no meaning).

            1. re: NicoleFriedman

              Nicole - Do a tree anyway. The tree isn't about baby Jesus - it's about light. I am Christian by birth, but not religious in any way and I love my tree. Sitting in your home on a cold dark night with the tree lit up - it really helps sustain a person through the dark time of year. Same goes for pine boughs and candles/lights throughout the house. And the smell is delicious.

            2. re: onceadaylily

              OADL - that absolutely SUX. i am so sorry to hear that. what a total Grinch your BF's boss is! I hope you had the best Chinese food ever, and warmed up your souls by the whiskey and the movie.

              my sister and i were ready to board the chinese-for-xmas-day train but my dad (catholic bolivian) thought it was insane. so.... we did the movie, and ate leftover ham. someday.....

              1. re: mariacarmen

                Ha, I, too, come from catholics. The catholics and their damn ham. The Chinese was as it always is, delicious at first, and then coma-inducing.

                I refuse to blame the whiskey.

            3. Movies and Chinese for many years. Also since the casinos have opened in Connecticut, there is far more choice. For years now before noon Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun are full of Jewish and Asian patrons. After noon there is a large influx of Christians in holiday garb.

              This year there are far more choices of places to go out on Christmas. I know of more than a dozen good restaurants that were open last night for dinnere and drinking. This morning I went around the corner to Dunkin Donuts with the kids. First year they're open.

              This afternoon we're going to the movies, followed by Chinese for supper with my wife's family. My mother is around the corner in a Catholic named nursing rehabilitaion center for some short term theraphy after a fall, so I brought her Matzo Ball soup for Friday night supper. She and her old school Italian roomate enjoyed it. Turns out the roommate owns an Italian restaurant nearby and she informed me that her family would be catering lunch today for my mother and herself. All kinds of baked pastas, salads and prime rib. Much better than nursing home fare.