Happy holidays to all my friends and family, especially those currently celebrating Hanukkah and those (including myself) who are about to welcome the christmas season 2014. Today I was reflecting on just that, Christmas. Chatting with a friend the other day, she mentioned how the holidays might be different for our family next year. She shared a story of a friend of hers who adopted from China and has had to learn a lot about the culture and traditions so her daughter feels connected. Since our family will be adopting from Peru I feel it eases that concern for us just a bit. You see we still continue the traditions I grew up with. We still make Peruvian dishes and desserts quite regularly and we switch to Spanish quite often in the home. Reflecting on what that would mean to a child, allow me to paint a picture of a Peruvian christmas…..well more like a Peruvian-American christmas now. Its not clean, pretty or even postcard worthy but its fun, its messy and its ours.
My husband is very American, native american to be exact, but he has adopted our customs and traditions like a boss. He loves the food, understands the language and I like to think he is lulled by the constant bickering and yelling that happens when his Peruvian family gets together….well the verdict is still out on that!
We celebrate christmas at midnight on the 24th of December. My family starts arriving early on the 24th and we start preparing our traditional holiday dishes as early as 5pm so we can be ready by 10:30 or 11 that night. The foods that are served are:
- Peruvian picadillo: Mixture of ground pork and chicken with walnuts, raisins, celery, hard-boiled eggs in a tomato and onion paste
- Rice: Because God forbid we have a meal without it, pure craziness I tell you.
- Turkey: In the oven mostly very dry but recently, thanks to my husband’s green egg grill, it is moist and delicious.
- salad: My mom likes to ALWAYS include a salad with every meal we have. She feels it makes it healthy, never mind the starches and sweets we inhale on that day.
- Desserts: Our favorite christmas dessert, and the only thing Peruvians inhale faster than rice, is Paneton. This is an Italian fruitcake that has been made with nothing but butter and dried fruit. Peruvians love this stuff, and most of them add more butter.
- Beverages: To drink we have the usual Peruvian drinks of Inka Kola, chicha morada, LOTS and LOTS of wine and beer and to go along with our present exchange, Peruvian hot chocolate. This is my favorite!
When a Peruvian child joins this beautiful mess we have here I hope they feel they don’t have to go far to have a connection to their roots. I want them to feel they belong. They will never forget their traditions, their language and like it or not the craziness that Peru is, will always be experienced in one day, at least at christmas time.