Although my friends and I all seem to be pretty adamant about making very specific Thanksgiving dishes, I’m much more flexible about my Christmas meal as long as it’s good. Last year, my friend from Wakayama visited me, and we made a small Christmas dinner at my place: stuffed chicken breast, canned chunky cranberry sauce (can’t get fresh cranberries in Ishikawa), and mulled wine. This year, my husband and I said to hell with Christmas dinner and took a short trip to Kansai for the long weekend. We didn’t manage to get our hands on Christmas cake or KFC (mercifully?) and we didn’t budget in or bring appropriate transport for a whole bird, even though we found some. Instead, we celebrated with microbrews at Minoh Brewery, oden, and pork buns.
The one thing that is absolutely necessary for me to have around Christmas is cookies. Instead of hosting a All Holidays Welcome potluck, we hosted a Cookie Exchange. These are especially nice in Japan where our movens/oven ranges are quite small compared to how they are in the US, and, from what I gather, the UK, Europe, and other “bread cultures.” I offered up the use of my oven range, as well, since mine is on the large side. We got all the standards: sugar cookie cutouts, gingerbread cookies, gingersnaps, snickdoodles, coffee cookies and panettone from the import store, and even some homemade peppermint marshmallows!
Normally, I don’t like to post without giving out the recipes, but the gingerbread cutouts were a pain to cut-out and might just end up being gingerbread drop cookies, and I need to extract the sugar-cookie recipe from my husband and give it another run since I was at work when he made them. (Plus the pictures aren’t so great….)
Happy cookie-filled holidays to all!