Friday, December 19, 2008

Christmas Countdown

New Zealand's Pohutukawa tree - because of the fact it flowers at Christmas it is now known as the Kiwi Christmas Tree.

Well I have to do something that is remotely 'Christmassy' - so I figured some images of things that us Kiwi's associate with Christmas might be in order. I look at the blogs of others & they are resplendent with images that I associate with my Mum's tales of a white northern hemisphere Christmas.

You know this 'heat lovin' southern hemisphere chick almost feels kind of envious!

Over the years New Zealand has taken on it's own Christmas icons, even whilst retaining a lot of the northern hemisphere traditions bought here from the United kingdom by our fore bearers. We still have the traditional turkey, cake & fruit mince pies, Christmas pudding & brandy sauce, trifle, eggnog, Christmas crackers, & always, always a batch (or two or three) of buttery shortbread. Then there's the traditional Christmas tree, although I did see one not so long ago decorated entirely in brightly coloured miniature flip flops!!

Some of it has always seemed rather incorrigible in the southern hemisphere sunshine & heat - with not much likelihood of snow & no need for wonderful roaring open fires, so many traditions have evolved. My memories as a child consist of a bunch of tanned youngsters spending all the time they could at the beach or in a pool swimming, many picnics & numerous family outings. We sat down long enough to eat dinner....if forced!

fresh fruit saladFresh Fruit Salad - almost like mine!

These days a lot of Kiwi's now have BBQ's instead of the traditional dinner, years ago we replaced turkey with chicken (my fault - turkey is not something I have ever enjoyed that much) & glazed ham.... I don't like that either, but hey I'm content with chicken & Mum's stuffing! With too much of the heavier winter fare not sitting well on warm summer days, desserts often consist fresh fruit salads, & pavlovas - although I have yet to see a Christmas without the pudding & more often than not the trifle as well, albeit a lighter version.

Ahhh Kiwi Christmases can be a real blend of the old & the new.

pavlova a kiwi inventionA Real Kiwi Pavlova

Now Australia likes to lay claim to having invented the Pavlova - while searching around for a good description (instead of just saying an 'over sized meringue') I found this:

“The pavlova is an Australian or New Zealand dessert, a single-layered meringue cake with a crisp crust and soft, marshmallow centre, topped with whipped cream and fruit. The confection was popularised when the Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova toured Australasia in 1925. Whether the final perfecting and naming of the cake was the achievement of Australians or New Zealanders is a matter of national rivalry. One explanation of the pavlova’s origins is that a West Australian chef found a recipe in a New Zealand women’s magazine and adapted it – an explanation which happily gives each country its own piece of the cake.”

Sorry – but this just tickles me. It has long since been established that the first published recipe for it was found in a New Zealand cookbook. So given the fact that this states it was published magazine…the real question is “should there even be any debate?” – lol! The aussie's at best might have re-named it ......


angelinabeadalina said...

Yummmmmmm! BBQ and fruit salad with lots of strawberries sounds really good :) I do love turkey, though, and would pout all during the holiday if no one wanted to have a turkey, dressing, and mashed potatoes meal. Still, I also can't imagine that meal in the summertime. You guys must feel like the world's neglected stepchildren when it comes to holidays-- all the northern hemisphere influence on images and traditions. I think you should create an incredible new holiday with southern hemisphere flair and promote it to the hilt :)

rosebud101 said...

I love your traditions, too. You would never miss the snow though if you were here. We have lots to share!

Deb said...

Ang - it seems we blend the old with the new, depending on the year & where the actual family get together is held.

The chickens are still roasted & served with all the trimmings, as well as roast potatoes, sweet potatoes, greens, glazed carrots & such when we have it. This year will be a real mixture - the size 30 chooks will be spit roast on the BBQ, the vegetables roasted in the oven... & there will be salads etc as well, to go with the glazed ham (& cold chicken later). It truly caters to all tastes - but I just don't care so long as there is the stuffing & fresh fruit salad - rofl!