December 25, 2009

What Jews do on Christmas

For those of you who would like to know what the rest of the world does when so many celebrate Christmas, here is our typical day.

EVE: Eat dinner, maybe with friends. Watch a movie.
We actually hosted friends for dinner. Afterwards he went to volunteer overnight at a shelter and she stayed with us for a sleepover. We watched "Night at the Museum 2" which was filmed in several Smithsonian Institution museums and along the National Mall. It was funny, but boy do you have to know your history to get all the jokes!

DAY: Meet friends for Chinese food. (This is a long-standing American Jewish tradition. For many years the only places open on Xmas Day were Chinese restaurants because most Chinese didn't celebrate Christmas.) Watch a movie. Get together with friends to play board games. Go skiiing.
We ate breakfast in our jammies, and our friend N stayed until it was time to leave for lunch at Chiang's Gourmet, which serves the best Chinese food in Seattle. There were eight of us at lunch and we feasted on vegetarian spare ribs, tea smoked duck, three mushrooms, tofu with vegetables, garlic eggplant and vegetable mu shu. We arrived at 1 PM and the restaurant was half full, but half an hour later it was packed with many more Chinese-American families and a few Jews.

After lunch everyone came over here to hang out. We ate dessert and played games (Scrabble, Mille Bornes and Dominion). We watched the unaired pilot of "I Love Lucy" (probably unaired because it was spectacularly too long and poorly written. The best scene was Lucy as a clown "professor" of music, trying to help Ricky's band in their audition for television. Naturally, Lucy gets offered the job.)

And because December 25th fell on a Friday this year, our friends stayed for a potluck Shabbat dinner. L brought a salad, N and K made mashed potatoes, C helped me make pumpkin-peanut soup, A brought cold drinks and I roasted a beer-butt chicken and kale chips (recipe below). I don't know how we managed to eat again after such a huge lunch, but somehow the food disappeared.

From lunch through dinner, we spent almost as much time together as our Christian friends did with their family and friends.

I was so pooped after everyone left that I fell asleep on the sofa.

(Serves eight, recipe halves easily)

2 bunches kale, stems removed and cut into 2" pieces
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
A few pinches of kosher salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Whisk together vinegar, oil, and salt, and toss with kale leaves. Place in a single layer on cookie sheet and place into oven. Bake 10-15 minutes, flipping halfway through until crispy. Do not overcook or allow them to become completely brown as they will then taste bitter. Enjoy!


  1. Sounds like you had a blast!!!!

  2. To me..... that sounds like a perfect Christmas, just perfect.

  3. Food. Fun and games. Friends. Really, sounds just about perfect to me!

    I've never had a beer butt chicken. It's one of those things I always meant to try.