Candy at OEH – Part 5

HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE! I wish you and all your loved ones a wonderful 2019.

Yes! The holidays, please notice it’s plural. It includes Christmas, New Year’s, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Winter Solstice as the main ones I can recall without an internet search. This is time of the year to gather with friends and family to do the most basic of human needs Eat, Drink, and Be Merry! This is also a religious time for many as well as a time to reflect, plus set new life goals for the New Year.

How these holidays are celebrated VARY amongst most people in the world sometimes withi the same family, as well as who celebrates them. After being in Japan for as long as I have, it’s become quite interesting what I have to do to keep my family traditions alive. Especially on the topic of food. Naturally, I have to make sacrifices as a result of being an expat in Japan. For example, none of my mom’s sweet potato pie or my aunt’s green bean casserole.

This holiday season, I had the additional challenge of having a new significant other who insisted on having something as authentic as possible for Kwanzaa specifically seeing as it is AMERICAN. Mainly because living and working in Japan may mean working on Christmas day. Here in Japan, the menu is pretty much decided-Christmas cake, chicken, sushi and ice cream. Not to mention, I only celebrate Christmas with my students, even if I was still living in Wisconsin. So I was ready to introduce him to a Kwanzaa style meal.

A super brief history lesson about Kwanzaa, the Swahili word for “First Fruits”. It’s a 7 day holiday that starts December 26th. Each day has a principle that celebrants focus on, as they light a kinara (candles), decorate their homes with fruit and vegetables, wear special African clothes, and eat special dishes. This holiday is mainly celebrated by people of African descent that reside in the United States in honor of the African harvest time, family unity and life.

 So, on to the food!! My menu this Kwanzaa started off big and super adventurous, as well as EARLY. Although I have the internet to help me and online shopping in English as well as Japanese, the early bird can catch TWO worms. I choose the following in picture order

1. Collard greens with bacon

2. Shrimp creole

3. Sweet potato pecan pie with graham cracker crust

4. Cornbread

5. Black-eyed peas salad

6. Smoked turkey legs

7. Macaroni and cheese

8. Spicy okra and corn

To be continued…