Merry Christmas! I hope all of you are doing well and that your celebrations were filled with happiness, laughter, and good food! For our part, this year marked the 20th Christmas that Aaron and I have spent together. Like every one of those other Christmases, it was one of the best days of my life (despite the unusual circumstances and challenges this year has brought). We decided that with the world feeling so uncertain, and the need to remain socially distanced from others, it would be the perfect opportunity to stay home, wear knitted sweaters and jeans, and enjoy a classic early-to-mid twentieth century dinner; pure, old-school comfort food that envoked a sense of warmth and safety, friends and family, prosperity and peace.
Listening to Christmas Music and Cooking a Dutch Oven Tortellini Soup with Italian Sausage and Bread
One afternoon last week, we decided to test a new Dutch Oven Tortellini Soup with Italian Sausage recipe while drinking eggnog and listening to Christmas music. It provided leftovers for several days, making our lives easier during the newest shelter-in-place lockdown in California.
Walk into a French café and you might discover a dish called Croque Monsieur, which translates as “Mr. Crunch”. Add a sunny-side up egg on top and it becomes a Croque Madame, or “Mrs. Crunch”, the gender shift occurring because the egg resembles the sort of hat women would frequently wear in a by-gone era. Croque Monsieur and Croque Madame can range from the easy and convenient to the rich and decadent depending on the money, time, and calories you are willing to sacrifice.
I want to officially thank the people of The Netherlands for one of their greatest contributions to human civilization: the Stroopwafel. How I managed to go 36 years of life without ever experiencing the joy that is this amazing combination of toasted waffle, caramel, cinnamon, and vanilla is beyond me. My Stroopwafel obsession has gotten to the point that Aaron laughs at me because I just can’t help myself. It’s so bad that because I try to limit my daily consumption of sugar, I actually look forward to going to bed just knowing that I can get up and have another Stroopwafel. This is out of control.
There is a bubble tea shop called Omomo in Irvine, California that Aaron wanted to try. He mentioned it for a few weeks then, on a whim back on March 20th, we decided to go discover for ourselves why it is so popular.
Sometime within the last week, Aaron and I were talking and he brought up a dish many of you will probably remember: Beef Stroganoff. We talked about how it seemed like nearly everyone raised in the 1980s and 1990s (at least in the Midwest) ate it regularly, often of the Hamburger Helper variety. It was ubiquitous, reaching worldwide popularity after emerging from Russia during the 19th century. You could not get away from this stuff – you ate it at home, you ate it when visiting family or friends, you at it at school, you ate it at church events.
There is a Korean restaurant in irvine, California known as 도시락, or Dosirak. It sells boxed Korean lunches and they are delicious! I highly recommend it.
Happy Thanksgiving to all of you! I hope you and your family had a wonderful holiday! This year, Aaron and I did something we haven’t done since college: we didn’t cook or bake for Christmas, instead catering it so we could focus on work.
While there is still a lot to get done, our place in Newport Beach is coming along nicely. After returning from Missouri, where we had been for several weeks in order to continue our planned personal and professional relocation from the state, we finally stocked the kitchen and started cooking!