Wednesday, December 6, 2006

An American Family

One of the things that always come out this time of year is the idea of "time honored traditions." Every other magazine or web page is asking what your favorite traditions are. Or suggesting new ones to add to your repertoire. And while I can say there are things that we do every year at Christmas time, I really don't think we have any set-in-stone traditions. So I guess that would be our tradition, is to not be traditional. We don't want Christmas to be something that is the same every year, where eventually, our kids go through the motions instead of remembering what's important to them about the holiday.

This year, Abigail has begun studying her nationalities at school. Instead of just one or two, the poor girl has a handful, and that has had me thinking that as a family, we are not just one nationality, and that truly makes us an American family. We're not immigrants, nor are we children of immigrants. Both born here, on American soil, with ancestors of several different nationalities. In trying to help Abigail learn a little about each of her nationalities, this year I will be making something from each country. Yesterday I posted about the Pierogi form her Polish heritage. Today I will be posting about her German heritage, and later I am still looking for things to explore her Dutch and Irish heritage with (I just don't think Irish whiskey is appropriate for a 6 year old.)

And so today I have a fantastic German cookie to share. Caramel Almond Wafers hail from the city of Bremen, Germany. The cookie itself is nice and buttery, with a fantastic crunch and texture to it. It reminds me of the perfect cross between a shortbread and a sugar cookie. This cookie base is topped with a caramelized cream and almond mixture before baking. It is a simple cookie once you've chilled the dough, and it was definitely worth making- it also makes the cut for the cookie platters this year. The only thing is that I would like a little more caramel flavor to the topping. The topping starts with cream and sugar which you reduce down. The end product really tasted a lot like sweetened condensed milk, and I can't help but wonder if that could be a shortcut. However, I'm really thinking that I need to try and make this cookie using a can of dulce de leche... I will most definitely report back if I do so. But in the meantime, you can find the recipe in the trove. It's a really good cookie.


Charise said...

Hi, I've been reading your blog for a couple months, but this is the first time I'm commenting.

For Ireland, shepherd's pie would be an easy thing to make, even though it's not super "traditional". There's also lamb stew, a traditional Irish breakfast, or colcannon, which is kind of mashed potatoes with cabbage and leek.

Again, Im not sure how authentically Irish this stuff is. When I studied abroad in Galway, we mostly ate a lot of basic food: sandwiches, potatoes, fish, etc.

Erika said...

Hi Charise! Thanks for the suggestions. I haven't made Shepherd's pie in ages, I really need to do that soon! I've also just found cookie recipes for an Irish Soda Cookie, and an Irish Whiskey Cookie. The whiskey cookie seems almost fruit-cake like to me, but I am thining about it. Course, then I need to locate Irish whiskey...

How exciting that you studied in Ireland!

Andy said...

you could always make some soda bread!