For the first 10 years (or so) of my life, the holiday trifecta was split between my moms and my dads families. Because Kikukat Dad's family really had their shit together, they were able to put on lunch gatherings. We went to Uncle A's house for Thanksgiving, Aunty C's house for Christmas, and Gramma's house for New Years Day. For each of those holidays, we'd end up at my grandparents' house (parents of Kikukat Mom) for dinner.
When I was about 10, things changed with Kikukat Dad's family, and suddenly, everyone was put on a rotation. With the rotation came the dish assignment by the host and the keeping of a tablet to note what people brought each year (so the same people wouldn't get stuck bringing sashimi to every party and the same cheap asses wouldn't get away with bringing roasted turkey hindquarters each year). I don't know if any of the aunties took notice, but we ended up with the same food at every party: bbq sticks, fried chicken, sashimi, and potato macaroni salad. Sure, there was the turkey & trimmings at Thanksgiving, ham at Christmas, and soba at New Years, but, for the most part, it was the same food at every party. BORING.
Now that I sometimes find myself as the host, I try and do a better job. First of all, I try not to have too many people bring stuff because then I hear a bunch of lame excuses about how they were late because they had to make this-or-that. And if that's not bad enough, there are those assholes who show up at party time with uncooked food and expect me to cook it (uh, maybe if you showed up 2 fricking hours earlier I might be more inclined to cook the food for you). And most importantly, some people make food which I don't care for (e.g., Kikukat Mom's potato-spaghetti salad. . .its full of peas, which is on the same level as the devil's condiment). Why should I ask people to bring food I won't eat!?! Sure, I know people ask for others to bring certain things, and that pisses me off. . .hello, you are a guest. . .eat what I serve or don't come. Attending is YOUR choice.
Now that I'm exhausted from my rant, its time to sharpen the claws for the dreaded phone call from Kikukat Mom. . ."can we come to your house for _______. I'll make all the food." Uh, yeah, right. Since when did that ever happen? I'm still licking my wounds from last New Years. In spite of someone else "making all the food", I ended up making a whole bunch of stuff AND having rude guests steal beverages from my bar (you know who you are, you idiot---and don't think we didn't see you grab pie with your bare hands).
Alas, I don't think I'll magically grow a pair and be able to hold strong against Kikukat Mom, so I suppose I should just go along from the get-go, instead of fighting every step of the way. After all, I end up capitulating anyway. Shit. And I might as well start thinking of things I can throw together in a hurry. . .just like I did last year.
Cucumber Seaweed Namasu was one of the dishes I made for the endless New Years party. It was quick to throw together so it didn't take up much of my time. Because its so colorful, it looked very festive on the holiday (local-style) table.
2 Japanese cucumbers, sliced thin on the diagonal and then cut in
1/2 lb ogo or 1 pkg (8 g) dried seaweed "salad"
1/2 carrot, julienned thinly
1 kamaboko, sliced into thin strips
1 can ajitsuke kogai
6 tbsp sugar
6 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tsp salt
If using ogo, pour boiling water over ogo, drain, and rinse under cold water. Drain well and cut into 2" pieces. If using dried seaweed "salad", soak in 10 cups of cold water for 10 minutes then drain well. Combine sugar, rice vinegar and salt in a small jar with a lid. Shake until sugar and salt are dissolved. In a large bowl, combine cucumbers, ogo/seaweed, carrot, kamaboko, and ajitsuke kogai. Pour dressing over and toss gently. Chill for at least 2 hours before serving.
Beneath the tropic skies of Hilo. . .
A HUGE shout-out goes to the HHS Viking football team. . .BIIF Division I champs!
They beat the Kealakehe Waveriders on a wet Saturday evening to claim a berth in the state tournament. Way to go, boyz! We are so proud.
. . .loyalty and honor shall forever be thine