January 5: more food prep

January 6, 2013 § Leave a comment

The Western world may be done with holidays, but Serbs and Russians are just getting started! Tomorrow is the Christmas Eve for some Orthodox Christians who don’t believe in the Gregorian calendar. (Serbs also have another new year coming next week.) I am not a practicing Christian, but living away from the motherland has made me observe certain traditions, and in all honesty, I always liked Christmas Eve. It is quite different from the American version. There is no shopping or gifts. Instead, people refrain from meat and dairy and perhaps go to the midnight mass. The traditional foods in my family were baked beans, potato salad, fish, dried fruit, and a bread loaf with a coin inside: whoever gets the coin will be prosperous in the coming year. This is the dinner we will have tomorrow. I made the potato salad tonight. It’s different from the American version: it contains only potatoes, onions, oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper. And it’s so much tastier than it sounds!

potato salad

Then I soaked the beans and decided I wasn’t done in the kitchen yet, so I made another recipe from my Homemade Pantry book: instant oatmeal. I know, I know. Why do I need instant oatmeal? And if I do need it, why don’t I just buy quick oats? I can’t give a good answer, other than that book can do no wrong. So I made it. Really, all you do is toast 6 cups of oats, put 4 cups in the food processor and pulse until the oats turn into powder, and them mix them with the remaining 2 cups. Add sugar and cinnamon of course, and a bit of salt. I will taste it tomorrow to see if it’s as good as it’s easy. Actually, my main motivation for making the instant oatmeal is an upcoming road trip. We are cheap and always eat our own food in hotel rooms. What better food than homemade instant oatmeal?

instant oatmeal

I can’t help but feel smug when I make my own food from scratch instead of buy it, even if it is more expensive and time consuming. It’s worth it, I say.


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