When it comes to food I am undeniably multicultural. Back home, we were probably the only family in our neighborhood with a rice cooker, we had soy sauce as a staple condiment on our dinner table, we loved cold cuts and potato salad and yet no meal was complete without bread. But when it comes to Christmas, our dinner feast has always been unmistakably “Français”. I talked to my dad over the phone yesterday and he happily announced how he already bought champagne bottles to kick of the evening and goose foie gras (torchon style, not pan-fried or seared like found here!) that we'll simply eat with toast and a glass of Muscat or Sauterne. My mom will cook a delicious meal, maybe a turkey with chestnuts or a roast beef with red wine sauce and baby potatoes. On my side, I have already found a recipe for a hopefully scrumptious “bûche de Noel”, literally a Yule log. It’s a layered Génoise spongecake in shape of a wood log with plenty of creamy chocolate ganache and frosting.
On Christmas Eve, it’s usually just the four of us; my parents, my sister and me. We would traditionally go to hear mass early, then feast on all things decadent over dinner and finally move on to opening up our gifts while dancing, laughing and taking the obligatory pictures of each other. In the past 3 years, we didn’t manage to spend the holiday season together. So this year is like a reunion. I planned the dessert, but also thought of ordering authentic French walnut bread from James the Baker (and croissants for the next morning perhaps…), French wine from le Sommelier and made a song compilation of French classics.
Away from home, I feel the need to expose my cultural roots more. By not doing so, I’d be concerned to forget about them, to lose them. For example, I have never listened to as much French music, as since I have moved to Manila. And I now understand that this is also the reason why I had such apprehensions leaving AF. Working within French culture brought me closer to my roots, roots that I am scared of losing. But I also know I need to move on. And luckily, one doesn’t exclude the other. I just need to find a balance between past and future while happily living in the present. And meanwhile, I look forward to our family Christmas dinner, without rice and soy sauce this time.