by Pam Peters

November 26, 2011

When you live in another country with a completely different culture long enough, all the occasions that were so huge back home, like thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, sometimes go completely uncelebrated or even unnoticed. Considering these times are usually spent with family, and your family is in another country, it kind of makes sense.

However, at other times the feeling of nostalgia can be very strong, producing cravings and desires that can only be satisfied with some good ole home-cooking.

Christmas in my family’s home was mostly food centered—but looking back this food is what brought us together, both the preparation of and gorging on, some tried-and-true dishes, some experiments and always plenty of baking.  My mother often participated in a Christmas baking swap, which meant that everyone, her coworkers, friends and neighbors, each prepared large amounts of one of their favorite baked goods, then swapped with the others so everyone ended up with a smorgasbord of baking for the holiday season without having to spend so much time in the kitchen.

When it came to Christmas dinner, my mother’s specialty was her stuffing which was never dry and each year had a new surprise ingredient, like, apples, walnuts, cranberries, garlic, or lemon zest. When I started making my own stuffing, the competitive side in me wanted to make my stuffing better, tastier, worthier. And the stuffing wars began. Completely different but with a hint of tradition my sausage cornbread stuffing with sage, and rosemary crowned me queen and secured my position as  stuffing maker for years to come.

Those of you who have ovens I hope you give my stuffing recipe a try. And because more often than not, kitchens in China do not have ovens I am providing, not only a no-bake corn bread recipe to use for the stuffing, but also some no-bake desserts to sweeten your Christmas season.

May the spirit of the season be with you!

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Cornbread and Sausage Stuffing

2 cups fine yellow cornmeal

2 cups all purpose flour

2 tablespoons sugar

1 tablespoon baking powder (pao4da3fen3 - available at most small markets as well as Metro and Special Tastes Import Store)

2 teaspoons salt

2 cups milk

2/3 cup butter or oil

2 eggs

1 jin (pound) Harbin (no fat) sausage, chopped

1 cup chopped onions

1 green pepper, finely chopped

1 cup chopped celery

4 cloves garlic minced

1 teaspoon ground black pepper (go to pg 2 for instructions and other recipes)

by Pam Peters

November 26, 2011

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