Friday, December 2, 2016

Holiday Season at the HNC

It’s easy to assume that living in China might make celebrating “traditional” American holidays, such as Thanksgiving, somewhat tricky. Admittedly, there are a few logistical issues, such as the difference between appliances found in a Chinese kitchen and in an American one—most Chinese kitchens are not equipped with an oven— and trying to find certain items that are harder to come by at a Chinese supermarket—i.e. condensed milk. But don’t let that discourage you! I recently celebrated my first Chinese Thanksgiving here at the HNC and found that it was surprisingly easy to accomplish and any extra effort I put in was definitely worth it in the end.

As I started preparing for Thanksgiving, the first challenge was finding the proper ingredients. One of my favorite shops in the area is Times Grocery, an imported goods store on Shanghai Road just two blocks away from the HNC. The lady who owns the shop is always friendly and will offer to help you find whatever you’re looking for. The shop is small but packed with literally everything you might need to prepare and variety of 西菜. After picking up some Australian flower, canned pumpkin, Irish butter, and other necessities, I was feeling more confident in my ability to at least put together a few pies.

Times Grocery, for all your imported grocery needs
At the center, we’re lucky enough to have a week-long holiday falling over Thanksgiving. I haven’t had the chance to do much cooking since moving to Nanjing, so I was particularly excited about the opportunity to host a Thanksgiving get-together with the help of my roommate and some friends. Thanks to a friend’s toaster oven and kitchen, we made good use of our extra vacation time, preparing staples like cornbread, pies, green beans, mashed potatoes, and more pie.

Learning how to make apple pie
Though I always enjoy Thanksgiving as an excuse to spend a few days preparing (and eating) some of my favorite homemade foods, this holiday was especially fun as I was able to introduce some of my Chinese friends to an American holiday. It’s always funny to see people’s first reaction to a new dish, or way of preparing food. For example, I made a pumpkin sweet-bread and I had also put some butter out on the table to spread on it. My roommate asked me why anyone would want to put butter on cake. To which my typical American answer was, “ 为什么不!?”
The pies didn’t last for long

However and wherever you choose to celebrate, have a safe and happy holiday season!

Written by Amanda Bogan, HNC Certificate '17