Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Bagels, Lox And Egg Nog: But What Happened To Chinese Food On Christmas?

December Dilemma: What Chinese Restaurant Shall We Go To For Christmas ?

When I grew up in New York , I thought everyone was Jewish (o.k. almost everyone) because most of the schools would empty out on Jewish holidays. Back in the day, the December dilemma was which one of the many great Chinese restaurants that catered to Jewish customers on Christmas would families choose. The other December dilemma, how to blend mixed religions into holiday observance was not quite the topic of the day, just yet.

The Windows Glowed With The Light Of Menorahs: Yearning For Some Christmas Bling 

I secretly wished as a kid to be invited to someone's home for Christmas to help them decorate the family Christmas tree with pretty lights and ornaments.  Every once in awhile I would get the chance to get in on some Christmas traditions, sip a little Eggnog, hum a Christmas song, but for the most part, Chanukah was our turf! If you wanted to see colorful  Christmas lights  you had to drive to another neighborhood. The windows on many streets in the suburbs of NYC  glowed with the light of Menorahs.

Sitting On Santa's Lap In Bloomingdales Circa 1950s 

I do admit that my parents did take me and my sister to Bloomingdales ( that was the one in Fresh Meadows) to sit on Santa's lap for picutres. I have no idea how or why my parents snuck in this activity, but it makes for some interesting conversation when my adult kids are poking through tmy old photo albums.

Where Do You Get Decent Bagels?

Once I moved out of New York, I learned a few critical things about customs and neighbors in the 1950s-1960s. The first awakwening was that the T.V. channels are not the same everywhere. You are laughing, but for  a long time I had no idea that CBS wasn't  channel 2 everywhere. Another epiphany for me ws that Jewish people were far and  few between once you left the suburbs of New York.  This reallism also mean't that getting fab bagles, lox, pastrami  or even Chineses food on Christmas was not that easy once you hit the two hour away mark (and behyond) from NYC. I could also add terrific Pizza to the mix , but Pizza deserves it's own blog.

It's A Merry Merry Thai Christmas

Returning to the connection of Chinese food and Christmas for Jewish families. For years, many Jewish families with no place to go on Christmas would end up in one of the many local and very good Chinese restaurants that competed for holiday business. The tines they are changing, because  fewer and fewer restaurants of all kinds are surviving the times.

Chinese December Dilemma

And you are lucky if you can even find one good Chinese reataurant open at all anytime in some areas . This year we found a great Thai food restaurant for Christmas eve but ran into some Chinese food dilemmas on Christmas day. I ended up heating up the leftovers from the Thai restaurant for Christmas day dinner. What in the world is happening to our traditions?

Readers, feel free to share your holiday stories. I'll  be back to my desk a little later, but  as Barbra Streisand has said before...."talk abmongst yourselves".....till I get back.

C. Dianne Zweig is the author of Hot Kitchen & Home Collectibles of the 30s, 40s, 50s and Hot Cottage Collectibles for Vintage Style Homes. She is also the Editor of I Antique Online an actively growing internet based resource community for people who buy, sell or collect antiques, collectibles and art. You can find Dianne’s fabulous retro and vintage kitchen, home and cottage collectibles at The Collinsville Antiques Company of New Hartford, CT, a 22,000 feet antique emporium with an in-house retro café. To read more articles by C. Dianne Zweig click on this link: C. Dianne Zweig’s Blog Kitsch ‘n Stuff Email me at Visit my website, Dianne is a member of: The American Society of Journalists and Authors The Society of Professional Journalists

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