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Deck the Halls with MSG

December 20, 2010

The Christmas Eve tradition of my childhood began the way many things in my life do: with dumb luck and poor planning. As a child, the night before Christmas was just something to get through until the big show the next morning. A token gift could be opened that evening, which only made waiting for present-palooza that much more interminable.

Then one year when I was about eight-years-old, we were out doing errands on Christmas Eve and my mother (most likely in an attempt to avoid another hash meal) suggested that we stop for dinner at a restaurant. And by “restaurant”, I mean McDonald’s.

The golden arches were closed that night (this was back when malls were closed on Sundays…and telephones had cords), so we set out for Chinatown, reasoning that someone had to be feeding heathens such as ourselves who weren’t in church.

Sure enough, the Silver Dragon was packed. We saw some of my Jewish friends from school – and more than a few shifty-eyed WASPs – digging into some noodley goodness. We had such a good time that my family still goes there over thirty years later (zip it with your math). I’ve even transported this Christmas Eve custom to my new home, although it morphed to include sushi or Korean barbecue followed by chocolate fondue.

And that is how, while searching desperately through the cold streets for a warm meal, a tradition was born; not unlike the story of Mary and Joseph looking for a place to birth the Son of God, only with egg rolls.

Nothing says Merry Christmas like Moo Goo Gai Pan

23 Comments leave one →
  1. ryoko861 permalink
    December 20, 2010 8:33 am

    OMG, my husband and I were actually thinking about going to the Chinese buffet on CHRISTMAS DAY!! It’s just the four of us (we’re so anti social) and why make a holiday meal for just us? We could start our own “A Christmas Story” dinner tradition at the BO LING restaurant.

    • December 20, 2010 6:53 pm

      I need to do a post on how anti-social my husband is…

      I say GO FOR IT with the buffet!

  2. December 20, 2010 9:13 am

    It’s a Christmas Eve story right out of A Christmas Story – minus the turkey destroyed by a wild pack of dogs and pink bunny suit. 🙂

    Like inventions and children – some of the coolest things begin by accident. 🙂

    Now if you could just send some wet snow our way for snowman building, my Tackler would be most grateful….

    • December 20, 2010 6:55 pm

      Ok. This may cause all of my readers to desert me, but I’ve never seen A Christmas Story. I think I’d better rent it, because I’m missing references all over the place at this time of year…

      • December 21, 2010 8:08 am

        I think you would appreciate the humor. I was late seeing it myself (college) and some friends rectified the situation. 🙂

        Which reminds me – I’m told Iust watch Scrooged…

      • December 21, 2010 8:38 am

        And don’t forget Bad Santa – BJas is not speaking to me until I watch it…

      • December 21, 2010 8:10 am

        That’s must, not lust… Damn mobile autocorrect…

      • December 21, 2010 8:38 am

        Hmmm…I say it was Freudian…

  3. December 20, 2010 10:50 am

    Love it! We do sushi takeout. Since I already have my dining room table beautifully set for the big show, I set our coffee table and we eat on cushions. But I take the sushi out of the boxes they put it in for us and arrange it on china. The kids love it and so does my clean stove (that I of course demolish the next day)!

    • December 20, 2010 6:56 pm

      Love the sushi and love that your kids love it! My son was on a raw octopus kick for a few months but told me 2 weeks ago that he’s “outgrown sushi”, hence the Korean bbq this year – whatever doesn’t involve my stove works for me!

  4. December 20, 2010 12:49 pm

    This sounds like a little piece of heaven.All the more reason to avoid family at Christmas…just me, the hubs and the kid. Perfect!

  5. December 20, 2010 2:44 pm

    Christmas + Chinese = Heaven
    I dont know about you .. but I am def making this a tradition

  6. TheIdiotSpeaketh permalink
    December 20, 2010 5:18 pm

    I wish I could get my family into that tradition. I could eat Asian every Holiday and would be a happy camper.

  7. December 20, 2010 10:36 pm

    I love this. We were the same kind of family. And since Moo Goo is my absolute favorite, that just got me right here.

    Fra ra ra ra ra

  8. December 20, 2010 10:40 pm

    Wait…what?!?! I just went to read other comments…you must watch that movie. It’s s moral imperative.

  9. December 21, 2010 12:29 am

    “only with egg rolls” – that satisfied me almost as much as pork fried rice.

    What a delicious tradition! Because who the hell wants to be cooking on Christmas Eve? Or ever? But that’s just me.

    • December 21, 2010 8:41 am

      What until you read about the 1/2 cooked turkey I’m buying for the big day – it’s vacuum-sealed and then you put it in the over for a few hours…it’ll either kill us all or be the greatest. turkey. ever.

  10. December 21, 2010 1:36 am

    I am so with you on this one. We’re doing sushi next year.

    • December 21, 2010 8:39 am

      It’s awesome. The place we do to even gives out presents (hand towels with their logo, but still: presents)!


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