Late to Christmas – A Card and Tree

I received the card pictured below a few days before Christmas and was taken by its glittering beauty. I placed it on a radiator cover in my house in order to simply photograph it, only to discover that the black marble top created a lovely reflection as well, making it even more magical. And, so, I decided to create this late Christmas card for you all by adding a verse from the carol “There’s a Song in the Air.” I hope that you may enjoy it and have a blessed Christmas season.

chrismas card 2014 small

Tonight, coming home from a sweet time at my brother’s house, I was determined to put up my tree. Yes, I know, I put up my tree on Christmas night. Alas, I had forgotten that I had repurposed all the lights earlier this year to decorate the front porch for a party, so it will have to wait until the day after Christmas to be truly decked properly, but just getting the tree up was a bit of a victory, whilst watching Elf with a few of the housemates. Though its stay could have been longer, it will stay up until at least Epiphany and perhaps serve to brighten a New Years Eve party!

Rise Up As One – Peat Wollaeger – The Aspirational and the Real – Old North St. Louis


Above is apart of the evocative mural that Peat Wollaeger, AKA EYEZ, AKA stenSOUL, did for the Hands Up Project. In the images below, I focused on a quirk in the brick work that perhaps describes the sad current state of affairs, a divide in peace and housing.



“rinds stuck to a pan” – Haiku and a Short Note on Marmalade – Crosse and Blackwell

rinds stuck to a pan,
sweet, bitter, burnt; the taste of
the new marmalade

cross and blackwell.jpg

The marmalade that evoked my memory of citrus rinds or “chips” stuck to the bottom of a pan is from Crosse and Blackwell. It is not as sour as the homemade marmalade we ate growing up in Pakistan but it does present the traditional bitterness of Seville oranges, as American marmalades seldom do.

This article from the New York Times goes into the history of marmalade, including listing famous fans such as Antarctic explorer Robert Scott, Sir Edmund Hilary of Everest fame, and Bond, James Bond. The paragraphs I found most interesting, though, were about the place of marmalade in the British Empire.

With its long keeping qualities, due to its high sugar content, commercial marmalade proved to be an excellent export. As the British Empire expanded during the 19th century, seafarers brought homemade and commercial marmalades, as well as recipes, to colonies around the globe.

Adapting these recipes to utilize local fruits, West Indian cooks used a preponderance of limes for marmalade. Ex-patriot Britons made “country marmalade” in India from pomelos, the thick-skinned and rather coarse ancestor of the grapefruit. Australians used sweet, bitter and mandarin oranges and lemons, and later, citrons, kumquats and grapefruits. New Zealanders today often combine grapefruits and sweet oranges, while South African cooks utilize a wide assortment of local citrus fruit.

Anglophone Canada inherited a strong Seville orange marmalade tradition from its many English and Scottish immigrants.

We had the aforementioned pomelos as well as grapefruits growing in our large garden, but what went into our marmalade was a super sour and bitter hybrid between an orange and lemon locally called a “khata,” which simply means “sour.” We had an entire row of these, which we also used in our recipe of Pakistani salt meat or Hunter Beef (a version of corned beef that requires long marination in juice and spices). If you can keep a secret, missionary families sometimes made this with the wild boar that the hunters amongst us shot in dangerous trips in the reedy wilds by the river.

Our family also used these “khatas” in a very sweet, very sour hot lemonade we made in the winters, which we always tried to get our middle brother to make, claiming only he was the one who could make it perfectly! Whoever did end up making it, though, it was a great tonic against the chill of winter on the northern Punjabi plains in our brick house with 20″ foot ceilings.