Watching Great American Baking Show: Holiday Edition 2019 on Hulu (done by the GBBO people, with Paul Hollywood hosting), and there’s a Sri Lankan American woman competing, Sarita Gelner. Apparently she’s a food blogger and TV chef in St. Louis. Cool.
So, as part of the Kickstarter, I promised to do some cooking videos. I’m working on them now — I recorded one with Kavi yesterday, making bombatoast, and one with Jed today, making beet curry. Kavi’s going to show me how to edit them (at least the basics), and we’ll get them up soon. But she’s also making a TikTok of today’s.
So far, she’s cut 48 minutes of teaching video down to 6 minutes of teaser, which is what I have here. Jed points out that 6 minutes is too long for a teaser, which yes, I know. This is also probably somewhat different content than what’ll be in the edited video, because a TikTok isn’t actually about teaching. So some of this may not make it into the final teaching video.
Next Kavi’s going to try to cut it down to maximum 1 minute, because that’s the top limit of how long a TikTok can be. I haven’t even watched this yet, but I thought I’d post it, as part of documenting the process.
(Kavi is watching me type this and says: “That’s a long post!” I said I knew. She said, “Are people really going to read all that?” I said yes. She said, “If this were on Instagram, people would see this and just tap on by!”)
((Now she says, “Really? You’re adding *another* paragraph?))
(((“Hey, Uncle Jed! She’s adding a *fifth* paragraph!” Jed says, “That’s practically tiny for a Mary Anne post…”)))
We were very tired last night, but we wanted to do something Christmas-y with the kids, so the kids put on their new Christmas pajamas (traditional Christmas Eve present), cut open a tube of cookie dough, and pulled out the sprinkles and M&Ms. Too tired to even make royal icing! The end results were mostly not beautiful, and honestly only marginally tasty, but it was fun decorating together, which was the point.
Banana bread gets fancy. Made in a bundt pan, sprinkled with powdered sugar, plenty of dried cranberries and crystallized ginger stirred into the batter, and graced with fresh chopped strawberries and raspberries.
I have a deep desire to make cordial cherries, because I loved them as a kid, but these days, the chemical-y taste of the preserved fruit displeases me. Tips, recipes?
My plan is to do two varieties — one with cherries soaked in hard liquor (already soaked and ready, in a mixture of arrack and brandy), the other non-alcoholic. I’m using frozen cherries, as fresh is not easy to find around here. I have the chocolate and I think molds that will work (although they’re not as deep as classic cordial cherries, so I think I can fit about a half-cherry in each mold).
Mostly wondering about whether I should try to make some kind of sweetened cream to go with the cherries themselves, or just do cherries enrobed in chocolate?
Today I dragged Jed around with me to Walgreens and the post office and Paper Source and Scratch ‘n Sniff, and while he kind of collapsed at the last one (he’s not used to marathon holiday shopping sessions, poor thing) and had to step outside into the quiet fresh air for a bit, I think I may be actually DONE with holiday shopping.
We do stockings for everyone here, a tradition inherited from Kevin’s family, and we also sit around in a circle on Christmas morning, after coffee / fruit, and before brunch, and open them one by one, making sure in advance that everyone has the same number of them, plus an orange in the toe, and a candy cane hanging on the stocking.
I do *not* do my own stocking, unlike Kevin’s mother. The men are responsible for mine right now, and contribute to the other stockings, though I do manage the count and do the bulk of the shopping (which I find mostly fun). Soon the kids will be helping with stockings too. (Stocking gifts are from Santa, so it’s the last tiny vestige of pretend magic here. They can have another year or two of that.)
Everyone this year is me, Kevin, Kavi, Anand and Jed, plus Kat and her kids, plus a few little things for the dog and cats, so it’s many small gifts. Everyone gets some food treats and most people get socks; the rest are a bit more individualized. Slinkies have been big in the past. (The adults get their stockings filled out with post-its and pens and other such useful items.) So it’s kind of a lot, but also delightful; it’s one of my favorite Christmas traditions.
Next step, of course, is the wrapping. I’m thinking I may simplify / greenify wrapping this year by cutting up a bunch of cotton fabric into squares (I have plenty of scraps in the fabric bins) and encouraging wrappers to use either rubber bands or knotting as a fastener. And then save all of those squares to re-use in future years. Tiny steps towards sustainability, and honestly, it’s probably easier too! It won’t be as beautiful as the traditional Japanese knotted fabrics used for such things (furoshiki), but it will be functional, at least.
The real accomplishment of the day was the post office, though. I think I have now officially mailed out EVERY SINGLE Kickstarter thing I had to mail out physically, EXCEPT FOR ONE PERSON WHO DIDN’T GIVE US HER ADDRESS (Sophie, this is you, if you’re seeing this, because all of our e-mails to you have failed to reach you). The dining table is clear of Kickstarter items, and tomorrow, we’ll be cutting out snowflakes there instead, which will be a nice change!
Physical fulfillment of a Kickstarter with well over four hundred orders is just a wee bit time-consuming, it turns out. Especially when they are exceedingly varied, so it’s not just tossing the same book into the same envelope over and over again. 🙂 Thanks to Stephanie, though, and her meticulous tracking, we have had almost no errors in the process, which is frankly kind of astonishing.
We can’t be the only ones still counting up stocking gifts on the 23rd, right? So a last-minute Stocking Sale, hooray! Running until Christmas Eve midnight, for porch pick-up in Oak Park. A cookbook + curry powder makes a delectable gift!
I’m happy to have non-locals ordering too, but won’t ship those out until 12/26. 🙂 No food items sent out of the U.S., sorry! Shipping calculated after you tell me what you’d like to order, but usually in the $8 – $15 range in U.S.
Quantities will be updated as they’re ordered!
Pomegranate Vanilla: 4 oz. body butter, bar soap, 4 oz. bath salts, lip balm
Chocolate Chai: 4 oz body butter, 8 oz. bath salts, bar soaps, flying dragon soap, dragon eye soap
Scheherazade (jasmine, rose, and vanilla): 8 oz bath salts, 8 oz body butter, 4 oz. body butter, bar soaps
Mango, Vanilla & Lime: 8 oz body butter, 4 oz body butter, bar soaps, lip balm
Vanilla Lime: 8 oz. bath salts, 4 oz. body butter
Sandalwood: 8 oz. bath salts
Sandalwood Rose: bath salts minis
Rose: bath salts minis
Lime dragon soap
Chai Spice dragon soap
Curry Powder Jars
8 oz. Bath Salts – $8
4 oz. Bath Salts – $4
Bath Salts mini sample – $1
Lip Balm – $2
4 oz. Body Butter – $12
8 oz. Body Butter – $20
6 oz. Hand-Roasted Sri Lankan Curry Powder (in either wide or narrow spice jar) – $8 (not spicy; add cayenne to your taste)
And okay, they won’t easily fit in a stocking, but I do still have some books on hand, any of which I’m happy to sign / personalize:
• A Feast of Serendib: A Sri Lankan American, hardcover ($35)
• A Feast of Serendib: A Sri Lankan American cookbook, paperback ($20)
• Bodies in Motion, immigrant literary fiction, hardcover ($15)
• The Stars Change (science fiction, $12)
• Perennial (a little gardening romance, set in Oak Park, $12)
• Survivor (uplifting anthology of science fiction and fantasy stories centered on trauma and survival, $15)
Woot! I was running about 30 minutes late, but with the help of Kavi and her friend Emma, Serendib House is finally set up at L!ve Cafe (163 S. Oak Park Ave.) and open for business until 3 p.m. So far, the pomegranate-vanilla soap, Kavi’s lip balms, the sandalwood-rose body butter, the marshmallow gift boxes, and the cookbooks have been popular. 🙂
Little customer for Serendib Home, trying out the sandalwood & rose body butter. 🙂
I was feeling a little bummed that I’d run out of time to make truffles, esp. since I’d bought these cute little boxes for them, and then I realized that in fact, marshmallows fit perfectly into the exact same boxes. 🙂 (Selling at L!ve Cafe until 3 today…)
For today’s sale @ L!ve Cafe, I’ve carefully put all the food items to the right of me, and all the body butter (pictured below) to the left of me, and still, many people are tempted to try eating the body butter. It won’t hurt them, since it’s just shea butter + mango butter, with a little color & scent, but it is not particularly tasty. 🙂 But SO PRETTY.
I tried to make the bath products either South Asian-y or Christmas-y — love how this mango, lime, and vanilla soap came out. Like a jello & sherbet dessert. And when you put the mica coloring in with the glycerin, for just a moment, it feels like Holi. 🙂
Favorite new mold — dragon eye! (The flying dragon is also cool.) The pomegranate dragon eye is perhaps my coolest holiday soap. 🙂 I’m hoping someone is delighted to find this for their fantasy-obsessed partner’s stocking gift…
Glass jars cost about the same as plastic jars, interestingly, so my inclination would normally be to do all glass jars, but of course, for shipping, plastic is safer (and lighter). So I ended up with a mix of them. There are so many little details to a physical product, whether it’s a book of a jar of body butter. Just doing the writing part is, in some ways, simpler. 🙂
Melt and pour soap is not so easy to swirl — you need to get the temperatures exactly
right. I gather cold-process soap swirls much more easily; maybe I’ll try experimenting with that next summer. (I’m planning to basically be done with bath product making until AFTER next semester ends.) This batch of chocolate chai soaps didn’t swirl as much as I’d hoped; ah well. They’re still pretty, in a more muted sort of way…
Now THESE, you can eat. 🙂 They went out with the ALMOST-LAST physical Kickstarter orders this week. I have two more orders to hand deliver in Oak Park, and two more people who we’re trying to track them down for addresses, and then I am pretty sure that we’ll just have the digital orders left, that WILL go out by Monday 12/23, come hell or high water.
(Jed, I’m planning to get you that last bit you need by tomorrow; I hope you’ll have time to put that in.)