Dear readers, it’s lovely to be back with you! Thanks for checking back in with us. We hope you had a marvelous time over the holidays.
I (it’s Christina here) had a wonderful vacation. Santa spoiled me rotten, delightfully so. We relaxed in Calgary with my family over Christmas. Will you think I’m terribly uncool if I admit that I stayed up until 2:30 a.m. twice to complete the Globe and Mail‘s giant Christmas crossword? It’s become an annual tradition, right up there with stockings and turkey dinner.
Then, the boy and I packed the car to the roof and headed off to Fernie for five days with my awesome in-laws. We skied, skated, did some hot yoga to warm up, ate more turkey and played Balderdash for hours. Here’s a Fernie road that I love to run on:
And here’s a sad dog who doesn’t like it when we pack our bags to go home:
We arrived back in Calgary Sunday night for a most important dinner at my parents’ house. Being half-Greek, it’s essential that I take part in the cutting of the vasilopita. Every year on New Year’s Day, Greek families families cut the vasilopita — a homemade New Year’s cake or sweet bread — to bless the house and bring good luck for the new year. The baker bakes a coin into the cake. (Note from my mom: “Please, please let them know that I sterilize it.”) The cake is sliced into the number of guests at the table, plus one for the house. The person who gets the coin is considered to be especially blessed for the year.
My lovely mom made an extra cake so that they could share the tradition with us when we returned home on Jan. 2. Doesn’t it look delicious?
We select our pieces oldest to youngest. Being third in line, I went for the largest remaining slice — best odds of needing fat pants but best odds of getting the coin. For the first time in a long time, I GOT THE COIN!
The coin is wrapped in wax paper and, my mom points out again, sterilized first.
Happy New Year to you all and may you all have a wonderful 2011.
PS – A few housekeeping details:
1. Yes, I did get a new camera. About time, I know. My photos have improved dramatically, don’t you think? And, yes, I know they still need work.
2. There’s a recipe for vasilopita here.
3. I love the story behind vasilopita. Translated as “Basil’s Bread” or “Basil’s Sweet Bread,” the tradition is based on the story of Saint Basil who wanted to distribute money to the poor in his parish without insulting their dignity. He commissioned women to bake breads with gold coins hidden inside and give them out through the parish. If anyone ever wants to give me bread with a plane ticket to Belize baked inside of it, I’m cool with that. More details on the history are available here.