A Merry Owl Meatmas
It's always scary when our friend Owl Meat's regular Funtastic Thursday post happens to fall on a kinder, gentler day like Christmas. But here he is, mellower than usual. Perhaps he's gotten into the eggnog. EL
Here at stately Owl Manor, we have eschewed the usual sturm und drang, weltschmerz and schadenfreude today and have given in to Christmas - Owl Meat style. The result is a feast that combines the Mexican and German parts of my family.
First up is El Vez doing a killer version of Feliz Navidad. If you don't love this video, you have no soul. For those not familiar with El Vez, he is the Mexican Elvis and he LOVES Christmas. Does it get any better than Melvis dancing with a giant inflatable Santa and Frosty, while his band lays down some chunky Ramones-style thrash? I want his suit.
The Germans have an interesting character named Krampus. Krampus is Saint Nick's evil assistant. He is bad cop to Santa's good cop. Krampus Night is celebrated on December 5, the eve of Saint Nick's birthday. So what does Santa's assistant do? He, meaning any able-bodied man, roams the streets sometimes wielding a small birch tree branch and wears a scary mask to frighten children, Halloween-style.
Now how do we combine such seemingly non-intersecting cultures and traditions at Christmas? With food, of course. ...
No Mexican Christmas would be complete without the special pork tamales. What makes them special? The addition of one or more secret ingredients, which I think is cinnamon and rabbit. One can never be sure. Tio Toro always brings his guacamole with mango and some amazing ceviche to celebrate his roots in Veracruz. The best of all is his ceviche de pulpo - citrus marinated octopus. Mmmm... que bueno.
The German part of the feast is short on tradition and long on meat. Cousins Dieter and Elsebeth grill something Dieter has recently bagged on a bow hunting trip. In the past we have had elk, bear, and Canadian snowshoe hares (with a bow?). Elsebeth's bear paw soup was delicious and not at all frightening. Naturally there is homemade sauerkraut and a fermented beet juice that has purported rejuvenating qualities.
Another thing that unites both sides of the family is beating something with a stick. Since Krampus is not known here and would likely get them locked up, we have allowed the German side to make their own version of the piñata. Last year it was stuffed with homemade venison jerky and gherkins. I guess we will have to wait to see if Uncle Klaus and cousin Dieter's hunting trip to Canada was successful. The form of the piñata will be of whatever public figure has aggrieved them most this year. It could be anyone from Rod Blagojovich to Hugh Jackman or even Billy Mays.
Of course the evening always ends with drinking and dancing. Uncle Flaco acts as DJ, spinning vinyl copies of his favorite Norteño music, which sounds like Mexican polka to me. The night usually ends with Great Uncle Fritz announcing Archimedes-in-the-bathtub style that the Mexicans stole their music from the Germans, as if he just discovered this. But harmony prevails, as bellies are full of elk jerky and pork tamales as El Vez rips into "Feliz Navidad" again.
Frohe Weihnachten de Carne de Buho.
(Merry Christmas from Owl Meat.)