Sunday, January 17, 2010
Last week, our Sunday lunch was held at our friends Timothy and Nadja's apartment. It was a traditional Serbian Christmas dinner. From Wikipedia: The Serbs celebrate Christmas for three consecutive days, beginning with Christmas Day. The Serbian Orthodox Church uses the traditional Julian Calendar, as per which Christmas Day (December 25) falls currently on January 7 of the Gregorian Calendar. This day is called by Serbs the first day of Christmas, and the following two are accordingly called the second, and the third day of Christmas. Tim and Nadja invited friends and family from near and far. The food was varied and abundant. There were a variety of pre-dinner foods, including a beet salad made by Joanne. My contribution was the cesnica (chess-neet-cha), which is the traditional bread with the hidden silver coin. It's very eggy bread and the dough is sticky and almost pourable when placed for the first rise. According to Nadja, it turned out correctly, so I was relieved about that. When the bread is served, it's passed around and each person tears a piece from the loaf (not cut into slices). The finder of the coin is guaranteed good luck for the coming year. The finder of one coin was the teenage daughter of Tim's friend. The other coin was not found when we left. I made two loaves, anticipating a large turnout. With the abundance of food, however, one loaf would have been sufficient. The dinner itself consisted of a chicken soup with dumplings, followed by the delicious and aromatic sarma (sauerkraut rolls - so good!), and moussaka with potatoes and spinach. The piece de resistance was Nadja's spread of desserts, which were hidden in a back bedroom until the finale. Especially delicious was a roulade made with raspberry and lemon filling (from Joanne's and my lemon curd, made with lemon juice from the salvaged lemons at the farm). It was a fun and festive occasion with lots of family and friends. Thanks to Tim and Nadja for all the many hours of work that went into this celebration. We'll look forward to next year!