I woke up with a clear desire to write about 2017 and what I’m going to do in 2018. In other words, to contribute just another post to a billion online posts about resolutions and what they mean and what I’ve broken and what I haven’t and how much weight I’m going to lose. Instead, I went down an inexplicable YouTube K-hole of Weird Al Yankovic’s best, culminating in at least five replays of White & Nerdy because sometimes, that’s just how I work. Or, as it turns out, don’t.
Today is going to be about prepping for the annual NYE dinner I make – a fusion (fusion! hah! #pretentious) of East meets West. It’s not as exotic as it sounds, it’s just me making enough food to feed a ton that will really only feed two and generate enough leftovers for a week, while ensuring both parties will be happy with all available nosh. So he gets his turkey, taters and stuffing, I get my macaroni salad, pancit and whatnot. Last year I came up with black sambo. This year, I’ve decided to cheat and get cheese tarts from Uncle Tetsu’s.
I make macaroni the way my mom does. It has mayo, shredded chicken and pineapple. My one substitution is craisins because I’ve never been a fan of sun-dried grapes. If it sounds weird, it is, and he doesn’t eat it so I tend to make enough just for me. But I make a point of having macaroni salad every New Year’s Eve because it tastes like home. It tastes like countless evenings spent ringing in the New Year with family, food on the table, twelve round fruits bursting out of a cornucopia, borderline illegal fireworks exploding throughout the night. It tastes like shaking my brothers awake at the stroke of midnight because they’ve fallen asleep. It tastes like the time my niece mistook a misplaced goblet of Tequila Rose for milk, drained it to the dregs and started walking sideways. She was two. I think.
I’ve seen posts reminding pet-owners to insulate their animals from the scariness of fireworks. Back home, no one gives a shit. We figure animals can take care of themselves to some extent without all the unnecessary mollycoddling, which is where the East really differs from the West. We haven’t got the time to worry about animal welfare when we’re too busy worrying about our own. It’s New Year’s Eve! We’re too busy trying to make sure humans don’t turn up in the ER with missing digits to worry about the mental state of the family cat.
But back to my preparations for NYE. I haven’t yet gone to get the traditional round fruits for the cornucopia. It’s believed that round fruits bring good luck for the coming year which is why one must have twelve – a different one for each month – but there’s only so many round fruits, so I end up with the odd banana, lemon and strawberry. To this day, the sight and scent of red apples reminds me of the holiday season. I delayed it as much as I could this year because putting so many fruits together in one setting tends to ripen them all at once. It’s also something I do to remember my grandfather, who made it a point to have a massive mound of tropical fruits to ring in the New Year.
Le Hubs doesn’t really have NYE traditions other than eggnog and partying like a lush so he ends up having mine grafted onto his because we’re too old to party like lushes anymore. It’s why every New Year you’ll find him absently clutching money at the stroke of midnight, the tryptophan kicking in, bemusedly watching his wife twirling around his living room, money in her own hands, windows all open, inviting in good luck and prosperity, as well as possible hypothermia because it’s -30C in Toronto and his wife is high on macaroni salad. But that’s New Year’s Eve. That’s New Year’s Eve, our style.