My Great Aunt’s Dumplings Are One of My Favorite Christmas Traditions — and Not Just Because They’re Delicious
Each one is filled with a very special ingredient!
When I think of the holidays I think of family, friends and...dumplings. Yes, dumplings.
During Christmas, when my family comes together to celebrate, one of the many longstanding traditions we have is the delicious dumplings that my Great Aunt makes for everyone to enjoy. She cooks up a huge batch the night before and distributes them evenly within each family. She lines them up in plastic rectangular takeout containers and separates each layer with clear plastic wrap, so they don’t stick together.
Every year she takes the time to make these dumplings for each of us because it’s her way of making a special contribution to the holiday. When I was younger, I never really understood why she went through all the trouble but, as I get older, I appreciate the sentiment more. I can see the determination and concentration in each pinch and groove she made while sealing off the dumplings, perfect pleats and all. The pork-carrot-scallion combo is not only tasty but fills my heart with all sorts of familiar, nostalgic emotions. And the white, almost translucent dumpling dough, shaped in perfect little half-moons, holds just the right amount of filling — not overwhelming yet full of wonderful flavor. What makes these dumplings taste the best though, is not only the flavor, but the amount of love that goes into each and every one.
While my family may be missing this special tradition this year, we’ll always have the memories. I can remember waking up on Christmas morning and heating up a couple of her homemade dumplings on our plates for breakfast. Sometimes my brother and I would take turns hiding the container in the fridge so they wouldn’t be eaten up right away! They were that good. Since we won’t be having any from my Great Aunt this year, my immediate family decided to try and make our own with the help of some Food Network recipes. These Chinese Pork Dumplings (pictured above) share similar ingredients — and the family love behind them. And, this version of Pork Dumplings makes a big batch so no one will be fighting over the last one.
I know we'll enjoy our dumplings this year, especially since they'll be made with the same love and care. I'm still looking forward to next year though. I'm going to ask my Aunt if I can help her make her dumplings. And then, maybe I’ll get an extra batch to make up for the ones I missed in 2020 😉.