Exploring the Spirit of the Holidays - Pamelia Chia x Seasonings

Exploring the Spirit of the Holidays - Pamelia Chia x Seasonings

Just as planning for the Holiday Capsule Collection started, we were approached by independent food and culture publication Seasonings to be part of a festive bundle they were putting together. They had seen us mention having fabric offcuts and leftovers and were interested to see if we might like to make use of them to make fabric cloth wraps for the bundles. 

Of course we jumped on board. 

Each edition of Seasonings is not merely exploration into food, but also the culture and diversity it continuously shapes. Their festive bundle is extra special because you'll get: 

• 1 Bottle of seasoning (45g) mixed by Jeya Spices with recipes provided by Nor aka The Soulful Cook, Firdaus of Orang Laut and Mili and Maya Kale of Moom
• 1 Issue of Seasonings magazine 
• 1 Recipe booklet
• 1 Recipe postcard
• 1 Block-printed fabric (50 x 50cm) by Wray Crafted

More details about the Christmas Bundle can be found here

Co-founder of Wray Justine has already shared how her love for the festive season inspired our Holiday Collection (blog here if you missed it) but we were also interested to hear from others about the joy and magic the holidays brings around for them. 

One half of the dynamic Seasonings duo Pamelia Chia (author of Wet Market to Table and founder of culinary platform Singapore Noodles) shares a personal account about how regardless of the scale and format of her celebrations, there's always magic to be found in being in the company of people that make your heart feel full. 


Words and photos from Pamelia

Of all the celebrations of the year, Christmas appeals to me the most. It is the media-construed image of warmth, coziness, and intimacy – mugs of hot chocolate, the smell of cinnamon in the air, the sounds of people caroling outside – that makes it particularly romantic to an introvert like myself. But, of course, Christmas in Singapore was never like that – just like weddings, Singaporean Christmas celebrations are bustling, full-blown events.

When my mother was a young housewife, she used to host house parties come Christmastime. She would busy herself preparing her famous dry meesiam, and would send me to Delifrance to purchase a baguette to have with her curry. There was also a strange concoction of boiled potato salad and apples, held together with Miracle whip and studded with raisins – she insisted that it’s a crowd-pleaser but I never could wrap my head around it. A Ritz apple strudel would be sitting in its box in our fridge, bought in advance. This was the true highlight for me – it was not your traditional Austrian strudel, but a tall, glazed stack of puff pastry, apple compote and cream. It made for a much welcome substitute to your usual sickly-sweet log cake with artificial-looking cherries.

Food was served potluck-style with no defined time for guests to join us, and so they would trickle in throughout the night (the door to our house would be left open the entire night). Their arrival would be marked by loud exclamations – “Wah what are you cooking today!” or “Wah your children so big already!” Lots of small talk and awkward smiles from me, and my mother, ever the charming hostess, would be directing the flow of people like a conductor to seats laid out across our living room while keeping an eye on the dishes in the kitchen.

By nine o’ clock, the entrance would be lined with so many shoes, you had to tip toe between the pairs to get to the lift. I know, because this is the time when I would slip out of the house to hang out with my friends, always an awkward situation because my mother (red-faced from all the wine by this point) would invariably ask where I was going, and curious heads would swivel in my direction.

Later in life, when my mother ceased this tradition of hosting Christmas house parties and I started dating my now-husband Wex, Christmas eve was spent with his family as it coincided with his mother’s birthday. Parties at my in-law’s had such frantic energy, with my mother-in-law rushing to make sure the spread was ready by the time guests arrived. Even when we moved abroad to Australia, we made it a point to return to Singapore in December to not miss the celebration, so you could say that I never really had an intimate Christmas until last year, when COVID thwarted all travel plans.

We celebrated it with three of our friends at our home. Just like my mother or mother-in-law, my day was spent preparing and cooking, but it was not a huge spread, just a couple of dishes. A main, two sides, and a dessert. My friends brought with them wine, amazing dips, and more dessert. And as the sun dipped, we lit candles and chatted between bites of banoffee pie. It was wonderful – the Christmas dinner I never got to have in 29 years of existence, the one I had built up in my mind for years.

The contrast between the Christmases I was used to spending in Singapore and the one last year did feel a little odd, as if I was doing it all wrong, but there is something rather beautiful about spending such a big holiday season quietly, with just the people who matter. As the world goes back into a new normal and travel restrictions ease, this upcoming Christmas is probably going to be the last of its kind for me. While it will be nice to spend Christmas in a large group again next year in Singapore, the intimacy and peacefulness that this last quiet Christmas offers is a luxury I will not take for granted.

Keep up with Pamelia at Singapore Noodles, a digital platform focused on Singaporean food. You'll find recipes, tutorials, podcasts and more! 
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