In Sydney, spring is in the air, and a lot of variously Australianised Chinese folk will belligerently celebrate mid-Autumn festival tomorrow, with the display of coloured lanterns, and the gifting of moon-cake. Some will return to their hometowns in China to visit family, who enjoy a few days of public holidays (ironically offset by working through the preceding and following weekends).

Moon-cake, as you may have heard or experienced, can be thought of as a very dense friand that sits heavily in the stomach for hours, and is best not consumed at all. The most typical of them replace the glazed fruit sometimes found garnishing the top of a friand with a nice little mound of salty pork - adding to the, um, moon-cakiness...

The altogether unappetising nature of moon-cakes has bred a round robin phenomenon, during the gifting part of the festival, wherein people receive moon-cake gifts, then repurpose them as gifts to others. The trick to winning this round robin is timing. If you cleverly give all of your moon-cake away on the last day before the holidays, you may end up in the happy situation of not actually having to consume or discard any. I managed this once during my 3 year stint in China, after 2 gut-wrenching years of trial and error.

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