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Traditional Christmas Cooking

christmas feast

Kakisky via MorgueFile.com

Christmas is a time of year when families around the world gather together and observe traditions that are the same for them year after year and yet vastly different from those that other families share around the block. There are very few universal Christmas traditions any more and there is nothing wrong with that. In America however, there are some recipes that many people consider traditional holiday cooking and there is little that will be done to dissuade these opinions. The truth is that many of these traditional holiday foods are largely traditional in specific regions rather than the United States having one nation-wide traditional Christmas dinner.

For example, my family usually served turkey and ham. Appetizers always included black olives and a relish made with pepperoccini. Many families are like mine and serve both ham and turkey. While others answer quite quickly that it is neither. One of the best all-American Christmas cooking ideas I’ve ever seen was lasagna. There are no right or wrong traditions — only those traditions that work well for you and your family. If you feel the need to change a long-standing tradition for a large extended family, by all means discuss it with everyone involved. Otherwise it is your tradition and you should feel free to make it your own.

In fact, for many years I served Cornish game hens because it was just me and my husband — a turkey, no matter how small, would just be over kill. And each year I experimented with different types of stuffing and side dishes until found the combination that both of us enjoyed.

At the same time, there is something comforting and reminiscent of home to have those traditions to come home to year after year. If you are considering changing up tradition for the first time this Christmas, be sure to hang on to some of your old traditions in case you find that it just doesn’t feel like Christmas without them. You certainly don’t want it to be too late and miss out on the spirit of Christmas in your home.

Other great Christmas traditional favorites for many Americans include: sweet potato casseroles, deviled eggs, dressing or stuffing, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, pumpkin pie, apple pie, mince meat pie and pecan pie. Of course there are regional favorites that are often highly dependent upon where you live, such as key lime pie, lemon icebox pie, oyster dressing and deep fried turkey. If one of these is a Christmas tradition for you, no matter where you are in the world you will think of home or Christmas whenever you come across them. It’s really amazing how that happens, and quite nice too, when family and friends seem far away to have something as simple as a dish of food make them seem that much closer.

That, of course, is the great, and almost perfect thing about Christmas traditions. We pass them along to our children who one day will find that they are a little less alone because someone in an airport is eating a slice of key lime pie or having a dish or macaroni and cheese. If you don’t have Christmas traditions it is time to develop a few just so that you can share something special and almost sacred with your friends and family.

Feel free to share your Christmas food traditions in the comment form for this post. I’m sure we’d all love to read about them.

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About the author

Carma Spence has been experimenting in the kitchen since she was four years old and loves trying out new recipe ideas. She is the author of Bonkers for Bundt Cakes and Your Perfect Pie, as well as author and contributor to several more non-food-related books. With Carma's Cookery, she is taking her passion for empowering people and blending it with her passion for cooking, gift-giving and entertaining.

1 comment on “Traditional Christmas Cooking”

  1. Pingback: Traditional Christmas Cooking Food Traditions Unleash Your | Cast Iron Cookware

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