Hungry for the Holidays
As the last month of the year, implying endings and new beginnings, December is a time of celebration and eating. Whether spent at home with family, with friends, or in a different country, it’s a season of reflection and making memories with loved ones. As the years pass, many families start their own traditions — whether intentionally or unintentionally — that center around food.
For some, these traditions involve making food together. Junior Daniela Fernández relates, ”Every time I go to Puerto Rico, we will wake up on Christmas morning at my grandmother’s house and eat Mallorcas with homemade hot chocolate.” Sophomore Maya Chavez adds, “My family used to do cookie parties so I have good memories of rolling out the dough with my cousins. Or we would all go to my aunt’s house and make tamales together.” Junior Kate Negri remembers the same kind of rite of the season: “My sister and I would make chocolate chip cookies every year and give them out to our neighbours.” My family made gingerbread houses every year. Being together, making food and, of course, eating it creates memories that will be remembered and cherished for a long time.
For others, certain foods remain staples at the seasonal dining table. Sophomore Harrison Wilmot says, “My favourite memory is having good crispy latkes from my grandmother every year. On Christmas morning, after opening presents, we would have monkey bread. It’s the centerpiece of the morning.” Junior Curtis Da Silva shares, “We always buy crab from Fisherman’s Wharf and that’s our Christmas Eve dinner. Then Christmas morning we always have french toast with strawberries. It’s warming and gets you in a good mood.” Junior Lydia Yu shares, “We would always eat 年糕 or sticky rice cakes and it symbolizes prosperity for the new year.” Senior Lawrence Shao says, “I came up with my own tradition of eating seafood instant ramen because I couldn’t go home for the holidays. To me, ramen is the most delicious food.” Junior Evie Moore adds, “We have eggs benedict every Christmas morning and my dad would always buy a sweet roll. No one knows what it is and every single year no one eats it.”
For a few, traditions are planned out in meticulous detail. Moore explains, “Leading up to Christmas, my grandfather and his three best friends since elementary school all have a lunch called the ‘Mckeymoore Lunch.’ Another tradition comes from when we were younger and I, my brother and my two best friends said we were going to open a restaurant together when we were older. So every year on the morning of Christmas Eve we set up menus and we make my family a giant breakfast. And for dinner—this has been going on for 50 years in the Moore family—we get together at somebody’s house and we eat this big meal of roasted beef, steak, potatoes…”
The holidays don’t always have to be small intimate meals. Yu mentions, “For Christmas, we go to a potluck with our family friends, think like 12 to 15 people. Some people would bring American dishes like mashed potatoes or ham, and others would bring Chinese dishes like spareribs or steamed fish.” Similarly, junior Joyce Fong says, “Our family is pretty big on Christmas so we would always go to each other’s house and every family would go to the kitchen and make whatever comes to mind. Like, one year my mom made asparagus, and one year she made duck confit.”
To me, the holiday season is my favourite time of year because it brings out the warmth and kindness in people. There is no wrong way to celebrate so enjoy it with friends, with immediate family, eating traditional foods or whatever your family has come up with. As Chavez puts it, “It’s not so much the food, but the gathering.”