Welcome to December! This month is jam-packed with holidays galore. With so many events and activities, places to go, and things to eat, it can be easy to lose sight of the traditions. One of our favorite ways traditions are expressed is through food. We want to highlight three of our favorite taste of traditions from this time of year.
As many might know, gingerbread and the story of the Gingerbread Man originated in Europe. Gingerbread houses became very popular in Germany after the Brothers Grimm wrote the fairytale of Hansel and Gretel. However, did you know that the first Gingerbread men were created by Queen Elizabeth I? She had the Gingerbread men made in the likeness of visiting dignitaries as a gift to them. Gingerbread houses and men became synonymous with Christmas because of the intricate decorations of white icing and candy. These days making and decorating Gingerbread Men and houses is a fun activity for families to do together during the Christmas season.
Throughout history, the ingredients for Latkes have changed, but the one constant behind this dish is its connection to Hanukkah. This Jewish holiday is known as the Festival of Lights. The holiday celebrates reclaiming the temple in Jerusalem and the ritual oil used in the eternal flame lasting eight days when it was only supposed to last one. In the celebration of Hanukkah, many people eat fried foods, especially Latkes. Early on, this pancake-style dish was made with cheese. In the mid-19th century, potatoes and onions became the main ingredients. No matter how you make your Latkes, they are a great way to commemorate the ritual oil during the Hanukkah season.
Food connects us, especially when it comes to holidays and traditions. Candied yams are no exception to this rule. As one of the main starches seen in Kwanzaa traditions, this dish can be paired with many other African cuisines. Created in the 1960s, the Kwanzaa holiday honors African heritage and educates younger generations about their ancestral roots. The food enjoyed during Kwanzaa has many influences, African, Caribbean, and South America, to name a few. So, whether you’re enjoying Candied Yams with collard greens or macaroni and cheese, they are sure to be a delicious part of your Kwanzaa season.