I was recently a guest emcee for a Give a Folk storytelling event to benefit The Sandwich Project, a local charity that addresses food insecurities in our community. The theme was, fittingly, food, and the tellers’ stories touched on everything from shared laughter over baking fails, the origin of bacon, the comfort of a covered dish in times of grief, and even a sing-a-long to the Oscar Meyer Weiner song.
When I heard about the event, the first food memory that came to mind was my great-grandmother’s chicken and dumplings. Not just because they were absolutely delicious, but because I remember watching her make them in the kitchen of her white clapboard house in Branford, Florida, while my sister and I watched Little House on the Prairie on her tube TV.
Food is a special way for people to connect. I can’t think of a single holiday that doesn’t have a specific food attached to it, especially winter holidays.
During Kwanzaa, you might enjoy jollof rice or a spicy peanut soup; Hanukkah signature dishes could include kugel or latkes, and Christmas, which is what we celebrate at my house, is not only fruitcake and cookies for Santa but also cranberries and savory casseroles and all kinds of pies.
Here are a few of my favorite holiday food recipes I love to serve my family:
Pork tenderloin with Apples, Potatoes, and Carrots – super savory, and would probably even be better cooked in a crock pot.
Senator Russell Sweet Potatoes – this is a must-have on our menu; toasted marshmallows on top are a popular add-on.
Curried Fruit – it’s warm and sweet and great with almonds if there aren’t any nut allergies.
Corn Casserole – I got this recipe from my brother-in-law; highly recommend adding shredded cheese to the mix.
Vegetable Casserole – this might be a clever way to get everyone to eat their vegetables; the water chestnuts give it a nice crunch.
Bonus – Get your cranberry fix with this easy Mimosa. And don’t forget the rolls!