Traditional foods have long been the cornerstone of holiday celebrations, from breads and cookies to oyster stew, plum pudding and roasted turkey or goose. While we may treasure the tastes and smells of holiday treats, it seems the experience of preparing the holiday feast and gathering together to celebrate is where the real memories are made.
“Years ago, grandmothers and mothers passed down family recipes and advice to the younger generations as ladies gathered together to prepare an elaborate meal for the holidays,” shared Shellee Murcko, Sauder Village Historic Foodways Program. “Thanksgiving meals included many foods as evidence of a bountiful harvest, while Christmas was the time to prepare the choicest foods to celebrate the birth of Christ. Nineteenth century holiday meals often included sweet potatoes, squash, cranberry sauce, oysters, candy canes, sugar plums, Lebkuchen, roasted chestnuts, Stollen, spiced cider and pies.”
While you may not be gathering chestnuts, a fresh goose or the bounty you preserved from your garden for your holiday party – there are still ways to make holiday meals a special tradition for your family.
Take time this year to prepare a meal (or even just a batch of cookies) with your children or grandchildren. While the whole process may take a bit longer, the end result is sure to be priceless. Stay connected to far-away relatives by tucking a copy of your favorite holiday recipe inside your Christmas card this year. Traditional recipes can also make great gifts! Why not make a recipe book that includes some of your holiday favorites or even a shadow box showcasing recipes in your own handwriting. Continue a tradition in your family this holiday season and dust off some old family recipes. Or, try some historic recipes and start a new tradition of your own!
While the menu at holiday meals has evolved through the years, it is food, feast and family that continue to bring us together. This year, make your holiday meals an experience to treasure and savor for years to come!
Check out some great Holiday Recipes on our website!
Stuffed Acorn Squash
1 large acorn squash, halved and seeded
1 cup water
3 tablespoons butter, melted
½ to 1 teaspoon lemon juice
½ teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons brown sugar, firmly packed
1 large tart apple peeled, cored, chopped
¼ cup chopped nuts of your choice
Heat oven to 350 degrees F.
Place acorn squash, cut side down, in a large baking pan or dish; pour water into bottom of pan around the squash. Bake 20 minutes. Remove from oven. Meanwhile, in a bowl, combine butter, lemon juice, cinnamon, brown sugar, and chopped apples. Divide mixture evenly among partially cooked squash and return to oven for 30 minutes or until tender when flesh is poked with a fork. Sprinkle with chopped nuts to serve. Makes 2 servings.