Students discuss holiday food staples

With the holiday season in full swing, families prepare to celebrate in their own ways. Many cultures celebrate the holidays with their own annual traditions. America is a very diverse country, according to The Immigrant Learning Center immigrants and refugees from all over the world have brought their unique, diverse traditions to popular holidays in the United States. Some, like the Swahili names of Kwanzaa candles and the Scottish New Year’s Eve song Auld Lang Syne, have obvious international roots.

In any holiday gathering, food is very important and often an exciting part of the gathering. Food for large holiday celebrations can become expensive quickly. The rising inflation in America could affect the prices of food this holiday season. According to AgHires, Americans buy 365 million pounds of turkey during the week of Thanksgiving, usually whole turkeys.

“My favorite holiday foods are mashed potatoes and turkey. My dad smokes a turkey on the grill for Christmas and Thanksgiving which frees up oven space for my grandma’s potatoes. Both taste delicious,” sophomore Margaret Oswald said.

Holiday foods can be influenced by religion, culture, and even personal preferences. Although Americans mainly eat a traditional Thanksgiving dinner, many families celebrate according to their religions. Many different religions have traditional holiday foods. For example, Mennonites often eat verenika and bohne beroggi around the holidays.

“Particularly around Christmas we enjoy verenika and bohne beroggi which are Mennonite dishes as well as our annual tradition of making peppernuts,” Oswald said. “Most of the foods we eat represent traditional American cuisine separate from the verenika and bohne beroggi, those are just from my family/culture.”

Many families around the United States often eat a traditional American Thanksgiving meal. A classic Thanksgiving dinner may include turkey, gravy, stuffing, potatoes, veggies and pie. American families around the world celebrate with this traditional meal.

“We don’t really eat any special food for Christmas, unless we’re going to a family get-together, we usually just eat leftovers. However, we do have things like ham, turkey, and stuffing on Thanksgiving. My family on my Dad’s side are all really good cooks, and they usually go all out,” sophomore Gavin Hadley said.

Holiday cooking can take many hours of planning, baking, waiting for food to cook, etc. According to USDA, Americans spent an average of 128 minutes in meal preparation and cleanup—over three times the 34 minutes spent on these tasks on an average Saturday or Sunday. With this much time put into making the perfect meal, lots of help is needed in the kitchen.

“For the holidays I like to make food, but I’m not very helpful in a full kitchen. The only thing that is directly my responsibility is making peppernuts,” Oswald said. “When it’s time to make peppernuts I am sure to have my siblings help because we produce a lot of peppernuts.”

Some traditional Thanksgiving desserts include pies, tarts, cakes, puddings, etc. Traditional holiday desserts may include decorated sugar cookies, gingerbread cookies and a variety of other pies, cookies and puddings.

“My favorite food would have to be pumpkin pie. I’m not a huge pie person but when it comes to pumpkin pie I’m all for it. My aunt makes an amazing homemade pumpkin pie, it tastes better than store bought in my opinion,” sophomore Amina Sulejmani said.