If there’s one thing my family’s about is tradition…..tradition……..TRADITION! (Fiddler On The Roof, anyone :)?) After all, it’s our little traditions that have let us remain connected to our Colombian roots and remember what we’re about.
(BTW: This post is part of the Dose of Charm Holiday Extravaganza with A Dose of Paige and The Charming. Play the Scavenger Hunt and enter to win $50 PayPal Cash! For more info, scroll down to the bottom.)
But while we may not be big fans of trying new habits (we’re old souls who are stuck in our ways), we do enjoy EATING new things!
For instance, if we hadn’t moved to the States, I’d have never tried pumpkin or custard (neither is common in Colombia), and I don’t know where I’d be without those things! (A little slimmer, perhaps, since I love to eat pumpkin things all year round? However, even that’s debatable, since Colombians looove their Dulce de Leche!)
In any case, I have an idea for you all: Let’s eat new things this holiday season! Christmas will be in JUST a couple weeks (I can’t believe it either!) and I bet you’ll be the star of every get-together if you bring something that’s out of the ordinary–especially if it’s from another country!
SO HERE ARE A FEW IDEAS OF FOODS YOU CAN TRY/MAKE:
1. Tourtière from Canada: Imagine a pie with a piecrust and everything but with ground, minced, or cubed meat (or even salmon) as its filling. Apparently French-Canadians serve it with ketchup or fruit relish starting on Christmas Eve and ending on New Year’s. This sounds delicious!
2. Tamales from South or Central America: I may be biased by saying this, but Colombian tamales are unbeatable (my dad even asked my mom to bring a few back from her upcoming trip). Basically they’re irresistible steamed bundles of corn-based dough filled with spicy, savory beef and/or chicken and/or chorizo and/or pork, cheese, rice, and veggies. (>> Yup, ALL THAT!) Just get your butt to a Colombian goods store and try one if you don’t want to take my word for how amazing they are. (They’re eaten all-year round, too, but are especially popular during Christmas time.)
3. Bûche de Noël (i.e., “Christmas Branch”) from France: One of the most common flavors for these French cakes is chestnut, although today you can find them in many flavors all over France and the world. (They’re kind of like Yule Logs and Pumpkin Rolls.)
4. Jollof Rice from Nigeria: I wouldn’t be a proper Colombian if I didn’t like rice (it’s definitely a staple in my culture), and this dish looks right up my alley–African ancestry not required. Consumed during Kwanzaa, it’s made up of PLENTY of “stewed rice made with tomato, onion, chilies, and spices, and sometimes meat or fish, perfect for groups to share.”
5. KFC from Japan: Yes, you read that correctly. Kentucky Fried Chicken is HUUUGE in Japan–especially around Christmas! People “line up for hours outside the fast-food chain on Christmas Eve” and even “begin reserving buckets (or “party barrels”) of chicken months in advance.” Although I can’t stand KFC, I think it’d be hilarious if you brought KFC to your next holiday party and pulled the “KFC is big in Japan during Christmas” card :). (Do you think the host[ess] might be insulted, though?)
6. Mince Pies from England: “Mince pies have been a British Christmas tradition since as far back as the 13th century. While some Brits still cook them with minced meat, these days, they’re often made up of spiced fruits and sugar for a sweet dish.”
7. Pavlova from Australia/New Zealand: Named after the Russian ballet dancer Anna Pavlova, this deliciousness is a meringue dessert (meringues [or “merengues” in Spanish] have crisp crusts and soft, light insides) with a fruit-based topping.
Don’t these all look DELICIOUS?? Besides tamales, I know I’d really like to try some Pavlova and Mince Pies. Which would YOU look forward to trying out the most? Or which others do you/does your culture love?
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