It’s cold. It’s dark. Let’s celebrate something. It can’t be a coincidence that so many important cultural and religious holidays happen in winter, when we’re all in need of a collective lifting of our spirits. One of the world’s most sure-fire mood boosters is delicious, comforting food. If you’d like to explore some ways to add a touch of holiday sparkle to your menu, consider trying these beloved dishes and perhaps creating some new traditions at your own operation.
Hanukkah is December 12 through 20 this year. One of its most delicious traditions is the serving of sufganiyot, deep-fried jelly doughnuts. As fried foods, they’re symbols of the miracle of the burning oil lamps in the ancient Holy Temple in Jerusalem. And, their popularity continues to grow. Israel’s Angel Bakeries serve more than 250,000 sufganiyot every day during the eight-day Hanukkah festival.
“I grew up in Texas, and it just wouldn’t be Christmas Eve if we didn’t eat tamales for dinner,” says Sandy Davis, Executive Chef at New York City-based catering company Roxo Events. “Everyone in town has a favorite chef, and orders are placed well in advance.” Tips for adding this Tex-Mex tradition to your own operation? “There are all kinds of ways to make good tamales, but you really should toast and grind your own dried chiles and cumin. It makes a difference,” Davis says.
Everyone knows how much the Swiss love fondue, especially the gooey, cheesy variety. But for Christmas Day, they traditionally serve Fondue Chinoise, which calls for thin slices of beef to be simmered at the table in a seasoned pot of stock. Sides include dipping options such as tartar, curry or cocktail sauce. For our dining culture that’s increasingly focused on shared experiences, this might be a traditional addition with a modern sensibility.
Soup for New Year
Korea’s celebration of the Lunar New Year, or Seollal, will begin on February 16, 2018. The first meal of the three-day celebration always starts with tteokguk, a soup prepared with thinly sliced rice cakes, eggs, beef and vegetables. Eating the soup is associated with health and long life. Add mandu (Korean dumplings) for an even heartier dish.
Taste of the Holidays (from Travel Channel)
Sufganiyot recipe from Bon Appetit
Tteokguk soup recipe from the World on a Plate blog
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