The holiday season is upon us, so regardless of what you’re celebrating, ‘tis the season to eat with friends and family. We’re here to touch on traditions from around the world and inspire you to create a salty and sweet spread—even if it’s just for yourself.
The season kicks off with Christmas on the 25th of this month, a holiday which some have renamed as Newtonmas—a secular version based on Isaac Newton’s “old style” birthday, according to the Julian calendar.
Whether you call it Christmas, Newtonmas, or just December 25th, shaped sugar cookies are a holiday staple. We recommend Dorie Greenspan’s recipe from her book From My Home To Yours, which also makes a great present for any level of baker. If you’re looking for more sophisticated flavours (and you have the book), then try her “Thumbprints for us big guys.” The recipe calls for ground hazelnuts, but you can also use almonds! Don’t have the book? Try these Miso Macadamia Blondies or some Coffee Cardamom Cookies.
All desserts pair well with eggnog, which is, by the way, Magnolia Bakery’s cupcake flavour of the month. They’re folded with nutmeg and cinnamon—need we say more?
The day after, in the United Kingdom and Commonwealth nations, is Boxing Day.
It’s an extension of Christmas celebrations, the second day of Christsmastide to be exact, and the term “Christmas box” dates back to the 17th century. But let’s be honest, reasons, for the most part, are lost in time. Most people associate the day with sales, and therefore it should probably be renamed Shopping Day.
Kwanzaa, which runs from December 26th to New Year’s Day is the Pan-African festival for the first fruit of the harvest; the direct translation from Swahili is “first fruits,” because food should always be celebrated, not taken for granted. The seven-day holiday honors African cultural and historical heritage across North America. Break out the curried sweet potato puree for a hint of Kwanzaa on your table.
Looking toward the East, while this year’s the Lunar New Year doesn’t take place until the end of January, according to Chinese tradition, The Dongzhi Festival, also known as the Winter Solstice Festival, falls on the 22nd of December. The dish of the day is a symbol of reunion: tangyuan, glutinous rice balls.
And for those who are wondering, the upcoming year will be the year of the rooster. This year was one for the monkey. We’re ready to get rid of this monkey on our back and look forward to a year that’s better than the last.
And of course, New Year’s Eve, according to the Gregorian calendar, will be celebrated sporadically across the globe at the end of the month. Hosting a New Year’s Eve party or heading to a potluck? Our go-to dishes are Turkish pizzas and make a chocolate hazelnut crepe cake for dessert. They’re both great for sharing and easy to customize according to everyone’s preferences. For the crepe cake, try strawberry or matcha too, but it’s easy to try out your own flavors!
Happy Holidays to all! And, of course, happy eating!