Season's Eatings: Holiday Traditions

Thursday, December 17, 2009

The weekly series on holiday hosting continues with Tamara Reynolds and Zora O'Neill, authors of Forking Fantastic!: Put the Party Back in Dinner Party. This week: Holiday Traditions like Zora's famous fruitcake -- What are your family's holiday food traditions? Comment below.

Live Chat Today! Right after their segment, Zora and Tamara answered some holiday hosting questions in a live online chat.


Zora O’Neill and Tamara Reynolds

Comments [29]

Teresa from New York

Listening to the repeat broadcast as I missed it yesterday- these two women sound like they've been drinking the cooking sherry. Surprising that they've never heard of a cookie exchange or cookie party and yet they've written a book (with an offensive title, I might add) about entertaining. Oh my, they really do sound drunk...

Dec. 18 2009 12:57 AM
Adam from Valley Cottage, NY

My sister makes Artichoke Balls for every big holiday, including Christmas. It's sauteed artichoke hearts, garlic and onions in butter, then it's cooled and mixed with lots of parmesan cheese and Italian breadcrumbs. Roll into balls the size of a beer bottle cap, then dust with the cheese/breadcrumbs mixture and chill till set.

They're great served cold, very garlic-y, but they're amazing if you pan-fry them after they've cooled and set.

Here's a good recipe:

Dec. 17 2009 04:16 PM
ellen from Manhattan

My friend Jo bakes hundreds of cookies each Christmas, some of which she spreads out around the house to dry for 48 hrs before baking. She says this is an old, well-known tradition. If I tried it I'd have hundreds of roaches coming out for the holidays.

Is she right? Is this a tradition? Where? Why?

Dec. 17 2009 11:01 AM
SuzanneNYC from Upper West Side

You can be a locavore and still have rhubarb in December. It freezes beautifully. I have several bags of cut up rhubarb from this summer's bounty. Also blueberries and strawberries (hull them before freezing).

Dec. 17 2009 11:01 AM
Paula from Chappaqua, NY

Every Chanukah, and Passover, I make Tzimmes, with prunes, sweet potatoes, pineapple chunks, and large raisins,simmered in pineapple juice, a dash of vanilla and some water, and it is just delicious. My grandmother added carrots but we don't like it as much that way.

Dec. 17 2009 11:00 AM
Creighton from Brooklyn

Two odd dishes that are always around during the holidays to fill the voids of more traditional dishes are chili spaghetti for christmas and swedish meatballs on new years.

My grandparents lived really close to Varallo's Chili Parlor in Nashville and for one year they got a huge amount of take out chili for their christmas party after accidentally distroying the turkey. Chili (on spaghetti) is always available during the holidays and never frowned upon if preferred over traditional holiday fare.

chili - spaghetti - vinegar

the southern holy trinity

Dec. 17 2009 10:59 AM
JK from Midtown

its funny how people want brian to just say christmas and not include every other holiday, even though it was the christians that outright copied the jews, muslims and pagans and proclaimed jesus was born on december 25 because it was convenient for the church.

Dec. 17 2009 10:58 AM
Peter Sarafin from Brooklyn

My family is Macedonian. On New Years Eve a Zelnich is made. This is a spinach pie made with many many layers of philo dough. A quarter is thrown in the spinach mix. And the pie is laid out and baked on a large sheet pan. The person that gets their tooth chipped on the quarter is to have good luck in the upcoming year. I got the quarter many times. My luck still stinks.

Dec. 17 2009 10:58 AM
Robert from NYC

lux, lucis

Dec. 17 2009 10:57 AM
MikeInBrklyn from Brooklyn

Listening to those two cackling hens does not inspire the "Foodie" in me. Why can't these women discuss this topic without the endless silly laughter and idiotic groans and moans.

Dec. 17 2009 10:57 AM
Lyn from westfield

Unfortunately I may the end of a family tradition....My father is Norwegian and I grew up with a LUTEFISK dinner on dinner. Lutefisk is white fish prepared with lye. It is sad, but I can't bring myself to prepare or eat it may be the end of an era!

Dec. 17 2009 10:56 AM
Larry from Brooklyn

My kids and I make 15 kinds of cookies (many, many batches) to give as gifts to teachers and friends. We have to begin before Thanksgiving and had to borrow a freezer this year with so many cookies. We've been doing this for about 7 years. We got in late last night from the delivery.

Dec. 17 2009 10:56 AM
ahmad sardar from east village

im Iranian...and we are a bit squeamish about imagine our faces when the cook in France was bleeding a live duck into a pan of fried onions...a bit like a boudin.....she said it was essential to cure the hang over

Dec. 17 2009 10:56 AM

Bogotans (Colombia) enjoy having AJÍACO for the Holidays: A hearty holiday soup made with THREE kind of Andean potatoes, chicken, vegetables and a specific Andean herb called GUASCAS topped with capers and crema fresca, and served with fresh avocado. All the potatoes must melt and thicken the soup and it usually takes hours to make. This place in Greenpoint, Brooklyn Cafecito Bogotá makes authentic versions of this Colombian plate from time to time.

Dec. 17 2009 10:55 AM
Marisa from Brooklyn

Every christmas, my aunt and I make buche de noel, a cake that looks like a yule log. It is a french tradition. The best part are the meringue mushrooms on top.

Dec. 17 2009 10:55 AM
Jemal from Jamaica

Our tradition is to make Black Eyed Peas on New Year's Day. My mom uses a coconut and lime sauce...

Dec. 17 2009 10:55 AM
sasha from Brooklyn

I'm from Trinidad and Tobago. My favorite traditional food and drink for the holidays is black cake- which has rum and lots of fruit and ponche de la creme- which is similar to eggnog but with rum and lots of nutmeg....I even have it for breakfast!

Dec. 17 2009 10:54 AM
Robert from NYC

tsk tsk tsk there are cookie only bakers, where have you been Brian! There are probably more cookie recipes in the world than any other types of foods.

Dec. 17 2009 10:54 AM
john from office

You can use the Word Christmas Brian, they are called Christmas Parties not Holiday parties.

Dec. 17 2009 10:53 AM
emma from Brooklyn

Every year my family makes "schnecken," which I think means "snails" in German. The recipe is from my father's German grandparents. They are delicious sticky buns, with a sweet batter and a brown sugar/butter topping

Dec. 17 2009 10:51 AM
sara from Brooklyn

My mom's side is italian and my dad's side is german. So Christmas eve is the feast of 7 fishes and my mom makes these phenomenal oyster rockafeller and my grandma T makes this great calamari with olives thing..
Then Christmas dinner is thankfully quieter with saurbraten (spelling?) red cabage and spetzels. And my aunt makes me my favorite strawberry rubarb pie. mmmmm.... christmas

Dec. 17 2009 10:51 AM
Kathleen from Morningside Heights

O & H kringle is the best! How funny to hear it mentioned. My grandfather was from Racine and my family orders loads of kringles from O & H Bakery for the holidays.

Dec. 17 2009 10:51 AM
Troy from Carroll Gardens

My German aunt always sent us these amazing butterhorns when I was a kid...they had this almond filling and they were aged in a basement for weeks before they were ready to eat. I've been searching for the recipe in my adult years so I can adapt it to a vegan lifestyle, but I can't find anything quite like it.

Dec. 17 2009 10:51 AM
Neil from Astoria ROCKS!

I made my first traditional English Christmas pudding this year! The ultra calorific, dried fruit laden sin-fest that you have on Christmas day. Some ingredients tricky to find in NYC (I'm a native Brit) but it mixed up well... and fingers crossed for Xmas Day!

...also planning to make a Stollen - complete with marzipan inside... yummy!

Dec. 17 2009 10:50 AM

Oh God! Not again.

Dec. 17 2009 10:49 AM
dwood from New York, New York

Oh goodness. Now we're in the 3rd hour of "Today" with Kathy Lee and Hoda on the Brian Lehrer Show. I'll check back in in about 20 minutes.

Dec. 17 2009 10:49 AM
Marissa from Manhattan, NY

I've got lots of Hindu, athiest, Christian, Catholic, Muslim and Jewish friends - but the one thing we all enjoy is the Cookie Party I hostess every year. A huge variety of cookies, and "blank" gingerbread people - which my guests decorate themselves - brings our disparate beliefs together for some holiday joy and appreciation of the little things in life.

Dec. 17 2009 10:48 AM
john from office

Brian, stop trying to include every possible group. The season is the Christmas/ Chanukha season, not every possible group, stop trying to be soooo politically correct.

Dec. 17 2009 10:48 AM
Gabrielle from brooklyn

my mom makes my great grandma's russian apple pie (it's only russian because that's where the fam is from)... every year she swears she sees her profile in the dough as she rolls it out. i dont believe her but it's cute.

Dec. 17 2009 07:14 AM

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