Festive Seasons are a special time as they bring you and your family together. Food always plays a central role and special dishes are carefully prepared and shared on these occasions. In the United States, the main festive occasions and their respective popular dishes are described below. These showcase how special each of the festive occasionsis and how they play a role in bringing people closer.
Christmas is a special time of the year and families come together to celebrate this day with special presents. Most workplaces and all schools, colleges and educational institutions are closed. All places and houses come alive with beautifully decorated Christmas Trees,Christmas lights and decorations, and Christmas Carols.Food, of course, forms a big part of the celebrations and Christmas dishes include the following: –
- The main dishes comprise of Christmas ham or roast turkey and sometimes roast duck/goose/pheasant or even fish
- The side dishes include cranberry sauce, stuffing/dressing, mashed potato, and oyster stew
- Differentpies are eaten such as apple pie, pecan pie, sweet potato pie and pumpkin pie
- Festive treats are made like fruitcake, sweet potato/yam casserole served with marshmallows, chocolate fudge, Christmas cookies and boiled custard
- Other festive treats are candy canes, gingerbread, eggnog, hot buttered rum and hot chocolate
- All of these are celebrated with special drinks such as still/sparkling apple cider and Champagne
This is a major festive occasion and is a holiday for everyone. Thanksgiving started as a harvest festival in 1621 when the Native Americans helped the New Pilgrims with their first harvest. This is considered as the “First Thanksgiving” and is now a federal holiday celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November. Families come together, and cook and share an elaborate celebratory dinner.
Traditionally, roast turkey is served with stuffing consisting of bread, sage, celery, carrots, onions, chestnuts, sausage, cranberries, raisins, and apples. If this mixture is cooked separately and not inside the cavity of the bird, it is sometimes called a dressing. Traditional side dishes consist of cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, gravy, brussels sprouts, corn on the cob, and green bean casserole. Along with this, a fresh salad and bread rolls, biscuits as well as cornbread are served as accompaniments. Sweet dishes of winter squash and sweet potatoes are made with the inclusion of molasses, marshmallows and brown sugar. Desserts include the popular pumpkin pie and other pies such as apple, mincemeat, sweet potato and pecan pies. Beverages include still/sparkling apple cider, wine such as red wine called “Beaujolais Nouveau”, sweet tea, and sometimes spirits and cocktails.
Non-traditional Thanksgiving foods for main dishes include ham, goose, duck, crab, venison, tofu, whale meat, and beef ribs.Regional and cultural variations have led to variations in stuffing/dressing ingredients and other dishes, and addition alinclusion of new dishes.
St. Patrick’s Day
In the United States, mainly those with an Irish heritage celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. Food is a central part of the celebrations and the main dishes include Irish stew and shepherd’s pie. Other dishes include corned beef and cabbage, colcannon, Irish soda bread, and sweet dishes like Irish cream chocolate cheesecake.
The main dishes eaten on Easter are traditionally either roast lamb or ham that is cured. Nowadays, lamb shanks and glazed ham are also served. Other treats include hot cross buns, simnel cake, and of course Easter eggs.
Halloween is celebrated through sweet treats like candy corn, toffee apples, and spooky gingerbread houses, cookies,and cakes. Spooky versions are made of pigs-in-a-blanket, deviled eggs, sweet and sour chicken drumsticks, stuffed mushrooms, and hummus dip with crisps/crudities. Along with these, carved and lit Jack-O-Lanterns and Trick-or-treating form an essential part of the Halloween celebrations.
The above show how the popular food and dishes of these festive occasions has evolved over time. But in spite of this, they continue to strengthen the bonds between family members. They also make life happier for you and your family by bringing all of you closer each time.