The world is a gloriously multicultural
place, with its people celebrating a kaleidoscope of holidays with a variety of foods and traditions. During the last month of the year and first weeks of the New Year, worldwide feasts and festivals, both religious and secular, are celebrated: From Jewish Hanukkah to African-inspired Kwanzaa, from Scotland’s Hogmanay to Britain’s Boxing Day and to Poland’s Wigilia. Each unique and special.
Christmas Comes But Once A Year… and when it does, it brings good cheer and a huge amount of eating. We all enjoy our own Christmas holiday traditions: Preparing roast turkey, baked ham with all the traditional fixings, but some of us enjoy a clambake, barbeque, or even a vegetarian nut loaf on Christmas Day. The day on which Christmas is celebrated varies too, depending on which calendar is followed. Regardless of different timings, a common theme throughout the world, is the importance food plays in the celebrations.
Every country has classics and “must have” dishes for the feast table. Haggis, for example, is a favorite sausage beloved by many Scots, but others consider it an acquired taste. Who knows, maybe you’ll find a dish or two to add to your holiday celebrations. Here is a very brief look at some countries with interesting holiday culinary traditions.
Sweden. One of the most important celebrations in Sweden is St. Lucia’s Day, on Dec. 13. Children dress in white clothes, carry candles and sing Christmas songs, for a fun day of jubilation. Christmas Eve is the main celebration with a smorgasbord filled with ham, pork, sausages, an egg and anchovy mixture (gubbröra), herring salad, pickled herring, homemade
pâté, rye bread, potatoes, beet salad and a special fish dish called lutefisk. Gifts are exchanged after the meal.
Holiday Dining Treat: Lutefisk. This Scandinavian delicacy is dried cod that has been soaked in lye, then soaked again for four to six days in chilly water to remove the lye. Eventually, the lutefisk is cooked and served with boiled potatoes, green peas and a white sauce.