It wouldn’t be Christmas unless I’m eating…Squirrel Brunswick Stew? Cristollen?

Christmas MealWe are a rather varied group at MetroKitchen.  Ranging from all American mid-westerners to native Atlantans to 1st generation Cuban-Americans.  We even have a naturalized US citizen born in Haiti, a 2nd generation of Polish descent and a New Orleans transplant.

As you might imagine, we have interesting discussions about our Christmas traditions, especially food.  In fact, those discussions are what led to this blog post!

Let’s talk about the cristollen.  Every December, Andrew’s Mom makes one for the entire Metrokitchen staff.  Thanks Andrew’s Mom!   MetroKitchen staffers describe this holiday treat as “round doughy goodness,”  “a cinnamon baklava,” “a bundt bread,” a “magical rolled sweet bread with rich almond paste.”  Andrew’s Mom is Scottish and has put her own spin on this traditional German holiday bread.

Several Atlanta natives describe a salad from their childhoods that is a festive green color.  Called Pistachio Mallow Salad, it is a combination of pistachio pudding with pineapple, marshmallow, whipped topping and walnuts.   A yummy holiday memory!   Waldorf salads and cheese logs are also part of the Atlanta Christmas tradition.

Hatian Griot PlateGriot is a Hatian Christmas staple.  It’s mouth watering, tender, must have more, fried pork.  It’s always the first thing to be wiped out at a party.   It must be eaten with pikliz, a garnish or salad of cabbage, peppers, carrots, onions. Here’s a great video on how to make griot.  If you want to know more, visit the Facebook Fan Page for Griot.

Cuban MealBobby’s family is from Cuba and they traditionally celebrate the holiday on Christmas Eve, or Nochebuena.  The big feast includes roast pork (or lechon) as the main dish along with sides like yuca con mojo, moros y cristianos, and fried or sweet plantains.  All paired with some nice Spanish wines. Three guys from Miami have some great recipes of traditional Cuban dishes.

LynnThe eastern European tradition contributes nut bread to the MetroKitchen mix.  For me, Christmas means my Mom’s and Grandma’s nut bread.  It looks a bit like a jelly roll but with nuts instead of jelly.   The dough is quite bread-like, made with yeast and is also a little bit sweet.  It takes strength to knead and roll out the dough and many hours.  But, oh, does my family love this holiday tradition.  I’m going to try to make it myself this Christmas.  I’ll keep you posted on the results.    Picture of mom/me and pix of nut bread

Sally’s Christmas olive potatoes are another dish we can’t live without at Christmas dinner.  This yummy dish combines potatoes, cheese and olives.  Sometimes bacon pieces get added, but that requires making 2 separate dishes, one with and one without to meet everyone’s Christmas food requirements!

Here’s the recipe:
Sally’s Christmas scalloped potatoes with olives & more
8 cooked, peeled and sliced large potatoes
1 cup mayonnaise
½ cup finely chopped onions
1 pound shredded sharp cheddar cheese
Mix together and pour into a greased 9 x 13 inch pan
Top with:
1/4 cup chopped, stuffed green olives and
½ pound cooked, chopped bacon (optional)
Bake at 325 degrees F for 1 hour.

The New Orleans contingent weighs in with grits and grillades… a staple every Christmas morning.   This is one of my favorite meals, though I’ve never had it for breakfast…at any time of the year.   Makes for a great dinner too!   Emeril Lagasse has a great grits and grillades recipe.

Finally, what about this squirrel stew thing?  One of our customer service experts describes herself as being from the deep south.  Squirrel, I’m told, is quite delicious.  A bit nutty in taste as you might imagine.   It is a specialty of her grandmother.  But, her comment about Christmas is “In my family, it’s really more about the drinks!” Here’s a squirrel stew recipe.

All of at MetroKitchen wish you and yours good food and good cheer.  Happy Holidays!  Do you have a traditional food for the holiday season?

Creative Commons License photo credit: terren in Virginia, kthread, Daquella manera