Culture December 22, 2016
During the holidays, food brings people together.
Regardless of where you are in the world, every meal is rooted in different cultural traditions. From Israel to the Philippines you can find a special dish that is shared with friends and loved ones each year.
Here are five delicious ways to celebrate the holidays.
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Late-night comedian Johnny Carson once said, “There is only one fruitcake in the entire world and people keep passing it around.” Although fruitcakes are the running joke of the holiday season, it’s something plenty of people enjoy each Christmas. Fruitcake dates back to ancient times when making cakes with expensive dried fruits was a way of showing affluence. So this dish most likely became a part of the Christmas tradition because the cake was often served at special events.
Hanukkah celebrates one of the the miracles documented in the Bible’s Old Testament, when one night’s worth of oil endured for eight nights. Because of this, many of the foods eaten during this holiday are fried in oil, such as the potato latke. A latke is a potato cake that’s fried until golden brown. They are also sometimes served with applesauce or other sweet toppings.
In France, Bûche de Noël, meaning “branch of Christmas,” is traditionally served after the Christmas Eve midnight mass. This cake is the French version of a Yule Log and is filled and rolled in the shape of a log. Bûche de Noël is often made with chestnut flavor and it is also usually decorated with small “mushrooms” to resemble the forest floor.
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Hallacas are the traditional Christmas food in Venezuela. During this time of the year, families will often make a batch large enough to feed multiple family members and last the entire season. Hallacas are made with corn dough and filled with a mixture of meats such as pork, beef, chicken and pork rinds. Then the dough is wrapped inside a plantain leaf, tied with a string and cooked in boiling water.
Puto bumbong is one of the most popular holiday foods in the Philippines. During Christmastime, especially after Christmas Eve church services, people line up in the street to buy this sweet purple rice treat. Puto bumbong is a mixture of white and black rice, which ends up being purple after being soaked in salt water. After the rice has been drained, it is inserted into a bamboo tube, also known as a bumbong. The tube is then steamed until the rice mixture cooks. Then it is served with butter, sugar and shredded coconut.
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