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What are they eating Over There?

Posted on 21st Dec, 2010 by Wade Dowdell
Panettone and Stollen

You may find yourself during the winter holidays thinking about food of the Old Country, whatever that country happens to be.

In Scandinavian countries on Saint Lucy’s Day, December 13th, there is the spectacular tradition of the Lucia Bride wearing a crown of candles and serving oddly-shaped saffron buns in the early morning. In Italy at Christmas you’re likely to be tempted by a slice of panettone, that monumental sweet bread laced with raisins and candied citrus peel. The German Stollen is similar to the panettone in texture and inclusions, but its loafier shape is meant to resemble the Christ Child in swaddling clothes.

Meanwhile in Wales you might have boiled goose, potato pudding (a savory pudding) and rice pudding at Christmas. New Year’s festivities there include the calennig, a New Year’s gift of an apple or orange standing on a tripod of twigs and decorated with cloves, dried fruit, and sprigs of greenery. The calennig is not eaten but kept for good luck.

In France the Epiphany celebrations include eating the gâteau des rois or kings’ cake, which is a cake baked with a dry bean or a trinket inside; if you’re lucky enough to find this trinket in your slice of cake, you are declared king of the feast. You might have to be king in absentia if you break a tooth on the hidden treasure and have to be hauled away to the dentist. The custom of the king cake exists in several countries in Europe and the Americas; in Spanish-speaking countries it is called rosca de reyes.

Have you borrowed any holiday traditions or foods from other places that you have no ancestral connection to and made them your own?

Food, we love you.

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Comments (4)

  1. 21st Dec 2010
    by Amanda H.

    Nice! Growing up, we kids were carted over to Grandma and Grandpa’s house for breakfast on Christmas Day. The menu was always, always, always ebelskivers. I’m sure I’ll pick up the same holiday tradition again some day.

  2. 21st Dec 2010
    by Tim Svendsen

    Always looking for Chistmas traditions and new recipies.

  3. 21st Dec 2010

    Christmas we spent with my mother’s Polish family, and that included a “fast” on Christmas Eve that was actually a feast: all the different kinds of seafood you could imagine, everything from oysters and shrimp to smelt and whitefish. On New Year’s Day, we would tromp over to my father’s Italian family and have lentil soup, where each bean you ate was suppose to symbolize a dollar that would come your way in the new year.

  4. 22nd Dec 2010
    by Lucy S

    That savory potato pudding idea is tempting – I will try making one!

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