10 Christmas Food Traditions You've Never Heard Of
When it comes to Christmas dinner, there are almost as many varieties as there are cultures.
From German Christmas goose to "fur coat" fish, here are just some of the ways people celebrate Christmas around the world.
“Weihnachtsgans” or German Christmas goose, is the traditional fowl that anchors family feasts around the country, though roast duck is becoming increasingly popular too.
"Gourmetten is a typical Dutch Christmas dinner tradition, where a group of people sit at a table and cook their own little dishes in small pans (a top a large hot plate)," says Maartje Frederiks, CEO of the meal delivery group HelloFresh Benelux.
It is reminiscent of the Swiss and French raclette, though instead of grilling cheese on a communal grill, Dutch people grill a variety of meat, fish and vegetables.
"Additionally, the Dutchies like to bake small omelets or pancakes, and dress the experience with a variety of different sauces and bread with garlic butter," says Frederiks.
The Feast of the Seven Fishes, which occurs on Christmas Eve, is a gut-busting ritual kept in many parts of Italy and the Italian-American community.
It's important that there are seven different 'fishes' prepared in seven different ways. Dishes are fried, cured, served in tomato sauce, etc.
Its tropical climate makes it perfect for gathering the family outdoors to help with lechon, or whole roasted pig.
"Preparing lechon is a bit of an event in itself - from stuffing the hog with onions, lemongrass, and garlic to preparing the fire," says expat Filipino and executive chef Carlo Lamagna of Portland's Clyde Common.
"One of the most authentic Christmas traditions in Costa Rica is to prepare tamales ... every family has a secret tamale recipe," says Allan Duarte, banquet manager at Costa Rica Marriott San Jose.
Tamales are usually wrapped in banana leaves, and stuffed with a meat (pork, chicken or beef), garlic, onion, potatoes, raisins and other ingredients.
Surely the most exotic-sounding dish on this list, Russia's "herring in a fur coat" is a vibrant, layered salad that's consumed in many Russian households for the holiday season.
"It is a staple at all of my family holiday feasts," says Daniel Malak, a Russian-American working in San Francisco. "If you're a pescatarian, open your eyes wide and take in the glory of this pie which is layered with beets, mayo, potatoes, diced hard boiled eggs and, of course, herring."
"As a native of Puerto Rico, one of my favorite meals to prepare is arroz con gandules (rice with peas and pigeon)," says Fernando Desa, executive chef of Goya Foods. "Holidays would certainly not be the same without this classic dish."
戈雅食品公司的行政主厨费尔南多·德萨说：“作为一个土生土长的波多黎各人，我最喜欢做的食物之一是arroz con gandules（米饭配豌豆和鸽子肉）。没有这道经典菜品，节日肯定会变味的。”
The dish, which is seasoned with garlic, oregano, tomato sauce, olive oil and other ingredients, is enjoyed year-round but is required eating at Christmas.
New Orleans is famous for "letting the good times roll" well into the holiday season with its Reveillon dinners, a French family tradition that goes back to the early 19th century.
Originally eaten after midnight mass before Christmas Eve, there are a variety of dishes in any given feast, but the usual suspects are seafood gumbo, soup and game pies.
Dumplings, or pierogi - stuffed with either mashed potatoes, cottage cheese or sauerkraut -- are the traditional holiday treat of choice in Poland.
They are served with different toppings, such as melted butter, fried onion or skwarki: fried, crunchy golden pork fatback nuggets.
The Caribbean island Dominica -- not to be confused with the Dominican Republic -- prefers to nosh on a hearty bowl of tripe soup for the holidays.
Christmas tripe soup reflects the island nation's "whole animal" eating culture -- the practice of eating even those parts of an animal that might normally be discarded.
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