Holiday Food traditions

Interesting tidbits behind your favorite holiday food & drink

by Chandra Handley

photos by: Nicholas Labyrinth, Tracy Shaun, Michelle Schrank & Matthew Bietz


Candy Canes….the “sweet” way to quiet kiddos –

Who knew the candy cane allegedly got its start as a means to discipline children. As the story goes, the sweet treat was used in 17th Germany during Christmas church services. The choirmaster would give out these candy sticks resembling Shepard’s hooks to noisy children, to keep them quiet during the services. Four centuries later, candy canes remain a favorite holiday candy…and can probably still be used to quiet noisy children!

Fruit Cake, the immortal Christmas food –

This sometimes unpopular holiday cake…you know, the one that seems to always get passed from family member to family member because no one wants to utter “no thank you?” This fruit and nut mystery does have quite a lengthy past

dating back to Roman times. Fast forward to Europe in the 1700’s…this ceremonial type of fruitcake was baked at the end of the nut harvest and saved and eaten the next year to celebrate the beginning of the next harvest, hoping it will bring them another successful harvest. Today’s modern version contains lots of sugar to preserve the fruit and some are laden with alcohol for the seemingly ‘immortal” state of this holiday treat.

New Year’s Eve

Bubbly at Midnight –

Drinking champagne as a way to celebrate is a tradition that has endured for centuries. Dating back to European aristocrats enjoying the bubbly at royal parties. Overtime, as New Yea
r’s became a secular holiday instead of the religious one it once was, imbibement of the bubbly became popular for a myriad of celebrations. Its effervescence symbolizes the abundance and joy felt as we toast the ringing in of yet another revolution around the sun!

New Year’s Day –

Pass the Peas & Greens please –

A heaping helping of Black-eyed peas with a side of greens …..yep, what a way to start the new year! Steeped in Southern culture, these two southern dishes promise eating peas for good luck and its side kick greens for lots of money in the New Year….according to tradition. So along with drinking your Ovaltine this season, don’t forget to add a side

of peas & greens for prosperity in 2018!

Valentines Day

Candy for Your Sweet-

Valentine’s Day by the late 19th century, was considered a holiday through out much of the English-speaking world. Victorians were known for their obsession with romantics and love. The holiday was celebrated by giving over the top gifts and cards to loved ones. The famous British Cadbury family saw this day of love as an excellent way to market their chocolate. Richard Cadbury started hand-designing lavish boxes for the sweet treats. The beautiful boxes flew off the

shelves…..thus the holiday tradition continues. Candy for your sweet!

Mardi Gras –

Let them eat cake!

Mardi Gras is just around the corner and King Cakes will abound every Mardi soriee. This gold, green and purple staple has deep roots and is rich in tradition as part the popular carnival season in New Orleans. The name is derived from the Three Wise Men in the Bible, who came bearing gifts for Baby Jesus on the Twelfth Night. King cake is first served on King’s Day (January 6) and lasts through the eve of Mardi Gras to celebrate the coming of the three kings, as well as to honor them with a sweet homage to their jeweled crowns. The cake is usually baked with a plastic baby figurine inside and whoever finds it inside their slice of cake represents an emblem of good luck. Laissez les bons temps rouler!