Life Stories

7 Holiday Recipes We Learned From Our Grandmothers And Grandfathers

When you think about holiday traditions, there’s no doubt about it — food is very important. Winter is just the perfect season to make comfort foods that the family can’t get enough of. Any sort of winter weight gain is totally worth it when it can be credited to your grandmother’s scalloped potato recipe. That’s a dish you probably anticipate throughout the whole year.

Food brings us together. There’s also something very special about gathering family members together for a big meal. While many food memories can be tied directly towards Thanksgiving — especially in regards to special side dishes — Hanukkah, Christmas, and Kwanzaa are also big ones. For Kwanzaa, plenty of families eat catfish, creole, chicken, beans and rice, and okra. For Hanukkah, Jewish families often bond over latkes, kugel, and brisket. Also, sufganiyot  — which is a delicious type of jelly donut. You can’t go wrong with Hanukkah desserts.

For Christmas, things can be changed up. Some people celebrate with a meal that almost resembles a Thanksgiving feast, while others opt for ham. Sometimes, families gather together for a big potluck. No matter what, there’s usually some sort of family recipe in the mix.

We asked 7 people about their own traditional recipes from grandma and grandpa, and the stories that surround them. While some full recipes weren’t available (or, were kept as family secrets — which makes a lot of sense) you’ll feel good to hear why they’re so special.

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