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Here in Gladstone, the weather outside is not as frightful as in New York City or Saint Paul, but but we’re still drawn to the warmth of our stoves and ovens. Here’s a list of our favorite holiday treats from cultures around the globe!

Candy Canes

Christmas – Germany

The candy cane traces its humble origins to a choirmaster in Germany who tired of hearing a chorus of children’s candy wrappers during church services. During the extended nativity services, children were given long sticks of white candy to suck on. The candy’s shape represents biblical symbolism—the bent shepherd’s staff. The red stripe was finally added around 1900, more for looks than for religious symbolism.

Ever wanted to try making your own candy canes? This site will walk you through it![/bscolumns]
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Latkas

Hannukah – Jewish Tradition

According to tradition, lamp oil meant for just one night kept the lamps burning for eight days and nights in the Temple during the Maccabean rebellion. Hannukah, the Festival of Lights, celebrates this miracle with gifts, family time, and delicious treats!  These doughnuts and Latkas (a delicious fried potato pancake) are making our mouths water!

Mincemeat Pies

Christmas – England

Mince Pies or Christmas Pies are very popular in Britain, but their roots reach back to Middle Eastern recipes brought back to England from the Muslim world. Traditional recipes include mutton or beef, local fruits and spices like cinnamon and nutmeg.

This recipe has survived at least three generations of cooks, at least sixty years of perfecting. Enjoy!

Spicy Blackened Catfish

Kwanzaa – United States

Kwanzaa celebrates the flowering of African cultural roots in the New World. This festival first began in 1965 to honor the seven principles of African heritage, or Nguzu Saba: Unity, Self-determination, Collective Work and Responsibility, Cooperative Economics, Purpose, Creativity, and Faith. These tasty treats come from the southern United States and the Caribbean, often making use of staples brought over from Africa.

Spicy Blackened Catfish is lovely with a sweet potato side. Wrap up your evening with this mouthwatering Coconut-Rum Pie with Pineapple.

 

Hot Spiced Chocolate

Christmas – Peru

Throughout the month of December, churches collect donations to make massive amounts of this traditional holiday beverage as a gift to the less fortunate. Spicy and sweet with cinnamon and chili powders, they enjoy this on the eve of Christmas as a part of their big holiday meal, complete with tamales or roast turkey.

This family friendly beverage can be given some extra holiday kick by adding rum or your favorite coffee liqueur.

Plum Pudding

Christmas – England

With its roots in medieval England, this holiday favorite is also called Christmas Pudding or affectionately, “Pud.” Despite its common name, rarely is there a presence of plums, and its pudding-like texture fades after being allowed to age anywhere between a month and a year. The making of the Plum Pudding is a family affair, each member taking turns giving the mixture a stir and making a wish!

Here’s a recipe that (if started soon) can be enjoyed by Christmas Day!

 

Wassail

Yule – Pagan & Wiccan Tradition

This lovely beverage is the ultimate come-in-from-the-cold drink. It’s origins are in the apple producing regions of England. Spicy and hot, Wassail was drunk around Twelfth Night, accompanied by loud singing in the apple groves to scare off evil spirits lurking around the trees. The singing wakes up the apple trees and ensures a bountiful harvest the following Autumn. Oranges, as a delicious symbol of the sun, can be used to decorate your holiday table. Give your Wassail a little sunshine too, and slice up an orange to infuse your spicy beverage!

While traditionally Wassail is made with mulled cider, ale or wine, this kid-friendly version will please the whole family!

 

Butterbeer

Christmas – from the Harry Potter series

When asked to describe what she was imagining when she created Butterbeer, J.K. Rowling replied, “I made it up. I imagine it to taste a little bit like less sickly butterscotch.” Recipe creators all over the world have enjoyed experimenting with different ingredients and temperatures trying to nail this fantastical beverage.

There are hundreds of recipes, and here are two for you, the adult version and the family friendly version. Come summertime, look around for cold versions of this delicious hot beverage![/bscolumns]

Happy Holidays from Gladstone Family Dentistry!