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Holiday Foods Across Cultures

Updated: Dec 5, 2023

By Astride Adrien

Graphic Credit to Thania Mejia

The holidays are finally here. And you know what that means: it’s the time of year when families come together, presents are passed around, and maybe best of all, food is being eaten.

The Buccaneer conducted a poll of 58 students and found the following to be the most anticipated side dishes this season.

1. Mac & Cheese

This was the most preferred dish with a whopping 36 percent of votes. This delicacy is usually served around Thanksgiving and Christmas. Mac and cheese is a rich and creamy dish of macaroni pasta mixed with cheese sauce that creates lasting memories.

Photo Credit to Pexels

“Mac and cheese is my favorite. It reminds me of Christmas and the holidays,” said Janell Campbell, a sophomore theatre student. “My family has a specific way of making it, we also like to get into contests about who has the best way to have it made.”

You can traditionally eat it either baked or straight from the stovetop.

“Most of my family memories revolve around some form of a mac and cheese contest happening,” she said. “I just love mac and cheese. It’s always so creamy and savory.”

For Alexander Orozco, a senior English and Spanish major, “When mac and cheese is good, it’s really good. But when it’s bad—I would still eat it.”

2. Mashed Potatoes

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The second most-voted dish with 22 percent is the year-round staple, mashed potatoes. They are a simple side made by mashing steamed or boiled potatoes with milk, butter, and salt and pepper seasoning to make it a delicious cream.

This delicacy is usually paired with meat like steak or pork chops with a side of vegetables. This rich and creamy dish makes family gatherings all the more smoother.

3. Lechon Asado or Rice & Beans with pulled pork

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Next on our list, tied with mashed potatoes, is the Cuban classic called Lechon Asado. This comfort dish is usually made with pork seasoned to perfection that has been slow-cooked on medium-to-low heat until tender, then plated on top of cooked rice and beans.

This is typically served around Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve to make a warm setting with family even warmer.

It will leave a savory taste in your mouth after each bite.

4. Pumpkin Pie

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Number four with nine percent on our list can be served year-round but more frequently during Thanksgiving and Christmas. This staple desert is THE icon for the fall season. It is a traditional dessert made with a spiced pumpkin custard filling lying on a crumbly pie crust, often served with whipped cream.

Its smoothness will leave you wanting more.

5. Cannoli

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Finally, the dessert that is not really a dessert from Sicily. While it is a known staple in Sicily, traditionally, it is known as an Italian dessert.

“Cannolis are kind of my favorite by default, since having them at Christmas has been a tradition for as long as I can remember and we've never had a year where we skipped it,” said Anne LaMont, a sophomore theater major.

This deep-fried tubeshaped pastry is filled with a sweet cream cheese filling and chocolate chip pieces topped with powdered sugar.

“They tie in a year’s worth of memories of our big Christmas gatherings at my aunt's old house. I always loved being in that house when it was full of people,” she said.

What foods are you looking forward to this holiday season?

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