Sharing Our Holiday Food Traditions

By Gilcy Aquino


Oh, the holidays! The lights! The decorations! The FOOD! If you’re anything like me, food is the only thing you’ve been thinking about since I said “holidays.” It’s that time of year when it’s socially acceptable to loosen your pants and go back for your 4th—or maybe 5th—plate of food without judgement. We asked our staff about their holiday food traditions and honestly, my mouth is already watering thinking about all of this deliciousness. Bon appétit!

“Whenever I hear people talking about how they’re going to have turkey on Thanksgiving or ham for Christmas, I constantly surprise everyone when I tell them that I’ve never had either of those things for my family’s holiday dinner. I’m Filippino and my family has always been proud of our Filippino roots and preserving our culture. When it comes to American holidays, we like to give it our own Filippino twist. This means instead of turkey for Thanksgiving, we have fried bangus (pronounced B-AH-G-oos). In America, it is called milkfish. ALL the seafood. Shrimp. Squid. If it swims, it’s probably on our table. Instead of mashed potatoes, we have mountains of rice. Or pancit (pronounced p-AH-n-seet), a stir-fried noodle dish. And the best part? Lumpia (pronounced loom-PEE-A). The Filippino name for eggrolls. Crispy. Fried. Deliciousness. You do not have a Filippino Thanksgiving without lumpia.”
-Gilcy Aquino, publicity and marketing intern

“My family has a few dishes we mix and match over the holidays, but one formidable tradition is the cheese platter, which has gotten increasingly experimental over the years. Cow, goat, and sheep milk are all featured, with various degrees of age, mold, texture/liquidity, and funkitude. I tend to cling to the nutty and buttery cow milk cheeses for dear life and only venture toward the stinkies if there’s a wager involved, but this year I plan to try them all! (She says while carefully lining her stomach with iron).”
-Becca Stumpf, associate manager, creative marketing

“Throughout the year, but especially around the holidays, my grandma makes Nuts n’ Bolts, this snack mix involving Chex, pretzels, nuts, and Cheerios. And I LIVE for Nuts n’ Bolts. My grandma always goes heavy on the Cheerios for me (they shrink in the oven and get all crispy and black and SUPER SALTY) and will set aside giant bags of the stuff for me to sneak back to my parents’ house and hide in the closet of the guest room so I don’t have to share. I sit in bed shoveling down handfuls of this snack mix at 7 AM before going downstairs to drink coffee with my mom and act like a normal person. It’s the best.”
-Heather Job, associate publicist

“Luckily for me, I get two holiday meals every year. I can gorge myself at lunchtime with mashed potatoes, green beans, stuffing, cranberry salad, and more at the traditional turkey with everything meal with my American side of the family. Then, for dinner, I eat up all the rices, meat stews, kabobs, pickled vegetables, yogurts, and stuffed grape leaves I can handle from a feast of Persian dishes with the Persian half of my family. Both meals have two things in common, though: pumpkin pie for dessert and a whole lot of family bonding!”
-Taraneh DJangi, senior manager, creative marketing

Add these audiobooks to your menu to help everyone enjoy themselves as they recover from epic holiday meals:
Seven Days of Us

A family is quarantined together over Christmas so naturally secrets, tensions, laughter, and drama ensue! You won’t want to miss this delightful listen.
“Bond does a beautiful job narrating a heartwarming story.” —Audiofile

An Unwanted Guest
Author: Shari Lapena
Read By: Hillary Huber

You’ll be eating second and third helpings on the couch so you can listen to this twisty thriller where guests at a weekend retreat at a cozy mountain lodge turn into murder victims, one by one.

Everything's Trash, But It's Okay

Burn extra calories (more room for an extra slice of pie!) by laughing at comedian Phoebe Robinson’s hilarious new collection of essays.

For more listening suggestions this holiday season, you’re invited to our Holiday House!