Food for Thought

apple pieAs I walk through the mall, I see stores already getting ready for Thanksgiving and Christmas. With these holidays comes families making holiday treats for the whole family to enjoy, recipes that are passed down from generation to generation. Personally, my grandmother taught me two years ago how to make her apple pie for the holiday season.

After learning how to make my grandmother’s apple pie, I became an avid baker and wanted to learn how to make other desserts and entrees. While Thanksgiving in an American tradition and holiday, Christmas is a Christian holiday that is celebrated around the world. What are desserts that other cultures make to pass down for their holiday meals?

Apple pie is seen as the traditional American dessert. Every baker and family has their own recipe, their own special ingredient that makes the pie unique. This recipe is passed down from generation to generation so that the recipe never dies. In Mexico, a traditional dessert includes churros, flan, and dulce de leche cakes (Better Homes). Like in America, these are desserts that are made everywhere, from the local baker to an individual in their own kitchen. What is interesting is how common these traditional Mexican desserts have made their way into American society. I have seen churros sold on street carts and have seen flan and dulce de leche cakes available in a number of restaurants.

While the traditional desserts of America and Mexico are better known for holiday feasts and special family dinners, other cultures have created desserts based on the people they were cooking for. In Italian culture, cookies and similar dry desserts were made for sailors, for the long voyages; and elaborate desserts were made for important events and holidays (Garrubbo). These dessert creations have a long history and have been refined to be in a class all their own (Garrubbo).

While every culture has a different tradition and dessert for holiday meals, one thing that always remains the same is that families pass down their recipes and special cooking quirks from generation to generation. Holidays are celebrated around the world, and every family has a special dessert that they make for these occasions. Having a family tradition of learning how to make this dessert brings the family together in the kitchen, and allows the traditions to continue through the generations of families.


Better Homes and Gardens. 24 Amazing Mexican Desserts. Retrieved October 18, 2013.

Garrubbo Guide. Italian Desserts (Dolci). Retrieved October 18, 2013.

Submitted by Erin Schiels

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