A Seat At Our Table: Holiday Dishes From The Community

Updated: Dec 10, 2019

"People who love to eat are always the best people." -Julia Child

Breaking bread with loved ones is in our opinion, a holy engagement. And while the holidays can be filled with stressful planning, travel and absurdly high expectations, we can't help but feel nostalgic for those meals that remind us of home.

Our community is rich with culture, and we know that sharing that culture with each other is what makes this world magic so we asked a few of them to share a dish that takes them home. We hope these stories inspire you to find comfort in tradition & even, get in the kitchen a bit more.

Greens! Collard greens have always been my absolute favorite dish to enjoy around the holidays. Growing up I’d spend holidays in Cincinnati with four generations of my family. My Nana’s family roots run deep in Ohio and I love telling people that my family is very black, no apologies. So long story short the greens are bomb.

My great grandmother, great aunt and nana would cook non stop, it’s probably the most spoiled I’ve ever been, but the greens were always the highlight for me. So much so that this year in my new home where I hosted Thanksgiving I was in charge of the greens. Times have since changed and I swapped turkey necks for braised mushrooms so that my vegan friends could indulge as well. I was somewhat nervous but everyone loved them, I felt so affirmed, so proud. I felt like it was a culinary tribute to the women who cooked for me every thanksgiving year after year, and for that I’m truly thankful.

Raven Baker, Video Producer & Social Media Editor

"Tamales de pavo con chile rojo" aka “Red Chili Turkey

Tamales" Tamales have been a Mexican tradition around the holidays for centuries, they gather families and feel like little presents when you unwrap. Specifically, with my family we have made them since I can remember, but with our own twist. Tamales made out of turkey is one of the least common type, but for my immediate family it’s our main ingredient. The story behind that is one that I didn’t fully understand or appreciate until I got a little older:

My father has worked at the same company for over 25 years and every year around Thanksgiving every employee is given a frozen turkey to take home. It was never our tradition to make a turkey for Thanksgiving. Instead, my parents got the idea to cook the turkey with chile rojo to use as a tamale stuffing and make them together at our dinner table on Thanksgiving. One turkey is enough to make about 100 tamales, so we steam some that night and freeze the rest to share during Christmas. This was part of my childhood, but as I became an adult I realized that growing up this turkey meant a lot more to my family. We did not come from money and even though my parents worked humble jobs and made sure my siblings and I had everything we needed, this turkey gathered my family and gave us something to eat while maintaining our Mexican tradition. Now, my siblings and I are all adults and my parents struggle less, but we do not forget where we came from and what brought us so much joy throughout the years. During this time, we still get together and make delicious tamales from the turkey that’s still given to my father every year.

–Ophelia Zúñiga, Content Specialist at Apple Music/Beats 1 

Shoofly Pie is a traditional Pennsylvania Dutch dish and is exactly what it sounds like. Tradition says that it was a pie that was placed next to another cooling pie on the window, intended to make the flies attracted to the 'dummy' pie, and stay clear of the other pie. The problem was that this fake pie was made with the most delicious and sweet ingredients, so as time went on it too became a legendary pie in Pennsylvania Dutch culture.

My grandmothers recipe is so legendary that she cranks out pies constantly during the holiday season. Can't say my pies are as good as my grandmothers, but the taste brings me to a place of happiness, and reminds me of my unique upbringing on a farm. It's a really special dish I always try to share with others, especially those who have never heard of it! –Lindsay Eshelman, CEO of Recit Group

Growing up, my family was a bit unorthodox. My mother, who raised my brother and myself on her own, worked a lot. My love of the kitchen really developed through nights on my own and a lot of The Cooking Channel. If the recipe was complicated, I wanted to make it.

For Thanksgiving, around the age of nine, I took on the role of chef – committing to a traditional meal every year. I think this made me feel like our family was "normal." Now as a grown woman, I know there is no such thing as normal but back then - all I wanted was a TV family.

My mom always made the turkey but I was in charge of everything else and I took it VERY seriously. Printing out Julia Child recipes of stuffing and candied yams. The one thing I also had to have was cranberry sauce. I would relish in grabbing it from the bodega and serving it on a platter shaped like the can. In fact, this year at my brother's place, the cranberry sauce was left off the menu so I naturally ran to the store to find a can. They didn't have it but I'm grown now so I made it from scratch. It was good, but it wasn't the STUFF. Ya know?

–Zoila Darton, Founder of WORD

A dish I love eating during the holiday is Macedonian Komat or "Swirled Burek". Its traditionally made with feta cheese and green onion or mincemeat, but these days I enjoy with leeks or potatoes.

I have fond memories of helping my grandma when she would make this for special occasions and holidays. So it's always a reminder of joyous times with whole family. Luckily now my mum makes the best komat and coming home to mum's cooking has to be one of the best parts of going back home to Australia!

–Shana Jade Trajanoska, Photographer & Visual Artist 

Share that dish that takes you home in the comments and we'll include it in our January newsletter!