Recipe Box: Cooking Lentils, Herring Salad and More Holiday Foods

Holiday foods include cooking lentils for a good-luck New Year’s meal, while herring salad is among traditional Christmas foods.

| November/December 2013

  • Pickles add a tasty tang to Lentil Sloppy Joes.
    Photo By Lori Dunn

Traditional holiday foods vary from culture to culture and from family to family, and those foods can range from lentils to herring. Many cultures think legumes — including lentils — are the best choice for a New Year’s Day meal. Because lentils are shaped like small coins, many consider them to be good luck, bringing good fortune and wealth to those who consume them at the start of the year.

The Italians prepare a dish with lentils and sausages to celebrate the New Year, and in Hungary, soup is the preferred good-luck dish.

Recipes for lentils appeal to pretty much everyone, either in a soup, stew or casserole, and we hope you find one to your liking here in Recipe Box.

Herring, on the other hand, is a traditional Christmas dish for Scandinavian, Russian, German and Polish families, and is most frequently prepared in a salad with potatoes, beets, pickles and often apples. Depending on your heritage, the herring is fresh, salted, pickled, or preserved in a wine sauce. The fish also is considered good luck when eaten at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve, bringing a year of bounty to those who partake.

We’d like to know what you serve for your traditional holiday meals. Are there special dishes you serve only at the holidays? Special recipes handed down through the generations? Or perhaps a new recipe that your family now insists on enjoying at any and every holiday? Email, and we’ll see if we can publish your favorites in a future issue of GRIT magazine.


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