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FOOD FIGHT: The Eternal Battle over What to Serve During the Holidays


There’s a food fight coming as the eternal battle over what to serve during the holidays brews in households across America. Few things rile up families and foodies more than the holidays. To serve Grandma’s traditional green bean casserole or an Asian-inspired wasabi-infused version, sprinkled with roasted almond slivers—these are the questions that have divided households.

For some folks, the traditionalists, there is no question of what will be served. They stand on tradition and serve the same thing each year.

Then, there is a wide spectrum of moderates. They’ll change things up from year to year—but only so much.

And then there are the rebels. People who will serve pizza or turkey tacos or even sushi—simply because there’s no one there to tell them no, and that’s what they feel like doing.

Which camp do you fall into?

Win or fail, here are some of our favorite holiday snippets about food, folly, and the quest for holiday food bliss that will make everyone happy.

It doesn’t sound like it should taste good—but it does.

One of the more controversial holiday recipes out there, which will be familiar to NPR listeners, is Mama Stamberg’s cranberry relish. This cranberry relish recipe sounds foul—fresh cranberries, onions, sour cream, horseradish, and sugar? What could Susan Stamberg’s mother-in-law have been thinking? But she swears by it and sneaks it into an NPR story during the holidays every year. (One day, some of us with Total Party Planner may even be brave enough to try it.)

Food themes.

Then there was the year that a sister of one of our staff decided to have a bacon-themed holiday meal. This woman actually used to work in some nice restaurants, so she could cook. The turkey was wrapped in bacon. She added bacon to the green bean casserole. The only thing that didn’t have bacon was the dessert. She decided in the end that bacon in every dish at the meal was really just too much.

Special food accommodations.

Have a friend or relative with food allergies, who is very health-conscious, or who is vegan (i.e., eats no animal products at all)? Make their day with the dairy-free, egg-free vegan Gingerbread cookie recipe at the end of this article!

Do you have a recipe that sounds like it would be awful—but that actually tastes really good?

What’s your favorite food theme that you’ve ever tried—or wanted to try?

Have any go-to recipes for people with special diets, such as vegans, diabetics, and other folks who need special food accommodations?

We’d love to hear from you in the comments!

Whatever you decide to make for the holidays, whether for family, friends, or clients, we hope you enjoy the season, the stories, and the company. From our offices (and our kitchens) to all of you, have a very happy and safe holiday season!

With gratitude and appreciation, here’s to your success!

The Total Party Planner Staff

Vegan Gingerbread Cookies

1 Cup Packed Brown Sugar
1/3 Cup Vegan Vegetable Shortening
1 1/2 Cup Dark Molasses
2/3 Cup Cold Water
7 Cups All-Purpose Flour (save some for flouring surfaces and your rolling pin)
2 Teaspoons Baking Powder
2 Teaspoons Ground Ginger (make all your seasonings heaping teaspoons to make them more spicy)
1 Teaspoon Allspice
1 Teaspoon Cinnamon
1 Teaspoon Cloves
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
Baking Spray
White Frosting for decorating

Heat oven to 350.

In a bowl, mix Brown Sugar, Molasses, Shortening and Water with an electric mixer until completely blended. Then mix in the remaining ingredients with the electric mixer and blend until completely blended. I should warn you – it’ll be pasty and sticky. It’s the molasses. Once it’s completely blended, cover it and put it the fridge for at least 2 hours.

Spray your cookie sheet with baking spray. Roll dough 1/4 inch thick on a floured surface with a floured rolling pin. Use cookie cutters to cut out your cookies. Place them on your cookie sheet – make sure they are 2 inches apart.

Bake 5-10 minutes. It depends on how big your cookie is really. Small cookies like mine took 5 minutes. Immediately move them to a wire rack to cool. Let them cool for at least an hour and decorate!

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