Holiday Meal Ideas from Around the World

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If you’re like me, the holiday season has certainly crept up on you. Perhaps you’re faced with quickly finding delicious and memorable foods to serve at your holiday gathering. If so, following are some unique recipes from around the world that could be just what you’re looking for.  Or perhaps you plan to bring childhood memories alive on your stove with traditional family favorites. Either way, read on and find how many of the ingredients for seafood recipes from abroad and home are available right here at Atlantic Seafood! As always, fresh and top quality.

Nations and cultures all over the world are celebrating holidays with seafood this month. Here are a few places and people that will be reaping the healthy benefits of seafood at their holiday gatherings. Clicking a link will bring you to the recipe that it names.

Sweden

Swedish smorgasbord

Swedish smorgasbord

Christmas, the most celebrated event of the year in Sweden, is a holiday celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ. The Christmas Eve meal takes the form of a huge smorgasbord (table of foods set up for guests to serve themselves) around which families gather.  Sometimes, due to modern advances in communication, foods of a smorgasbord can drift from the Swedish traditions 17.

The Chistmas Eve smorgasbord usually teems with seafood dishes. Some of these include gubbrora (a mixture of anchovies and eggs), pickled herringgravad lax (salmon marinated in dill, salt, and sugar), herring salad, and  lutefisk – dried sathe or ling that has been soaked in lye and water prior to cooking.17 Herring, pickled herring, and salmon are in ready supply at Atlantic Seafood.

 

Hanukkah

At this time of year, the Jewish celebrate Hanukkah. This festival commemorates an era in Jewish history where the people were freed from religious oppression and thus could rededicate their temple. During this period, there was a time when there was only enough oil to keep the temple lit for one night – and yet it burned for 8 nights in what is referred to as the miracle of the oil4  Due to this, a Hanukkah table is often laden with fried dishes – but it also displays certain seafoods.3 One traditional Hanukkah seafood is gefilte fish.7

Gefilte fish with horseradish on the side.

Atlantic Seafood provides high quality salmon.

Gefilte fish means “stuffed fish”. The recipe has this name because to make it the flesh of a fish was once removed, combined with other ingredients, and then stuffed back into the fish. Today, gefilte fish usually is not stuffed back into the actual fish. Instead, it takes the form of rolls that can be purchased pre – made and frozen, as well as in jars. The dish can also be made from scratch.7 Cook Amy Kritzer, with help, has created a new salamon – based recipe for  Gefilte Fish 5    .  Rembmer, the salmon for the recipe is also available at Atlantic Seafood.

 

Poland

Christmas Eve dinner in Poland is known as the wigilia (vigil). The meal is meatless, as the Polish – who are mostly Catholic- once fasted all 4 weeks of advent into Christmas Eve. This lack of meat leaves plenty of room for fish, along with a custom that requires the use of seafood. A wigilia meal is made with foods standing for what were once believed to be the four corners of the earth – forest, orchards, fields, and sea / lakes.8

Polish dish of white fish with sauce

The seafood dishes in a Polish Christmas  Eve meal are usually served after a soup course, along with pierogis and vegetables. They can include carp in aspic, whitefish (as sold by Atlantic Seafood), carp breaded or fried, and herring (Atlantic Seafood offers this as well) in oil( Sledz w Oleju179).81

 

Kwanzaa

Kwanzaa is a Swahili word for “first fruits of the harvest”. The African American holiday draws inspiration from African harvest celebrations, and originated in the late 1960’s,11to increase a feeling of  community and strength in African Americans9

Kwanzaa runs from December 26 to January 1,9 and is based on 7 positive concepts for each of its seven days. A highlight of Kwanzaa is the Karamu Feast on December 31. Most foods served at this feast were originally African in origin. As the celebration has become more mainstream in African American society, however, foods popularized by African Americans have been blended into the menu. Two customary Karamu seafood dishes are fish patties 9 and Cajun – flavored catfish19. To find excellent catfish, one need look no farther than Atlantic Seafood!

Cajun – flavored catfish

 

China

Dong Zhi (winter arrives), is a celebration of the winter solstice in China. The festival is meant to celebrate the fact that from then on the days will get longer and longer.  The northern Chinese serve dumplings for Dong Zhi – plain or stuffed with fillings, such as seafood.12

shrimp dumplings with noodles

Making Chinese dumplings.13 by hand is considered to be a difficult process with copious rewards once they are completed. Maggie Zhu, on her website The Omnivore’s Cookbook, gives a great discussion on the pro’s and con’s of making Chinese dumplings which allow the reader to make a decision on whether or not to proceed13. Should you chose to make the shrimp and mushroom dumpling recipe of the link above, Atlantic Seafood is known for its fresh shrimp.

 

Italy

Particularly in Southern Italy, the Feast of the Seven Fishes is prepared for Christmas Eve. Cooking this feast is no easy task, as it includes seven courses – each with a different type of seafood15! Why so much seafood? This is because most Catholic Italians (as with the Polish8)once abstained from meat through advent14. There are a few conflicting beliefs on why there are seven seafood courses – such as that 7 is the number that appears most often in the Bible and that God rested on the seventh day after creating everything14.

Calamari fried, another common way in which it is served.

Baccala while still dried.

Common elements of the Feast of the Seven fishes include calamari (squid) or octopus, stewed or fried salt cod (baccala), and smoked eels. Exactly which seafoods are served varies by family15. Not all southern Italian families strictly follow the tradition of the Feast of the Seven Fishes anymore14. I myself am 25% Scicilian (Sicily being an island in the south of Italy) and my Sicilian great aunt still prepares this feast – though it is sometimes modified to include a smaller number of seafood dishes.

 

Mexico

 

tamales

Mexico celebrates Christmas as well as the 9 days prior to it which are referred to as La Posada9. Christmas Eve, called Noche Buena, is the climax of the La Posada festivities. On this night, most everyone goes to church and then returns home for a scrumptious feast. A staple for Noche Buena meals is the tomale – which can be  made with a wide variety of fillings including seafood. An example is shrimp and crab tomales. Mexicans and people of other Hispanic cultures are also known to serve bacalao. This is skinned salt cod without bones, in a dried slab which is then cooked – another offering of Atlantic Seafood18.

Atlantic Seafood boasts fresh and preservative – free shrimp.

 

Stop by Atlantic Seafood for the best of ingredients while shopping for your holiday recipes, and know that you are buying award – winning seafood from a business with a long history of public acclaim. If you don’t have time to make your own food, don’t forget that our chef is busy preparing a wide array of seafood delicacies that you only need to heat up.  Happy holidays!

Atlantic Seafood’s prepared crab – stuffed flounder

Works Cited

1. “Christmas.”
Sweden Sverge, Sweden.se/culture-traditions/christmas/.
1 Dec. 2014.

2. Granqvist Jan and Lena Katrina Swanberg. “Gravlax.”
Sweden Sverige,Sweden.se/culture-traditions/gravad-lax/.
10 Dec. 2014.

3. Bhattacharya, Rupa. “Hannukah: The Food and Traditions.”
Food Network.com, www.foodnetwork.com/holidays-and-parties/packages/holidays/holiday-central-hanukkah/hanukkah-_-the-festival-of-lights.
Retrieved on 26 Nov. 2017.

4. “Favorite Hanukkah Recipe Ideas.”
Food Network.com, www.foodnetwork.com/holidays-and-parties/packages/holidays/holiday-central-hanukkah/favorite-hanukkah-recipes.
Retrieved on 25 November 2017.

5. Kritzer, Amy. “GEFILTE FISH GUEST VIDEO ON HILAH COOKING.”
WHAT jew WANNA EAT, whatjewwannaeat.com/gefilte-fish-guest-video-on-hilah-cooking/.
Retrieved on 27 Nov. 2017.

6. Pelaia, Ariela. “Hanukkah Food Traditions.”
ThoughtCo., www.thoughtco.com/hanukkah-food-traditions-2076422.
8 July 2017.

7. Chein, Rochel. “What Is Gefilte Fish?.”
Chabad.org, www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/622944/jewish/What-is-gefilte-fish.htm.
Retrieved on 29 Nov. 2017.

8. Rolek, Barbara. “Polish Christmas, New Year’s and Three Kings Day Traditions.”
The Spruce, www.thespruce.com/polish-christmas-new-years-1135799.
19 Nov. 2017.

9. Bargas, Jason. “The Top 5 Kwanzaa Dishes.”
Houston Press, www.houstonpress.com/restaurants/the-top-5-kwanzaa-dishes-6415840.
23 Dec. 2010.

10. “The Kwanzaa Feast or Karamu.”
The Holiday Spot, www.theholidayspot.com/kwanzaa/karamu.htm.
Retrieved on 29 Nov. 2017.

11. Bhattacharya, Rupa. “Kwanzaa: The Food and Traditions.”
Food Network .com, www.foodnetwork.com/holidays-and-parties/packages/holidays/holiday-central-kwanzaa/kwanzaa–the-food-and-traditions.
Retrieved on 30 Nov. 2017.

12. Pruitt, Sarah. “8 Winter Solstice Celebrations from Around the World.”
History.com, www.history.com/news/history-lists/8-winter-solstice-celebrations-around-the-world.
20 December 2016.

13. Zhu, Maggie. “How to Make Chinese Dumplings from Scratch.”
Omnivore’s Cookbook, omnivorescookbook.com/recipes/how-to-make-Chinese-dumplings.
Retrieved 29 Nov. 2017.

14. Barron, Anne Marie and Griesemer, Sara. “Seafood: A Christmas Eve Tradition.”
Daily Record, www.dailyrecord.com/story/life/food/2015/12/20/seafood-christmas-eve-tradition/77659240/..
20 Dec. 2015.

15. Shaw, Hank. “Feast of the Seven Fishes.”
Simply Recipes, www.simplyrecipes.com/feast-of-the-seven-fishes/.
Retrieved 1 Dec. 2017.

16. Hazard, Ann. “Feliz Navidad – Christmas Eve Mexican Style – Las Posadas.”
MexGrocer.com, www.mexgrocer.com/mexcocina-feliz01-html#.

17. Rolek, Barbara and Marck Widomski.
The spruce,www.thespruce.com/polish-herrings-in-oil-recipe-1135618.
17 Nov. 2017.

18. Tellez, Lesley. “More Mexican Christmas Dinner Tales: Bacalao.”
The Mija Chronicles.com, mijachronicles.com/2009112/more-Mexican-Christmas-dinner-tales-bacalao/.
28 Dec. 2009.

19. “Kwanzaa menus”.
Better Homes and Gardens, www.hbg.com/holidays/kwanzaa/recipes/kwanzaa-menus/.
Retrieved 9 Dec. 2017.

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