Food traditions bring people together
Often, when families and friends get together to celebrate, certain foods take center stage—from decadent desserts to hearty dishes. They represent family traditions or cultural heritage, and they are enjoyed by one and all. Dallas ISD team members shared some of their favorite foods for the end-of-the-year celebrations that they either cook or simply look forward to.
Rose Badía, instructional specialist at Library Media Services
During December, we have a special tradition of making dishes with local plantains, bananas, and roots like “Ñame, malanga, batata.” This custom is important to us because of our Puerto Rican background, connecting us to our ancestors from Spain, especially the Canary Islands and Alicante. One tradition I really love is making “guineitos en escabeche,” or pickled bananas. First, we carefully pick raw bananas from the plant. Then, as a family, we cook up the tasty pickling sauce and start the cooking process. We let it sit for an extra day or two, moving it around to make sure all the flavors mix well, creating a delicious dish. This tasty treat becomes a regular part of our December holiday dinners, reminding us of our cultural roots and the happy traditions passed down through the years.
Adam George, teacher at iLearn Virtual Academy
I have Norwegian roots—legend has it my great-great-grandfather was a stowaway on a ship to America. Each year, my extended family gathers to make a traditional Norwegian flatbread called lefse. It’s a true labor of love that involves a specialized skillet, a “lefse stick” to transfer the delicate potato-based batter, and designated cooking roles within the family. It’s a delicious treat that we only eat around the holidays—it’s too much work otherwise!—and I always look forward to a day dedicated to cooking with family and connecting to my heritage. The photo depicts George with his Great Aunt Mary. Uff Da is an ambiguous Norwegian phrase to express astonishment.
MariCarmen Eroles, director of Internal Communications
For as long as I have memory, my paternal grandmother would make Catalan canelones for New Year’s using the leftover turkey from Christmas. This is a pretty traditional dish in Catalunya from where the paternal side of the family hails. As soon as I could climb on a chair in her kitchen, I would watch her make the stuffing, cook the pasta, roll them, and then, on the day, make the bechamel sauce. They are divine, and my younger brother and the rest of the family looked forward to them all year. Once she got older and didn’t have the energy to make the turkey at Christmas and the canelones for New Year’s, I took over. I have been making them for years, interrupted only by the pandemic, for the family even as our numbers continued to dwindle with time. This year, I will make them because it’s our tradition, but my brother who loved them won’t be there to taste them. He passed away this summer. But we will enjoy them in his honor once again as we welcome the new year.