Why Not Start A New Tradition This Holiday Season?

I have to admit that I look forward to the Noche Buena meal more than I do to opening the presents my familia exchanges at midnight. Every year there is the pernil cooked to perfection – you just can’t get that flavor and tenderness at a restaurant – the rice and black beans, the arroz con guandules (yes we have both!) the overstuffed empanadas, and so much more. My mother used to make the most amazing arroz con guandules. I still have’t had better. But she is, sadly, not with us anymore and I never wrote her recipe down. It is a loss I feel deeply because, with a little foresight, I could have kept it, and that part of her, alive. I know we don’t like to think about it but our mamás, abuelitas and tias won’t be with us forever. And if we don’t document their recipes we will lose them. Yes, you can go to a restaurant and order the same dish. But is it really the same? Not by a longshot. Not even close.

So Marlena and I put our cabezas together and thought of a fun way you can start documenting your favorite family recipes this year, and a crafty way to share them. Check out our Fox News Latino article for the tips.

This Holiday Season, Start a New Tradition

By Nora Díaz Bretherton,   Published December 15, 2012  Casa Latina

Each year we look forward to getting together with family and friends to celebrate the Holidays. Yet, sometimes these parties start to look and feel the same year after year. So this year, why not make your Holiday party super special by trying something a little different, like a recipe contest?

It’s simple to organize, a lot of fun AND you’ll end up with recipes from many of the dishes you only get to enjoy on special occasions.  This is also an excellent way to document your family’s recipes and food history.  Sadly, one of the treasures we lose as our family grows older and the matriarchs pass on are our family’s food traditions  If you don’t get Tia Mercedes empanada recipe or learn how-to make abuelitas amazing mole you may lose it forever.  So a recipe contest is a fun way to add a little spice to your celebration and to document your family and friends food history for the next generation.

All you have to do is ask each person coming to the party to cook their favorite dish – or the one they are most famous for – and bring several copies of the recipe to share. Then, when it’s time to eat, each person votes for his or her favorite which they write on a piece of paper. After dinner, the hostess counts up the votes and declares the winner. The recipes are then shared with the family and friends present.

TIP: We suggest you have some sort of token prize to reward the winner, such as a ribbon that you have customized with some glitter or a small trinket.  You can even make a firstsecond and third place winner so that there are no hard feelings and more than one person is recognized.

In addition, don’t forget to take plenty of pictures of the food and everyone enjoying it! And if you really want to make it memorable, start an online scrapbook to share with everyone who attended the party.  This scrapbook can grow as the years pass and it is an excellent way to create a family history that you can share with the younger members of your family as the years pass.

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