Memories of the holiday season are often more vivid than the rest of year; it also happens that many of our cherished holiday memories include food. The smell of winter spices baking in a hot oven, a slow roast cooking all day, steaming hot chocolates, peppermint candies, and the quintessential holiday cookies can bring us back to reminiscing over our favorite holiday moments. We all have our own stories of food surrounding the holiday season, long lasting memoires that with the scents and sights of the holidays we can easily be transported back to that special time. With this in mind, I got together with a group of our chefs and asked them a few simple questions, first about their favorite holiday foods to eat. I got replies from enchiladas to Stilton cheese dip to regular candy canes. Then I asked what the chefs like to make at home (i.e., off the busy Serendipity kitchen working clock) during holiday time. Again, the answers ranged from prime rib to duck to sweet chocolate mocha Yule log cakes and white chocolate cranberry bars.
Finally I asked, “What is your favorite holiday food memory, or tradition?” I immediately thought, perhaps they will give fancy-foodie answers, like filet mignons au beurre blanc sauce or hazelnut dacquoise, but was pleasantly surprised to learn our magnificent chefs grew up with the simple, and equally delicious comforts found in any home. Here are some of our chefs’ favorite food-related memories and traditions from holiday time:
Todd Zaspel, Serendipity Founding Chef: Having Christmas evening fondue dinner with my parents, sister and grandparents.
Dan Slattery, Executive Chef: Growing up we would always have prime rib with Yorkshire pudding. It was always something we did as a family on Christmas Eve. Also, my sister was born on Christmas!
Ace Else, Sous Chef: We always had potato soup at Christmastime; because my grandfather grew up on potato farm it is great way to pay homage to our “roots”. It has become our holiday tradition.
Mitch Hartman, Assistant to Chef and Prep Cook: I think of whole roasted turkey during the holidays because it reminds me of spending quality time in the kitchen with my family while waiting for the bird to cook. The aroma of a bird roasting always makes me think of holiday time.
Arturo Banuelos, Assistant to Chef and Prep Cook: I also think of turkey because we would roast a turkey and serve it alongside my family’s famous tamales and enchiladas. We combine two ethnicity’s traditions into one for most of our holidays.
Meg Reeves, Executive Pastry Chef: When my mom and I were snowed in living in the mountains during the holidays, we would make a simple French Onion soup. We celebrated the Yule more than Christmas. I cannot have French onion soup without thinking of those times!
Serendipity wants to know: What is your favorite holiday-related food memory? Share below, or on our Facebook page!