Christmas meals are probably something you look forward to all year. Who doesn’t enjoy filling their bellies and sharing good times with family and friends? If sharing your Hispanic heritage is important to you, cooking and serving food gives you a great chance to share tastes and experiences with those sitting down to eat with you. This year, as the holidays get closer and closer, adapt your Christmas dinner to include some favorites, and be prepared to share the stories behind them. Your guests might even like a copy of the recipes you serve. Print them out on note cards, tie with a pretty ribbon and hand them out as favors after the meal.
You probably won’t get a good reception if you completely change the spread on the Christmas dinner table, particularly if you come from a mixed family where everyone expects at least some of their favorites. Adapt the traditional foods and then add some Hispanic ones to round out the meal. If you typically have turkey or ham, try seasoning it with cumin or chili to give it a new twist. Serve with the usual side dishes, but add some tortillas, green chili, sopapillas, and sliced avocados. If you usually have sandwiches, try serving the regular turkey and cheese alongside quesadillas with chicken and melted cheese. Serve tortilla chips and salsa on the side. A tossed vegetable salad is usually accepted across the board.
Dessert is a great time to show off your cooking prowess and share some traditional Hispanic dishes. Of course, forgoing the pumpkin pie and frosted sugar cookies is out of the question. Bizcochitos, cookies flavored with anise, are a good way to broaden the cookie choices for Christmas dinner. Flan is a great caramel dessert that you can flavor with pumpkin, much like you would a pie. There’s nothing wrong with extra desserts on the table. Everyone can sample several that look good. You’ll have plenty to send home with your guests as well as enough to satisfy your sweet tooth later in the day.
Sharing your favorite Christmas dinner gives your guests and fellow celebrators a chance to taste something new as well as a chance to learn about your holidays as a child with your own family. Talk about the stories behind your favorites, which is a fun way to share your heritage, and tell friends and family about your life in a different ethnicity. And hey, if no one likes what you have to offer, that just leaves you plenty of leftovers to get you through the days after Christmas.