A family sitting on the table  


Are there special foods that you MUST have at this special time of year? Ones that have been family traditions for years and without them it just wouldn’t be Christmas?

Ones that bring back happy memories of times with family and friends?

These are the responses received from our customers.

Would you like to share your family’s traditional foods?

When I was growing up every year my Mum and I always baked butter tarts together. I still have her rolling pin and when assembling the tarts and especially eating them I think of her and my childhood. This is a recipe she found whilst we lived in Canada. The recipe can be found at https://larkintea.com/recipes/butter-tarts/

Bernie Cross (Martinsburg, WV)

Every year we look forward to Bernie Cross’s Welsh Cakes. They are THE best I have ever eaten. Bernie learnt how to make them with his Grandmother, Lena Price, who brought the recipe with her from Wales. Now, it is his special Christmas tradition to bake them for his friends.

We have posted the recipe on-line at: https://larkintea.com/recipes/lena-prices-welsh-cakes/

Maria Larkin (Woodbridge, VA)

In La Paz, Bolivia, we eat Picana on Christmas Eve. It is the practice to eat before heading to midnight mass. It usually has three different meats: beef, chicken, and lamb.

This recipe from Maria’s homeland has been posted on-line at: https://larkintea.com/recipes/bolivian-picana/

Carol Still, Winchester, VA

Must have celery in a white savory sauce.

Jo-Ann Pepling, Front Royal, VA

My favorite recipe is small white boiled onions. Boil them till fork tender, add milk and a little butter, salt and pepper to taste, heat till hot but not boiling and serve.

Not a complicated recipe, but that's what I grew up on and still make

Lester Stein, New Market, MD

As kids growing up, we really didn't have food traditions as my parents believed this was a day for kids so there were no big family meals....and we never left the house to visit anyone.

My mother's parents always made fruitcakes around Thanksgiving and my grandfather doused them with bourbon on a regular basis, so they were good to have during the Christmas holidays. After my grandfather passed away, we were in our teens, my mother started making chocolate bourbon balls to replace the fruitcake as I was the one who liked fruitcake.

As an adult, I wanted different kinds of foods for holidays. One Christmas, I made oyster stuffing as oysters were one of my mother's favorite foods. That year we also had raw and fried oysters and oyster stew as our Christmas dinner. Another time when it was just my mother and me, we turned to Cornish Hens, and I always baked four of them so that each of us could have leftovers and I think we did for several years and had the regular side dishes.... nothing out of the ordinary.

One thing comes to mind is that we always made Toll House/Chocolate Chip cookies and Sand Tarts that were sugar cookies but sprinkled with cinnamon & sugar instead of sprinkles. My mother was not much a baker, so these were real treats for us, and we always got to lick the batter off the mixer beaters and from the bowl.

Micki Smith, Berryville, VA

Since 1958, it has been our Christmas tradition to make poppy-seed braided bread. I make in on Christmas Eve and put it in the fridge to rise overnight. Then, early Christmas morning, I get up and bake it. The fragrant aroma wakes the family, and we eat the bread while opening presents.

This is from Fleischmann's Bake-it-Easy Yeast Book. The cover is so ragged and torn that I can't find a publication date.

After the mid 60's I took to using canned poppy seed spread available in the baking aisle of most every supermarket.

Polly Vetter, Vienna, VA

We always have the fresh ground cranberries and jello salad relish. When my son, Bill, was setting up his bachelor pad he wanted an old-fashioned meat grinder that I found in the cupboard. Bill said he needed it for when he made the cranberry salad. My point of this story is that you never know what memories your son gather. One of my wedding gifts was a small crystal bowl and curved sterling silver serving spoon. I always used it for the cranberry relish.

Back to blog

1 comment

As a child growing up in England, each year I would watch my Mum make the Christmas cake, which is made of dried fruit, covered in marzipan and topped with a layer of royal icing. I have carried on this tradition, and each year my husband is always eager for the cake to be made early so it can be soaked in brandy before the marzipan is applied. We both love to enjoy a delicious slice of cake with a nice cup of tea.

Elizabeth Glyer

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.