Let’s talk about holiday eating habits


Riley Shankman, asst. opinions editor


The holidays are here, bringing along cluttered kitchen counters covered in spilled ingredients, cookie-filled trays, and the smell of turkey wafting through the air. 

When I was little, my favorite part of the holidays was being in the kitchen surrounded by the colorful sights and smells of the ingredients around me. I sat mystified as my relatives danced around the kitchen holding sizzling pans and overflowing pots. My mouth would water as I smelled my favorite foods come to fruition. 

Each recipe my family and I made during the holidays, has been carefully documented on a notecard in my great-grandmother’s loopy handwriting and stored in an old blue-bound book. As the years have passed, the book now overflows with recipes from both sides of the family, papers crammed in every crevice and spilling out of every worn corner.

Each year, the aged book sits waiting on a little shelf. When the holidays finally come around, my mom and I sit and comb through the frayed pages deciding what recipes we will use this year. We usually pick the same things: Bubbie’s salami and Grandma Ann’s mac and cheese .

This cookbook brings my family together each year, as we dance through the kitchen, making the recipes we all cherish. As the years pass, I grow more involved in preparing food for the holidays. I was carefully taught how to make Bubbie Lillian’s crispy chicken and Grannie Baker’s sour cream cake.

As I’ve grown older, I realized that my connection with food during the holidays was something to be thankful for. Society has the tendency to villainize food, especially the classic holiday food, portraying it as a fat-filled monster waiting to take you down. This idea is toxic and takes away from the joy of cooking. 

During the holidays, people attempt to escape the “unhealthy” by substituting ingredients or changing cherished recipes to be more “nutritious”. 

    However, the holidays are not a time to focus on finding the perfect “healthy” recipe. Instead, they are a time to flip through that old cookbook and make the dishes you have cherished since you were little. If viewed from a healthy viewpoint, food can be amazing. 

I savor running around the kitchen holding handfuls of ingredients or the flour-covered fingers that left little prints throughout the kitchen. I always look forward to the organized chaos that comes forth in the kitchen and the sounds of shuffling feet hectically moving through the kitchen.

Cooking with my family is what I love most about this time of year. I will always cherish the wafting scent of turkey rising through the air and the melt-in-my-mouth cheesy goodness that is my great-grandmother’s mac and cheese. 

Most of all, I look forward to the time spent in the kitchen with my family that I can only associate with the holiday season.