Combining traditions for Christmas dinner

After our visit to the Guatemalan bakery the other week, my friend and I have been planning a combined Christmas dinner, bringing our own traditions together for one meal.

In Guatemala, the big event starts at 7pm, Dec 24.  Everyone has made their own families recipe for tamales earlier in the day, and at 7 they travel from neighbor to neighbor, sharing their own tamales, and trying the others.  I’m sure my friend is well known in her neighborhood for her tamales, as they are the best I’ve ever sunk my teeth into!

(here’s a pic of the tamales made for a birthday)

After visiting, eating tamales, and drinking ponche, the families return to their homes and wait for midnight, where there will be fireworks and presents for the kids.  I feel sad that I will miss joining in the fun this year, but are making  up for it by getting a little taste a couple weeks early.

As it is a very big, involved project to make tamales, we decided on a more simple main dish, Pepian.  It was like a beef stew, with green beans and chayote.   The sauce is made by dry toasting a few different mild dry peppers, then adding tomatoes, onion, and tomatillos, and blending.  Yum! It was served over rice.

I was in charge of bringing potatoes for the meal and settled on making potatoes gratin, as it is somewhat time consuming and is reserved for special occasions.  I’m pretty sure we’ve had it for the holiday before:)

(it was almost gone before I got a chance to photograph it!)

I roasted some asparagus to fulfill our veg requirement, as we had two desserts coming next.

For dessert, I made a simple chocolate pie, with graham cracker crust and whip cream.  The kids loved it, as did the adults.

And to honor my Italian heritage, I made a tiramisu.

We finished off the evening with some homemade ponche, traditionally served warm on  Christmas Eve.  It is made with papaya, pineapple, apple, grapes, prunes, raisins, cinnamon, and sugar.  Sweet and delicious.  My husband took his with a shot of rum, but I preferred to enjoy it in it’s purity.

I feel so blessed, to have these opportunities to share traditions and learn new recipes.  We can learn so much from one another, and what better way than coming together for a delicious homemade meal!

Happy Holidays to everyone!!

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Categories: menus


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One Comment on “Combining traditions for Christmas dinner”

  1. Nonna
    December 14, 2009 at 11:20 am #

    You should make some of this for our Christmas Eve dinner- maybe Christmas around the World themed dinner this year….MMMMmmmmmm……
    Of course not alone!

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