What were treats at holidays or other special occasions when you were a child?

Windigo

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I saw a thread about this subject on Facebook and thought it would be fun to discuss it here too. What were the special occasion foods and treats you ate when you were a child?
Were there foods that only got served at Christmas, or another special day? Are those foods you still consider special occasion only now?

When I was a child soda or pop was not a daily thing to do drink, I only was allowed a glass a day on holidays or special occasions. The same goes for crisps or potato chips, when we would have some it would be put in a big bowl and shared by everyone; often served with a dip. Usually these things were also served if we had guests coming for a celebration. Treats were limited at my parental house anyway, we did not have sweets on hand freely. Cakes were only served for guests or at holidays.

I also loved our sunday brunch, which always included fresh orange juice, a boiled egg and bake off bread in a basket. We never had any of those things on other weekdays.

When it was Christmas or another holiday my mom would roast potatoes in duck fat, which I still do and gives them a lovely rich flavor. We also never ate game except with Christmas, which was often the day we either ate deer, duck or hare. My parents were pretty well off and foodies, so that's why such decadence occured at our house. It was not quite common yet for people to be foodies then.

My favorite food when I was a child were meatballs served with fries and salad, as that was what my grandmother always made for me when I visited her. And my mom would only make them for special occasions like my birthday. I still love those meatballs and make them frequently as my husband is now keen on them too.
 

caseydog

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Soft drinks/fizzy drinks/pop/soda -- whatever your call it -- was not a holiday treat, but it was not a daily drink, as it is for many American children now. Few, and far between when I was growing up. I still don't drink them very often.

The primary holiday related treat I can recall is an Easter Basket full of candy. There were also birthday cakes. We had pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving.

CD
 

LissaC

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This cake, which is the only cake I eat: sponge cake with egg cream. It was a must at birthday parties, and only eaten at birthday parties too!
1627552697632.png
 

FowlersFreeTime

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Holiday treats from my childhood in Jamaica:
Easter: Easter Bun - a lovely spiced baked bun with finely diced fruit inside; typically served with sliced cheese to make a bun & cheese "sandwich".
Christmas: Christmas pudding/cake - a heavy(dense) cake containing rum soaked fruits which bears a striking resemblance to British Figgy Pudding.
Christmas beverage: Sorrel - a beverage brewed with a relative to the hibiscus flower (in Mexico, this plant is actually called "Jamaica"). Ginger is also added to the steeping pot then when strained the mixture is heavily sweetened, and often spiked with overproof white rum
 

Windigo

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I consider "All Hallows Eve" a holiday. You can imagine the candy glut! However my oma's Sauerbraten und Kartoffelklosse were a favorite birthday treat!
Can you explain what kartoffelklosse are? It sounds interesting. Your oma was German?
 

Windigo

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Holiday treats from my childhood in Jamaica:
Easter: Easter Bun - a lovely spiced baked bun with finely diced fruit inside; typically served with sliced cheese to make a bun & cheese "sandwich".
Christmas: Christmas pudding/cake - a heavy(dense) cake containing rum soaked fruits which bears a striking resemblance to British Figgy Pudding.
Christmas beverage: Sorrel - a beverage brewed with a relative to the hibiscus flower (in Mexico, this plant is actually called "Jamaica"). Ginger is also added to the steeping pot then when strained the mixture is heavily sweetened, and often spiked with overproof white rum
Can you share some pics of these foods? They sound interesting
 

TastyReuben

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We never really did anything differently for holidays, really. We always ate well (raised our own fruit, veg, and meat), and we didn't celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, that sort of thing.
 

Windigo

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We never really did anything differently for holidays, really. We always ate well (raised our own fruit, veg, and meat), and we didn't celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, that sort of thing.
Really, why not? Poverty or religious ideals?
 

TastyReuben

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Really, why not? Poverty or religious ideals?
The latter. My dad was fervently evangelical fundamentalist when we were growing up.

I was always best friends with the JW's as a kid because during every classroom celebration, like a birthday or card exchanges for Valentine's Day, the kids who were JW's and I had to leave the classroom and go sit in the hallway just outside the door, while all the other kids had punch and cookies and played games.

I think I used that quiet time to ponder the existence of a higher power and sow the seeds of my current atheism, so that tactic failed, I think. :laugh:
 

Windigo

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FowlersFreeTime

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That drink looks very festive indeed, can you tell me what it tastes like if you've never had sorrel?
Sorrel (or "Jamaica" for our friends in Central & South America) has a floral quality to it that is hard to describe, very unique. Makes sense when you know its a drink made by steeping the flower buds of a hibiscus relative. The flavor, before sweetening, is quite tart. Lip-puckering comes to mind 😅. If you have the chance to taste Hibiscus Tea (which is available in teabag format), consider Jamaica's Christmas drink to be the super concentrated version of that.

In Mexico they sweeten it at this point and serve it slightly watered down, like an iced tea.

Jamaicans add a few more steps. The addition of strong root ginger to the steeping process gives the brew a bit of a bite in the back of the throat, typical of ginger beer or ginger ale. It is sweetened with white sugar or brown sugar, though the latter makes it even darker. Many family-recipes differ on how strong to brew this mixture, and also differ on further additions to the pot; allspice berries or cinnamon sticks are not unheard of.

Most of us, but not all, add RUM to the now sweetened, strained, and cooled brew. White overproof rum is typical, as it adds the merrymaking alcohol, but doesn't impart the oak flavor of an aged "gold" rum.

So to me, this beverage is a uniquely spiced (and spiked!) taste of Christmas in a glass.
20201225_144238.jpg

^Picture from my parents' house on Christmas Eve last year.
 

CraigC

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Can you explain what kartoffelklosse are? It sounds interesting. Your oma was German?

They are potato dumplings. Yes my oma was German and for sauerbraten, her dumplings were were stuffed with a vege and bread cube stuffing. She always made extra ones as they were great sliced and pan fried in butter for breakfast (Fruhstuck in German). Both "u's" have an umlaut. These dumplings were about the size of a baseball.
 
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