Season's Eatings Many countries and cultures around the world have their own festive culinary customs. We team up with Adam Rapoport of Bon Appétit Magazine to quiz you on some unusual food traditions.

Season's Eatings

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To help us with our next game, please welcome editor-in-chief of Bon Appetit magazine Adam Rapoport.



EISENBERG: I'm sure when people come to your house for the holidays, do you have people over?


EISENBERG: They must expect a lot.

RAPOPORT: They do, and that's why we just give them ham.


RAPOPORT: Yes, ham is - everyone loves ham. Even - especially us Jews. There's no way to make a Jew happier than give them a big, glistening, baked bone-in ham with Martin's potato rolls and a big thing of punch.

EISENBERG: Do you do Christmas and Hanukkah?

RAPOPORT: Yeah, I have a 6-year-old son and he said, daddy, I'm half Jewish and half Christmas.


RAPOPORT: That's where his priorities are. Yeah, it's all about the toys. He's like, I get Christmas and Hanukkah - nine crazy nights.

EISENBERG: (Laughter) OK, well, you are going to help us out with the game here...

RAPOPORT: Oh, yes.

EISENBERG: ...It's entitled Season's Eatings - perfect for someone of your stature and career. And here to play it, we have Stacy De-Lin and Jimmy Hoke.


EISENBERG: Stacy, what kind of food do you serve or make to wow your friends and family at the holidays?

STACY DE-LIN: My family's Italian so we have a tradition - every Christmas Eve, we do pizza frito(ph), which is like a fried dough. We make lots and lots of it, and you can put all kinds of like either sweet or savory things on it, which is a lot of like really fried foods. You sort of end the night all greasy and, like, full. And it's funny that you're here from Bon Appetit 'cause I subscribe, and it's always been, like, my dream to be one of those beautiful families like, you know, at, like, the French farmhouse with like, you know, everyone looks amazing, and I'm, like, as I'm describing this like fried-dough fest - I'm like I don't think I'm getting in this year.

RAPOPORT: In the evening all bloated, and you unbutton your top button on your pants and...

DE-LIN: Yeah, that one (Laughter).

EISENBERG: How about you, Jimmy?

JIMMY HOKE: Oh, well, my family is from the South, so we use as much butter as possible, but I tend to go for deserts so apple pies or I made a bourbon cake.

EISENBERG: Well, you guys actually just gave us great examples 'cause, obviously, many countries and cultures have all kinds of different, strange and festive culinary traditions. For example, I know that the Dutch, on New Year's Eve, like to make a batch of oliebollen, which is fried dough balls with holiday stuff inside. In this game, Adam and I are going to quiz you on some more unusual food traditions. Let's go.

RAPOPORT: In parts of Switzerland, the residents do something interesting with cream on New Year's to ensure a year of prosperity. What do they do with it? Do they A, pour it on their cows, B, drop it on the floor, or C, rub it on their faces?


DE-LIN: I'm going to say pour it on the floor like gangster style, like, they pour some out.

RAPOPORT: You are correct.


RAPOPORT: You drop it on the floor. It's supposed to represent overflowing abundance.

EISENBERG: In certain parts of the Midwest, it's customary to serve lutefisk. You could argue it's dishonest to do so because it's literally white fish that has been soaked in what?



DE-LIN: Some kind of alcohol. They, like, drink to stay warm in the Midwest, right?


EISENBERG: No, it's not some kind of alcohol. Jimmy, do you have a guess?

HOKE: My gut is vinegar.

EISENBERG: Yeah, it's a closer gut, but incorrect. Lye. The answer is lye.

RAPOPORT: According to the German tradition of Weihnachtsgurke, it's good luck to hide what edible sandwich accessory in a Christmas tree?



HOKE: A pickle?

RAPOPORT: You are correct.


EISENBERG: Name the Italian sweet loaf that comes in low and tall trapezoidal boxes that some people mistakenly think is named after a baker named Tony.



DE-LIN: Panettone.



RAPOPORT: All right, not to be confused with Bobby Baccalieri, a character on "The Sopranos," bacalhau is a Christmas staple in Portugal. What is bacalhau? Is it A, squid pasta, B, dried salted cod, or C, hard-boiled pheasant eggs? Sorry.



DE-LIN: B. I'm sticking with the dried fish one.

RAPOPORT: Dried salted cod.

EISENBERG: (Laughter) All right, a fine matchup. But a winner has emerged. Stacy, you will be moving on.


EISENBERG: Thank you so much. Have a huge hand for Adam Rapoport.

RAPOPORT: Thanks for having me.


EISENBERG: Coming up, we'll pit two highly competitive siblings against each other in a "Family Feud"-style game about the holidays so stick around. I'm Ophira Eisenberg, and this is NPR's ASK ME ANOTHER.


STEPHIN RAYMOND MERRITT: (Singing) Everything is one big Christmas tree. All got up with lights and candy. All the world is turning prettily. Everyone's awaiting Sandy. Where can that Sandy be? Where can that Sandy be? Where can that Sandy be?

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