‘Tis the season of cheer, twinkling lights, and delicious food! This year may look and feel a little different but that doesn’t mean the holiday cheer has to be any less. Cooking and baking is one of the easiest ways to get into the holiday mood -- and it can be done from the comfort of your home! To kick off the cooking and baking festivities, we’ve put together some of our favorite recipes that range across cultures, religions, and traditions. Turn on the holiday music, grab the kids, and learn how to cook traditional Hanukkah potato latkes, tamales, Banh Nam (Vietnamese tamales), vegan eggnog, shortbread cookies, and Oreo truffles! Amtrak San Joaquins wishes you a happy and healthy holiday season and New Year!
Traditional Hannukkah Potato Latkes
- Latkes are generally consumed on Hanukkah to commemorate the miracle of the oil that lasted eight days in the story of Hanukkah. The delicious potato pancake is served warm and with applesauce or sour cream! Traditional latkes are fairly simple and quick to prepare. For a classic and easy to follow easy, we suggest The Spruce Eats -- Traditional Hanukkah Potato Latkes.
- During the holidays many Latino households celebrate by cooking homemade tamales. How did this tradition start? The tradition dates back to Meso-American times when Mesoamericans believed that God created humans from corn. Because corn was so important, beautifully wrapped tamales became part of ritual offerings. The best tamales are made from fresh masa and corn husks. If you are wanting to start a new tradition and make tamales with the family, check out Tastes Better From Scratch recipe with step-by-step instructions and photos.
Vietnamese Tamales - Banh Nam
If you want to try something new this year, we recommend making Banh Nam which are Vietnamese tamales. The batter is made from rice flour, tapioca flour, water, and salt, making it translucent. Banh Nam are similar to dumplings and wrapped in a small piece of banana leaf. This Vietnamese snack food originated from Central Vietnam in the city of Hue where it was served as a snack to emperors! For an easy to follow recipe with photos, we recommend The Spices of Life.
You know it's the holidays when eggnog is back! We recommend trying this delicious vegan eggnog that is sure to have even dairy-lovers coming back for more. Try this dairy free, gluten, and egg free recipe from the Food Network and get to cheersing.
- If baking it’s your thing, try making these tasty Oreo truffles -- which are a great no-bake bite for everyone! Truffles are a fun activity for adults and children of all ages. You can get creative with the chocolate dipping and choose your toppings. Give these cake-like goodies a try this season!
Holiday Shortbread Cookies
- Cookies have been part of holiday festivities for years! The history of Christmas cookies can be traced back to recipes from Medieval Europe. During that time many new ingredients were introduced to society such as cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, almonds, and dried fruit. Many families have their own traditions and family recipes they bake each year. One of the most classic holiday cookies is shortbread -- which is a great cookie for the kids to leave out for Santa! If you are looking for an easy shortbread cookie recipe, try Spend the Pennies recipe!