Food is a necessity in our daily life which is usually treated as a backdrop for people to get busy living. It is something we need and continue to seek or make, but we don’t always realize its vital role in our life because it is as common to us as breathing.
But food is at the heart of everything important in our lives. Food is festive and symbolic. The celebration is marked by a banquet with hearty food, parents and friends convey their love by cooking dishes for others, and cookies are left at the door as welcome gifts.
Think about your childhood memories, all of your best memories are probably related to food in some way.
Food has its implications – and people of different religions, races, and cultures may interpret it in different ways. Food is especially important during the holidays, as it is a time of celebration, reunion, and remembrance.
Every culture has different celebratory dishes related to religion, harvest, or other meanings. Food is like a comforting cloak which is something many of us look for and welcome during the holiday season.
Almost all major holidays around the world revolve around eating special food together. Many people believe that food and the act of preparing food will bring back memories of years gone by.
As Chris Wharton, a professor of nutrition at Arizona State University said:
“Food represents a defining narrative about us”. Food connects us to family and culture. “We take it for granted that we have meetings every day at mealtimes,” he added. “But we also do it on special occasions. So from birth to death, we always celebrate with food.”
On one level, he said, having food is a sense of security and it brings us the pleasure we have indulging in special foods during the holiday season.
SPAM, a famous brand of canned cooked pork, commissioned a poll to show us what food means to us during the holiday season. The survey, conducted by OnePoll, set out to find out what traditions are important to those celebrating the holiday.
They also wanted to know about the role food plays in the holidays, including which foods evoke nostalgia the most.
The research shows that when the holiday, the most wonderful time comes, everyone will experience endless nostalgia.
The research investigates 2000 American adults who are celebrating the winter holiday and found that 75% of them hope to recreate their favorite childhood memories full of holiday magic on this holiday and 70% of them express that they enjoyed the holidays more when they were young.
Some of the cherished traditions include decorating a Christmas tree (43%), seeing friends and family (40%), decorating the house (29%), watching classic holiday movies, and eating holiday means (25%).
More than half (56%) of the respondents tried to create something for their childhood holidays, including a favorite holiday meal(59%), baked food or snacks (59%), and decorations (50%).
The research also shows that for 83% of the respondents, food plays a vital role in holiday traditions.
Whether it’s creating a new holiday dish or a traditional family recipe, they said that they are motivated to create it because their friends and family like it (56%), they love it themselves (56%), and because of tradition and nostalgia (43%). The flavors and spices that evoke the most holiday nostalgia and comfort are cinnamon (58%), pumpkin (54%), mint (52%), cocoa (47%), and nutmeg (39%).
“Food is an important part of the traditional holidays since the seasonal ingredients and meals we all love will bring back wonderful and familiar memories. That’s why we summed up the holiday spirit in a Can of SPAM to bring consumers back to the nostalgia and comfort we are all pursuing,” said Jennesa Kinscher, senior brand manager for the SPAM Brand.
“Holidays bring people together to share a variety of traditions, songs, rituals, and decorations. However, food is at the heart of each festival,” said Natalie Warb, a financial expert at a US coupon site CouponBirds.
Food is ritualized to create some ritual meaning.
Families celebrate holidays with substantial dishes and desserts that nourish their bodies as well as souls.
They shared baked turkey and honey ham, cornbread sauce and green bean casserole, potatoes and kale, cranberry sauce and creamed spinach, and desserts like pecan and pumpkin pie.
Food is such an important part of holiday traditions, not just because it’s so special and delicious, but because it brings people together.
Food also plays a bonding role in families, says Denise Copelton, a sociology professor at Brockport College in New York. When she was growing up, she said, her mother used to bake cookies around the holidays. Now she is passing on the tradition to her own children.
“You get the sense of family back,” she added. “You will share the day’s activities with your families together. It’s actually these things that we often do when we eat, share food or prepare food that really helps us define what a family is and not another group. ”
So start planning your holiday meals now. Around Christmas and New Year’s Eve, invite your family to create a fancy dinner together, enjoy the pleasure and ritual of the holiday, share food and have fun together.