Holiday Success: Clever Recipes for All Ages
Throughout the holiday season, dinner tables are comprised of families and friends that span generations. And as one generation grows old and another cycles round the table, times change, and does the food on the table.
While baby boomers might have grown up with a Jello mold as the centerpiece, many millennials might scoff at the jiggly treat. In addition to satisfying a range of palates, most meals also have to include kid-friendly dishes and something for even the pickiest (or most allergy-ridden) of eaters.
Viewing a table full of food for a large, multi-generational group is like a time capsule. In order to please everyone in the family, we at Dr. Ku’s office have compiled a list of the best dishes that remind grandma of her childhood while providing a modern twist to please the foodies.
Wartime veggie turnovers
For those who had grandparents or parents who lived through World War II, they remember the popular dishes that came about from wartime food rationing. Since meat was not as readily available, those in the kitchen had to get creative with using the food they had.
A common meal was the wartime vegetable turnover that was comprised of cooked vegetables in a pastry crust. To modernize this meal, consider putting fresh vegetables, cheeses and meats inside of a flaky bread (somewhat like a calzone). This is a great snack option for between meals, and offers the tooth-healthy nutritional benefits of vegetables and added calcium from the cheese. Consider adding fibrous vegetables such as celery for an added oral health benefit for this grandparent-friendly food! Everyone’s bellies will thank you for it in the end after a good-sized holiday binge.
Fondue at the table was a staple of holiday meals in the 70s, and has been memorialized by pop culture and restaurants today. The best part of fondue is that the dipping possibilities are literally endless. From veggies to bread and meat to marshmallows, this dish is something that will be adored by the whole family.
Start with healthier options such as vegetables and lean meats before moving on to the sweet stuff. The protein in both the meat and cheese is a component of good oral health and builds stronger teeth. Just remember, after you’re done dipping the marshmallows in chocolate, go brush your teeth!
Green bean casserole
Creamy soup, canned green beans and fried onions seem to make an odd combination, but this recipe created by Campbell’s more than 60 years ago is a long-standing holiday favorite. While delicious, this dish is also filled with lots of sodium and fat.
This year, opt for fresh green beans at your table. Chewing fibrous foods like green beans help to naturally clean your mouth and dislodge any harmful bacteria lodged at the gum line.
Macaroni and cheese
There isn’t a more kid-friendly food than macaroni and cheese. All generations love this ooey, gooey pasta dish. While no one would classify mac and cheese as a healthy dish, make it at home (instead of opting for a box) to pack in some extra nutritional benefit. Most recipes call for both milk and cheese, which are packed full of calcium and can help strengthen your teeth. Just remember to eat a sensible sized portion and brush your teeth 30-60 minutes after due to the starches in the pasta.
Planning a dinner for guests of ages that span seventy or more years can seem daunting. Don’t feel pressured to provide everyone’s favorite meal. One of the best parts of the holidays is experimenting with new foods and giving old favorites a modern twist. Surprise the older generations in your family this year by incorporating modern twists on their childhood favorites. If you’re lucky, it may even prompt them to tell some stories and reign the new year in with full-bellied nostalgia!