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Students share unique holiday recipes

lexi miranda, bear facts features writer

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Although Campbell’s Soup tries to convince families every year that green bean casserole is the best traditional holiday recipe, students at LZHS have their own tasty recipes that have been passed down for generations.  

            The holiday season brings in the traditional recipes that bring families together and remind them of older times. Whether these recipes have been around for years or only one, they can always be meaningful.

            Unlike the holiday recipes everyone is familiar with, the following recipes are original and possibly one of a kind. This holiday season, try some of these recipes to spice things up in the kitchen.

Dumplings with dried plums

            Jessica Kwak, sophomore, loves the dumplings her Polish family eats every year during the holiday season.

            “Every year, my mom makes dumplings mixed with dried plums as a side dish and it’s really sweet,” Kwak said. “It’s been passed down for generations because it’s easy, quick to make, and it’s really good.”

            This recipe has been in the family for five generations, although it only began because of a mishap with the meat in the dumplings.

            “This was started one Christmas because the meat was too dry and my great-great-great-great grandparents thought that by adding fruit to the meal, it would make it more flavorful,” Kwak said. “It ended up being really good and helped the meat not to be so dry.”

            Kwak says this recipe has a broader meaning to their family. As this recipe has been passed down, they have developed a reason as to why this recipe was created.

            “As it moved down through generations, my family thought that this recipe was meant to be like God gave it to us,” Kwak said. “My relatives all believe the dumplings represent the Body of Christ and the plums represent the Blood of Christ.”


Dolmathes and spanakopitas

            Coming from a 100 percent Greek family, Nicole Rasiarmos, sophomore, says her family eats spanakopitas and dolmathes every year for the holidays.

            Spanakopitas are spinach pies with feta cheese, and dolmathes are grape leaves stuffed with lamb. Both are traditional Greek recipes that have been in the Rasiarmos family for decades.

            “[These recipes] have been passed down for four generations,” Rasiarmos said. “My yiayia (grandma) brought them over from Greece and she was taught how to make them by her mother.”

            Rasiarmos said this recipe represents the traditions that have been passed down from generation to generation in their family and means more than just a recipe to them.



            Every year, Anna Goldstein’s family makes their special secret recipe for brisket, a traditional Jewish food.

            Brisket is a barbeque meat dish with a sauce consisting of almost everything, says Goldstein.

            “It’s just really good. It’s not specific for Hanukkah, but it’s a traditional Jewish food,” Goldstein said. “You pretty much throw in everything [in the sauce.] There’s tobasco, ketchup, and everything you could ever imagine.”

            This recipe has passed through three generations of the Goldstein family, starting with her great-grandparents.

            “It comes from my dad’s side of the family,” Goldstein said. “My great-grandparents escaped from Germany and went to China, where my grandmother was born. It could’ve actually gone on more than that, but all we know is that my great-grandparents started this recipe.”

            Goldstein says brisket is very convenient to make, since most of the ingredients are common household staples.

            “I think [the recipe started] because my great-grandparents just did the best with what they had,” Goldstein said. “Usually, people have [these ingredients] in their fridge, so why not make good use of it? It’s nothing too pricey.”

            Her family usually only eats brisket on special occasions, Hanukkah especially, because of the work and time put into it.

            “We make it for special occasions because of how long it takes to make. This takes almost two days, so it’s almost like a labor of love,” Goldstein said. “I’ve had brisket other times, but my mom’s is the best and everyone else agrees, too. It makes me proud that my family has this special recipe.”

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Lake Zurich High School Student Media
Students share unique holiday recipes