Nov 26 2019

Celebrating Cultural Traditions: Food Edition

By Ishmael Behrhorst

*Warning, this blog may make you hungry.

Some of my favorite memories have always included both food and people. With Thanksgiving just two days away, we decided to ask our CASA staff about their favorite food traditions during the holiday season. CASA recognizes the importance of remaining connected to one's cultural traditions and celebrations. This is especially true for children who are a part of the complex child welfare system. That’s why today we celebrate the food-loving staff and the diversity that they bring to the table.

“Growing up we would always have mac n’ cheese. My mom would at times experiment and try different cheeses or noodles to mix it up a bit. It was one of our favorite foods during the holidays no matter the version.” – Bree Taylor, Senior Volunteer Relations Specialist

“Well, mine is kind of different and may sound weird."

“Well, mine is kind of different and may sound weird. We always enjoyed Strawberry Pretzel Salad. In a nutshell, it’s a top layer of red jello with strawberry chunks, a middle layer of cool whip, and a bottom layer of pretzels. It sounds disgusting, but I promise it’s very good. We always had it for Thanksgiving and Christmas. The one time my mom didn’t make it the entire family rioted.” – Molly Kier, Advocacy Program Manager

“I have two! The first being baked mac n’ cheese with American Cheddar and Colby Jack. I always look forward to my aunt’s mac n’ cheese I cannot express that enough! The second is chitterlings which I’m not a big fan of but my family loves. What can I say, it’s a southern thing!” – Rachel Austin, Child Advocacy Specialist

“Three words for you. Homemade Apple Pie.” – Jen Cosman, Advocacy Program Manager

 “Mother’s pecan pie. It is the best pecan pie in the world. Once you’ve had it, you’ll understand. It’s the only thing she cooks all year. People be warned… never bring pecan pie to our family gathering. Don’t do it.” – Emily LeBlanc, Chief Program Officer

"Funny thing is, it takes four of us to do all the work that my mother used to do by herself."

“Turkey and dressing. It’s a long-standing family tradition that started years ago by family members that are no longer with us. Funny thing is, it takes four of us to do all the work that my mother used to do by herself. It’s just me and my family now but we love to remember how it all started.” – Ola Jobe, Diversity Recruiting Specialist

“My favorite dish has no name. It was created by my grandmother and isn’t that popular with the kids these days, but I love it! The dish is a combination of sweet potatoes, pineapples, and marshmallows. It is SO GOOD and I look forward to it every Thanksgiving!” – Laura Carter, Director of Grants and Contracts

“Like my friend Laura C., I too enjoy sweet potatoes, but we prepare it very differently! We make a more traditional style sweet potato casserole. Absolutely one of my family favorites!” – Donna Phillips, Controller

"The family has a tendency to break havoc when bread stuffing is not present in our holiday meal."

“Bread stuffing! All I know is that my mother uses bread cubes and a ‘secret seasoning’ that she doesn’t share with anyone. We’re all waiting for the day she reveals her secret! The family has a tendency to break havoc when bread stuffing is not present in our holiday meal.” – Stacey Thompson, Business Operations Manager

“There isn’t a super inspiring heartfelt story behind this, but Christmas Day begins with FLAN in my family! It’s the only day of the year that we eat it—and gifts aren’t opened until it’s in our bellies. It’s so sacred to our holiday tradition, I won’t even order it at restaurants. It’s by far one of my favorite traditions!!” – Kathryn Schorg, Child Advocacy Specialist

“Every year on Christmas Eve night, my mom makes French beef stew and we have peppermint ice cream and brownies for dessert, so it’s a major association of mine for Christmas.” – Catherine Jones, Senior Director of Program Innovation

We love food! It's very important to me while our kids are young that we're home on Christmas Eve and Christmas morning. So I always make a prime rib dinner on Christmas Eve. And then we have dessert and hot chocolate around the Christmas tree and the kids get to open one gift. We always make sure to put out cookies and milk for Santa right before the kids go to bed and carrots for the reindeer. On Christmas morning my husband grew up eating pigs in blankets, which I found extremely odd as a breakfast food choice, but our kids love them so we have continued that tradition and breakfast on Christmas morning are always Pigs in Blankets. The kids get to open their stockings while we make the food, and then we eat while we open gifts.” – Wendy Morse, Training Specialist

"My family eats Salvadoran foods during the holidays like pupusas and panes con pollo."

“My family eats Salvadoran foods during the holidays like pupusas and panes con pollo. So good!!” – Marjorie Villafranco, Child Advocacy Specialist

“Crab cakes that my husband’s father makes on New Year’s Day. We’ll take out the champagne and have a delightful time. I look forward to it all the time!” – Blair Adams, Recruiting Specialist

Before you go grab a bite (I know I will), let’s talk about the new year that is quickly approaching. There are still 687 children who need a CASA volunteer to support them through one of the most difficult times of their lives. This new year offers you a new opportunity to be that powerful voice for a child. We’d love to see you at one of our two final Volunteer Info Sessions happening on December 2nd or December 7th. And yes, we’ll have snacks. 

2019 Culture & Diversity November

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