Taste of Tuscaloosa: Local Families Enjoy Special Christmas Food Traditions

17 Dec 2019 Sheena Gregg
Ashley and Tim Burns of Tuscaloosa love giving the gift of creating memories with their active group of kids. Ashley and Tim Burns of Tuscaloosa love giving the gift of creating memories with their active group of kids. Ashley Burns

Our families of Tuscaloosa have their own unique touches when it comes to Christmas food traditions. And while they’re not exactly on par with Ralphie Parker’s visit to Chop Suey Palace for dinner with his family in A Christmas Story, they’re definitely special. And just like Thanksgiving, my family continues to include some Filipino flair in our Christmas Eve and Christmas day meals. Once again, I’ve asked some of our T-town families to share their cherished unique food traditions for the holiday season. 

Susan Dendy, Tuscaloosa   

My grandfather owned a dry goods store, Alley Mercantile, in Macon County. The entire family would work on Christmas Eve, since Christmas was their busiest season. Because everyone was always coming and going at different times, there would be a big pot of chili on the stove for people to eat when they were home. Alley Mercantile closed its doors 40 years ago, but we still eat chili every Christmas Eve. Only now, we gather as a family and eat it together.   

Susan Dendy with her husband, daughter, and siblings representing the second (and third) generation of Christmas Eve chili consumers.

Ashley Burns, Tuscaloosa   

My husband Tim and I decided a few years ago to start a tradition of doing a big family trip at Christmas for our kids instead of doing a lot of gifts. Last year, we went to Stone Mountain Park in Georgia. This year, we’ll be heading to Tennessee. The most adventurous and tricky part about our trip is finding places to eat while traveling that are open on Christmas day. 

Ashley and Tim Burns of Tuscaloosa love giving the gift of creating memories with their active group of kids.

Sarah Kate Neunzig, Tuscaloosa   

My husband, Kai, was born and raised in Stuttgart, Germany. Once we started our family, there were some holiday traditions from his childhood that we knew we wanted to keep for our children to enjoy – especially since both of our children are dual citizens.  

On Christmas Eve at his parents’ house we’ve traditionally had fondue or raclette. Christmas Day is usually the day for goose. We will again go to his parent’s house, where his mother has prepared a big, beautiful meal. We will have goose, sauerkraut, green beans, spätzle (a southern German noodle), and knödel (potato dumplings). Throughout the entirety of the holidays, there will be plenty of schokolade (chocolate), lebkuchen (gingerbread), and glüwein (warm mulled red wine) for our German/American family to enjoy.  

Sarah Kate and Kai Neunzig aim to give their kids a German Christmas experience as dual U.S. and German citizens.

Sheena Gregg is a registered dietitian and local “Filipino Foodie.” Follow her adventures at afilipinofoodie.com. 

Rate this item
(0 votes)

Druid City Living (DCL) is Tuscaloosa, Alabama's premier community newspaper, covering the great people, places and activities of the area.

 

captcha 

Most Popular