Winter Feasts and Goodies

BY: ALISA WONG

allculturalfood

We are a big melting pot here at The Beach— stretching our minds, opening each others’ eyes, fanning into flame passions and growing together as collegians. A place where nationalities and ethnicities clash, the university is a wonderful place to meet and mold through culture. This winter break, learn and enjoy your next-door classmate’s holiday food. Here are some winter holiday food traditions Forty-Niners bring to Long Beach. Korean winter solstice – Patjuk On Dec. 21, the winter solstice begins on the shortest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. The traditional event during the Korean winter solstice consists of making, sharing, and eating a red bean porridge called patjuk. Patjuk consists of small balls of glutinous rice in a thick, sweet rice porridge with cooked azuki beans. The red color represents positive energy to chase away evil spirits, and the rice balls symbolize new life like bird’s eggs.

Greek Christmas – Melomakarona Also known as phoenikia, these Greek cookies are served during Christmas time and are popular snacks among children. These cookies are baked with orange, lemon, cinnamon, and cloves, dipped in honey syrup, and sprinkled with walnuts on top. The name comes from meli, or honey, with macaroni which means a doughy and kneaded substance dipped in honey. Melomakarona is sweet, nutty and honey flavor, and can last throughout the season.

Japanese New Year – mochi

Japanese New Year festivities include making and eating mochi—a glutinous rice cake—which is believed to contain the “spirit of rice.” There are several kinds of mochi and mochi-based dishes during New Year events. Kagami mochi, an ornamental mochi offered to deities that visit on New Year’s, is traditionally one mochi cake placed on top of a bigger mochi cake topped with a tangerine. Kinako mochi, which is made for good luck, is roasted over fire, dipped in water, and coated with sugar and powdered with soybean flour. Eaten on New Year’s day, Ozoni soup contains vegetables, meat, and grilled mochi rice cakes for strength and prosperity.

Italian Christmas – lasagna This classic pasta cuisine is not uncommon at the dinner table. For many Italian families, lasagna is a Christmas tradition among other popular Italian dishes. Lasagna is celebrated between Christmas Eve’s dinner of fish and the day after Christmas’ dinner of lamb. Every year, sophomore kinesiology major Nicolette Battista’s grandfather makes his homemade lasagna, whose recipe has been passed down from Battista’s great grandmother from her east coast restaurant. “Not only is it delicious and made with love, but it also holds tradition and brings my family together on this one day every year,” Battista said.

Kwanzaa Celebration - sweet potato biscuits The colorful dishes of Kwanzaa feature traditional African dishes and ingredients. Among the ingredients are peanuts, sweet potatoes, collard greens, sesame seeds, and spicy sauces. Of the seven symbols of Kwanzaa, Mazao—the crops—represents the African harvest festivals in which the fruits of the family’s labor bring together unity, joy, and thanksgiving. Sweet potato biscuits should not only represent African culture but commitment to the celebration of the “first fruit.”