While December brings out some of the best food (cookies, candy canes, pecan pie, gingerbread, you name it) it also comes with a hefty punch of not-so-desirable holiday foods. While taste is subjective, there are a few holiday treats that get told over and over again how much they are hated.
Did the holiday food you absolutely loathe make the list?
There’s no doubt that fruitcake gets a bad rap during the holiday season. Starting out as a holiday tradition all the way in the 16th century, fruitcake was originally created to preserve fruit in a white sugar syrup.
However, in 1985 fruitcake became the traditional joke of Christmas. Johnny Carson on The Tonight Show joked, “The worst Christmas gift is fruitcake. There is only one fruitcake in the entire world, and people keep sending it to each other.” The rest is history.
Eggnog is definitely one of those love-it-or-hate-it types of drinks. Made with cream, eggs, sugar (and sometimes booze), this creamy and custard like drink actually got its start in the United Kingdom as a strong variety of beer.
In fact, eggnog was known to have an 20% ABV to preserve the nog for months. That kind of alcohol content is sure to start your holiday party off with a bang. Today most eggnogs found in the store are packed with corn syrup and your daily limit of total fat. Make your own to keep it simple.
8. Candied Yams
You have to wonder who came up with sprinkling sugary marshmallows on potatoes. Perhaps it was Santa with his affinity to sweet treats. Candied yams, or sweet potato casserole, is truly an American tradition.
When I was living in Sweden a few years ago I made a batch of candied yams to bring to a holiday party. Everyone was stunned. Marshmallows on a side dish? Like Americans, my Swedish friends didn’t know what to think of this festive dish on the dinner table.
7. Green Bean Casserole
Whenever I think of green bean casserole my immediate thought is: condensed cream of mushroom soup. And personally, it’s a no-go for me.
Green bean casserole got its start in the Campbell’s Soup Co. all the way back in 1955 when a reporter from the Associated Press called and asked for a vegetable side dish recipe. Thus the “Green Bean Bake” was born as a popular holiday food.
Made with only five ingredients (canned green beans, French fried onions, condensed mushroom soup, milk and soy sauce), this Midwestern casserole staple found itself on holiday tables across the country. Personally, I prefer our homemade version without all of the canned food.
During the holidays you can always count on roasted turkey being on the table, but does anyone actually like turkey? Frankly, it always turns out a bit…bland.
Even after brining it and seasoning it with all of the spices in your cupboard, it’s always covered up with gravy, making this holiday favorite almost seem like a fraud.
5. Mince Pies
This British dried fruit and spices pie is considered a holiday staple. Filled with “mincemeat” the pie is trying to gain traction in the States, however we are not having any of it.
Stores like Aldi and Whole Foods sell the pies and canned mincemeat can be found in most international aisles in your grocery store if you are looking to add this dessert to your holiday dinner.
4. Gefilte Fish
When the holidays roll around, we can’t forget the Hanukkah (and shabbat) classic: Gefilte Fish. Made from ground fish such as carp, whitefish and pike, this appetizer is a classic dish at any Hanukkah table.
The history of the dish started in Eastern Europe to stretch the cost of the fish further, letting poor large families indulge on fish during Shabbat. You either love or hate gefilte fish. Personally, I can’t take the texture, but my mom gobbles the stuff up. I’ll take an extra helping of potato pancakes, please.
Found on holiday tables around the globe, lamb is a festive and rich meat that expresses elegance. However, lamb has a distinct lamb-y taste that many cannot stand.
Molly Birnbaum from America’s Test Kitchen, states that most of the gamy and earthy taste comes from a fatty acid located in the fat of the meat. Thus the best way to cut out that flavor is to take off as much fat as possible.
2. Cranberry Sauce
Cranberry sauce is as essential to holiday meals as a Christmas tree is to Christmas. However, the canned stuff can leave much to be desired.
Served with its distinct canned ridges, cranberry sauce is a condiment that people love or loathe.
1. Jello Salad
Believe it or not, jello salads still exist in today’s day and age. These retro salads got their start at the turn of the 20th century, when instant gelatin became popular. Well into the 1950s, these retro salads took shape as an economical way to serve a salad.
Today people still serve these gelatin salads on their holiday tables. Personally I always think of the scene from Christmas Vacation where the jello salad is filled with cat food. And because of that, I will never eat a jello salad.