Friday, January 15, 2021

Cultures offer different food options

The holiday season is officially in full swing with Thanksgiving leaving us full of turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy. Students all over Plattsburgh State are gearing up for winter vacation and more seasonal food to fill their bellies.

Holiday vacations are all about coming home to family, relaxing in one’s own bed and, of course, home-cooked food.

TV and Video Production major Reba Schmitt said she celebrates both Christmas and Hanukkah, and the holiday season is something she always looks forward to.

“I get to see both sides of the family and celebrate both of the holidays with them,” Schmitt said.

Schmitt celebrates both holidays because her mother’s side of the family is Jewish and her father’s side is Catholic. Though her mother has since converted to being fully Catholic, Schmitt’s family still celebrates some Jewish holidays and eats some of the culture’s popular dishes.

“Around Hanukkah time, my aunt makes this brisket that is insane, and we always fight over it,” Schmitt said. “I also get excited about any Jewish holiday that there might be Matzo ball soup because I am addicted to Matzo ball soup.”

Another largely celebrated holiday is New Year’s Day. New Year is the traditional time to put what has happened the year before behind and start off fresh with new goals and new ambitions.

For Liberal Arts and Sciences major Davidia Boykins, New Year is a time for her and her family to practice their usual traditions and pray.

“We go to church until the time hits midnight. Then we drink sparkling cider, eat, do karaoke and make resolutions,” Boykins said. “These are traditions that have been passed down for years in my family.”

New Year’s doesn’t always fall during the beginning of January for everyone. Some students, like computer science major Danny Fan, celebrate their culture’s New Year’s at different times of the year.

The Chinese New Year, which Fan celebrates, starts on Feb. 19. The Chinese New Year is generally focused on the Chinese zodiac. Each year falls under a different zodiac, and next year will be the year of the snake.

“Every year it’s different, so it’s hard to keep track,” Fan said. “I celebrate it because it’s tradition, but also for the Red Envelopes, where the relatives give you money.”

During this time, Fan and his family usually consume untraditional food, such as lobster or some other kind of meat, but Fan doesn’t mind.

“My brother and I would fight for the belly part of the lobster because it has the most meat compared to the other parts. My dad would do most of the cooking,” Fan said. “I don’t help out much.”

The holidays are the perfect time and the perfect excuse to eat as much as one wants. But it is also a time to be around those people care about most and get away from the stressful days of college.

“I love the holidays because no matter how angry my family feels toward each other, the drama is forgotten,” Boykins said. “I love seeing my family together laughing, drinking and being silly.”

Email Cierra Patterson at

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