Traditional Christmas Foods for Baby Boomers & Seniors

For North American baby boomers and senior citizens looking forward to a holiday meal with friends and family over the next couple of weeks, there are likely going to be some differences between the dinners you may remember having as a child, and what today’s families will be eating in 2015. In addition to perennial Canadian & American favourites like turkey or other roasts, you can expect potatoes, vegetables, breads or rolls, and pie.

But what will be different? Let’s compare some of the foods missing or new from our Christmas dinner or other holiday meals.

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Today’s kids and young adults are a lot pickier eaters (does every generation say that?) than older adults. If you’re a baby boomer in Canada or America, chances are you grew up with parents that had a Euoropean heritage and had lived through the depression, and/or food rationing or scarcities during World War II. They had to make a little go a long way, and they had a real sweet tooth. Chances are, the menu items below that were favored by seniors and boomers in the 20th century, won’t likely be on a 2015 Christmas dinner menu:

Fruitcake – Not popular with today’s kids who don’t seem to like sweet dried fruits; but some baby boomers and seniors still love it.

Christmas, Plum, or Carrot Puddings – This boiled fruits and spices pudding was usually prepared weeks or months in advance and served with a syrupy sauce. Today’s parent’s don’t have time to make it and today’s kids find it too sickly sweet and are suspicous about whats in it.

Molded Jelly Salads – They were the pride of yesterday’s meals made by Mom & Grandma, often with fruits or vegetables mixed inside them, but today’s kids (and most grownups) sneer at them.

Mincemeat Pie or Tarts – You were never sure what went into mincemeat when Mom made it….(a lot of stuff including fruits and  – wait for it – yep, minced meat!). Today’s Mom’s won’t make it, and even if they did, today’s kids won’t eat it.

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With the wave of immigration to North America from Asia, the Middle East, and Africa over the past 30 years, a number of new foods originating from those regions have become popular. Today’s young adults are into healthier eating – and a lot of them are vegetarians – so you might well see these dishes on your table:

  • Quinoa – Tiny superfood whole grains, served hot or perhaps cold in a salad
  • Couscous – This semolina dish is an alternative to rice or traditional pasta
  • Hummus – A chick-pea based spread served as an appetizer with pita, breads or crackers 

Whatever is served at your get-togethers this holiday season, the most important ingredients are the people – friends and family – that you spend time with.

Happy Holidays & Merry Christmas to all, from Senior City

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