Top 10 International Holiday Food Traditions


Christmas in England

In the United States, parents keep the Santa Claus legend alive for their children by setting out a treat for Santa when he comes: typically milk and cookies on the hearth. In England, Santa goes by "Father Christmas" and his tastes tend toward mince pie and a small glass of sherry.

According to the BBC Glossary of Food Terms, mince pies once contained meat, thus the common term "mincemeat" [source: BBC]. However, today mince pies hold a spicy preserve of dried and candied fruit like apples, prunes, currants and raisins that are steeped in brandy or rum. When topped with crust, you call it a mince pie. When there's no top crust, you've got a tart. Parents who put out mince pie for Santa might leave a few crumbs behind as added evidence, in addition to the presents under the tree, showing he was indeed there.

In Greece, a certain bread dominates the day. See which one on the next page.