USC Digital Folklore Archives / Posts Tagged ‘christmas buns’
Customs
Foodways
Holidays
Material
Rituals, festivals, holidays

German Holiday Foods

Abstract:

This piece is about specific German foods, specifically baked goods, that are eaten at Christmas or other special occasions.

Main Piece:

“My maternal grandmother came from Germany, first generation, so her parents came from Germany. So she had a lot of German traditions, but the ones I remember the most about her had to do with baking and very special baked goods and pastries for certain occasions. She made something called a stollen every Christmas morning she would make it fresh and everyone had to have their stollen before they could open their presents. When there were special occasions, like when we had lots of family around she would make lebkuchen and she even had a special pan for it. It was a pastry with fruit on the top and it was amazing. But she always insisted certain pastries for certain occasions.”

Context:

This subject is an adult woman who remembers her grandmother and the traditions from her German heritage she brought to the holidays. The subject has German ancestry that would be highlighted through foods at the Christmas time or when there were large family gatherings. She learned these foods from her grandmother. Though she does not continue the tradition exactly, she makes cinnamon buns that her family must eat before opening presents these days.

Interpretation:

These kinds of foods remind me of baked goods traditions like having cake on your birthday or a wedding cake. The idea that there are certain pastries for certain occasions rings true with those kinds of baked goods as well. I think it is nice that the subject also tries to keep the tradition alive in her own way by making cinnamon buns. This kind of shows the evolution from one kind of cultural food through the change of culture the subject is in. As a person that does not identify as German, the subject makes the tradition “her own” in a way, while still holding on to her heritage.

Foodways
general
Holidays
Rituals, festivals, holidays

Christmas Buns

D is a 57 year old man. He is a practicing cardiologist at a hospital in the northern suburbs of Illinois. He identifies as American as he grew up in Boston, but he strongly associates with his Scottish heritage as well. D completed his undergraduate studies at Dartmouth University and he attended Cornell University for his degree in medicine. During his studies, both undergraduate and med school, D studied abroad in France two times. While in medical school, D studied at the Faculté de Médecine et de Maïeutique de Lille in Lille, France. English is his primary language, yet he is also fluent in French.

Me: What’s your favorite Christmas tradition?

D: I have a lot of favorite Christmas traditions, but one that I am particularly fond of that has been passed down from my mother are her Christmas morning Christmas buns.

Me: What are Christmas buns?

D: Christmas buns are made from pillsbury crescent roll dough slathered in melted butter, and lots of cinnamon and sugar, wrapped around a marshmallow and baked. The whole family pitches in to make them and while they are baking we listen to Christmas music and drink Irish coffees and hot chocolate. No one is allowed to open their presents until the Christmas buns are ready to be served.

Me: When did this tradition start?

D: In the 1960’s.

Me: Why did it start?

D: Because it sounded delicious. And it is delicious.

Me: And you guys have been making them every year since then.

D: Yeah

Though he likely has many different holiday family traditions, D chose Christmas buns as his favorite. The familial attachment to the tradition seems to mean a lot to him. The fact that the recipe is from his childhood and his mother used to make it every Christmas makes it more important for him to keep the tradition going. His family now all participates in making the Christmas buns before opening their presents every Christmas and not only are they tasty, but the act of making them is fun as well. The joy of Christmas is spending time with family and enjoying ones company, and by making these Christmas buns every Christmas morning, they start the day off right.

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