Teachers share their holiday food traditions


Chris Curry

Curry displays his freshly air fried turkey from his holiday festivities.

As students take a break from school and spend time with their families, traditions that last generations are continued and memories are made. While winter break is a time away from schoolwork, it’s also a space for students to spend meaningful time with family. Instead of grading papers and projects, these teachers spend their time with their significant others and children: cooking, baking, and growing closer as a family.

For AP US History teacher Matthew Bellito, one food tradition that he and his family carry out is eating rice pudding with lingonberry sauce during Christmas. This tradition stemmed from his childhood, when his grandfather would make the dessert for his family during Christmas dinner.

“My sister makes this dish when we get together for holidays now,” he said. “I’m not good at cooking, I’m good at eating.”

While rice pudding is not one of his favorite dishes, the fun memories that came along with it made it stand out.

“[My grandmother] would always hide a peanut or a walnut in the pudding, and the person who got it would ‘win’ and get an extra present,” he said. Bellito mentioned how he was always excited every year to see if he’d get the nut, and now enjoys seeing his own kids have that same excitement.

Aside from rice pudding, Bellito also started a tradition with his immediate family.

“Another tradition of ours is going to a Christmas Eve service, then going to a steakhouse. That’s our time together before it gets all hectic,” he said.

Chris Curry, English teacher and volleyball coach, has a unique dish that he often gets made fun of for.

“I just refer to it as the pickle thing,” he said. “It has no other name.”

This recipe, which has been passed down from his family from someone in the past, has been a staple of his childhood. The dish is relatively simple: cream cheese spread on a dill pickle, wrapped up in buddig beef (a cheap beef lunch meat), sliced into small bite size pieces. An upgraded version is replacing the buddig beef with salami, which Curry reports as better tasting.

“My daughter hates them,” said Curry.
Although Curry nor his daughter truly enjoy the pickle dish, he still makes time to pick up the ingredients and make them once in a while, as it reminds him of his childhood and the fond memories that come along with it.

Kathy Catanzaro, the Athletic department secretary, prepares an egg casserole for the holidays. In addition to being made during the winter holidays, Catanzaro also makes this dish during other holidays throughout the year.

“You can put it in the oven, open Christmas presents, do an Easter egg hunt, and a nice breakfast will be ready to enjoy,” she said.

The recipe is relatively simple, but delicious enough to enjoy for every holiday; cooked sausage, eggs, half and half, croutons and seasonings baked to perfection.

Every year for Christmas morning, Samantha Phillips’ mother would make her and her siblings french toast. But instead of traditional American silverware, she and her sisters would eat the dish with chopsticks.

“It’s something that I am super excited to continue with my own son,” said Phillips.

Last year for Christmas, Phillips and her husband got their son Zach a set of training chopsticks in order to carry on the tradition. This tradition is both something that resonates with Phillips as it reminds her of her childhood, but also the fact that her family gets to appreciate a culture different from their own.

“It’s sort of an easy way to practice, so it became a special tradition that’s unique to our family,” said Phillips.

Although the practice has continued for many years, Phillips’ chopstick game has made little improvement.

“I would not say that I am an expert at chopsticks,” she said. “But I know if I have chopsticks and french toast in front of me, I can do a good job.”