Tuesday, December 20, 2022

Carp in the bathtub and Hoppin' John for the Holidays

Are you familiar with these traditional culinary holiday delights? Let me tell you some holiday stories from our extended family. 

Carp in the Bathtub is a popular Slavic holiday experience that was carried over from our family ancestors in central Europe to Chicago and celebrated by our Jewish, Catholic and Baptist relatives there. 

The story is told in a wonderful children's book that harkins back to an earlier era, before refrigeration, in which live carp in the bathtub provided fresh fish for the holiday.  

In some cases served as a delightful twelve course meal. 

We also enjoy the more mainstream, mid-western traditions from our Ohio family members of turkey and ham and green bean casserole with Campbell's cream of mushroom soup.

The tradition of Hoppin' John on New Year's Eve comes from our southern kin. 

Hoppin' John goes great with collards and corn bread or hushpuppies, or both!

A newer family tradition, Iskender, comes from some of our travels.  

Others countries represented in our extended family holiday celebrations include dishes from Panama, the Netherlands, and now New England (although our New England roots go back many generations) such as red flannel hash and dried apple pie topped with a thick slab of sharp cheddar cheese. 

Each of these different tastes unlocks involuntary memories containing the "essence of the past" as described by Proust in Remembrance of Things Past
For recipes contact us at the Conway Public Library's Henney History Room. 

For more on your own family history and maybe some forgotten traditions you would like to revive contact us at the Conway Public Library's Henney History Room. We offer free guidance and workshops on researching, preserving and sharing your family history and traditions. 

Have a very merry holiday and a happy New Year!