Campus Viewpoints: Favorite Holiday Dish

With the holidays in full swing, The Union staff asked students what their favorite holiday dish is.

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Gema Vera, 52, English major

“Christmas is one of the holidays most special to me during the year because of our family reunions, and the food that we share. What we prepare overall are tamales, fried dough bread, pozole, champurrado, fruit punch, fresh water, piñatas and cake,” Vera said.

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Tyler Hicks, 20, philosophy major

“It’s not holiday specific but it’s become a tradition for our house. But we have a gingerbread building party so what ends up happening is that my mom creates a giant meal for about 30 some odd people and it’s usually something that can be easily made like my special form of chicken strips where rather than flour we use corn starch for a gluten free audience,” Hicks said.

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Karen Mendez, 17, sociology major

“So usually for Christmas my family gathers around and one of the main dishes that we cook are tamales with champurado (thick warm chocolate drink). It feels like it just always brings the family together and remembering those that aren’t here with us anymore. It just symbolizes a lot, like with my grandma’s cooking, now that my mom is the one who can do it, one day I will do it too.”

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Omar Mota, 20, administration of justice major

“Since my mom is from Mexico, tamales, you know the Latinos, obviously Mexican. So my mom is from a part of Mexico named Guerrero and we have this dish called Cochinita which is pork meat with red sauce, Chile de Arbil, guajillo (chili) and all that with frijoles (beans with pork) puercos and sopa fria (cold soup) and bolillo bread. I’m really looking forward to that. It’s a very homey meal that gives that holiday taste and that holiday feel to it. Also you can’t forget about tamales, whatever makes you feel nice at home. That’s the meal that I’m looking forward to,” Mota said.

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Alicia Herrera, 23, sociology major

“My favorite meals are basically the side dishes like mac and cheese, mash potatoes, and mixed vegetables with corn. Mainly, it’s just because when I was little my parents would allow me to make the mac and cheese so I would always make it the way that I would like to eat it and that would be by adding like 10 pounds of cheese and I’d say, “I don’t want noodles, I just want cheese.” I used to make them all the time because that’s my favorite way of eating it. The irony is that I’m now lactose intolerant. I don’t eat it all the time so that’s why I consider that my holiday meals,” Herrera said.

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Mark Morales, 28, computer science major

“For Thanksgiving we cook like a special meal and give thanks for the opportunities that God has given us. [Then] we eat tamales, chicken with rice, beans and drinks like coffee, soda, arroz con leche (rice pudding), with 15 to 20 family members,” Morales said.

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Tim Ogunneye, 20, computer information technology major

“My favorite meal would have to be Amala with ogbono soup. It’s basically a Nigerian food. Think of [it] like this, it’s basically made out of pounded yam softened and reprocessed by continuously cooking it and so you don’t use a fork or spoon, you use your hand. The soup has this rich flavor. If I had to describe it it would be a little spicy but not too spicy and that also involves cow meat, gizzard, beef and everything kind of mixed together. We had it two years ago during Thanksgiving. It’s amazing, it’s great,” Ogunneye said.

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Karina Perez, 18, sociology major

“My family likes to make tamales for Christmas where I help them out and eat them. We make them Mexican style with pork,” Perez said.

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Jose Cruz Chaidez, 18, art major

“Well my mom cooks mash potatoes which I kind of like but not so much. Although, I kind of prefer the kind that we get from the store ‘cause those are so good. And sometimes she cooks pasta verde. It’s like green pasta. We mix them up with green jalapeños, we fry them up, add cheese and there you have it, green pasta for Thanksgiving or Christmas,” Chaidez said.