I don't have a ton of holiday food traditions. Growing up, and even now, we tended to have the same sort of fare for our Christmas dinner each year, influenced by my Protestant German grandparents: ham, applesauce, scalloped potatoes, that sort of thing.
Not many specific recipes, aside from a famous shortbread cookie from my grandma that I shared in this space last year. (Find it at tbtim.es/shortbread.)
In fact, the one meal I associate most closely with the holiday season isn't dinner or dessert, but breakfast.
I have written before about how my father makes an incredible pan of scrambled eggs. His trick is to under-cook them just so. (And, of course, add an obscene amount of butter and cheese, which I didn't realize until later in life.) Even my husband, who is not a breakfast person, requests them.
We are a family that appreciates a good, and large, breakfast. And that might be because the meal is tied to another tradition that, decades after the kids stopped being children, still sticks: We take our time opening presents, stretching out the Christmas morning festivities for sometimes hours.
Naturally, we need to pause to eat. And that's where breakfast comes in.
I chose this week's recipe for Pumpkin Cranberry Waffles with that in mind. Another favorite breakfast recipe at our household, especially when we allow ourselves time to luxuriate in the meal, is waffles like these — a slightly healthy version that's still full on holiday flavors.
Throughout our site, you will find treasured holiday recipes and traditions like these from you, our readers. For our annual issue, we called for recipes for every part of the meal, and you all delivered. We received dozens in the different categories of appetizer, side dish, entree and dessert.
A sampling of them appear on tampabay.com/cooking. Maybe one will become one of your new holiday food traditions.