Coming from two totally different types of families our holidays were a bit mixed. When our family (Dad, mom & three kids) got together with my dad's family from south Georgia the foods were much different than those of my mom's family who were from SW Ohio.
The Georgia table was set with collard greens, a big ham, some black eyed peas, green beans with bacon & onion, a salad, a plate of sliced tomatoes and some cornbread. For dessert the chosen food was a monster bowl of granny's from scratch banana puddin'. (no that's not a typo that's how you say it!) All washed down with some of the sweetest sweet tea a body could ever want. To this day my kids want their tea "like Granny made it." I don't think anyone can make tea like granny did. All served with that southern attitude of "come on over, pull up a chair and help yourself!".
The Ohio table (shown above Christmas 1961) was set with a big ham, mashed potatoes with gravy, baked beans, corn, bread dressing with & without oysters - grandma always made two pans of her bread dressing, usually a big bowl of buttered noodles, a plate of sliced bread and finished off with sweet tea. Not as sweet as Granny's from Georgia though. Grandma always had several desserts, she loved to make dessert - usually her Milnot Cheesecake (yes, there are two links there!) and her coffee cake were on the table along with her pecan pie and some sort of cake. The cake always varied, but the pecan pie and the cheese cake did not.
Of course I had favorites on both sides, I was fortunate, both of my grandmothers were excellent cooks - and I have many of their recipes that I still use today to feed my children & my grandchildren. I keep some of the best recipes in my genealogy software under the notes on both of these fabulous cooks.
My favorite foods from the holidays would be granny's Georgia ham and her white cornbread made with white cornmeal. My favorite from Grandma's Ohio table would have to be the bread dressing without oysters and that Milnot cheesecake.
What foods did your family serve on the holidays? Do you think that those foods reflect their heritage? What about you? Do you serve traditional foods or do you find yourself looking for new favorite for your family?