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“Who doesn’t love a good fruitcake?” said no one, ever. Holidays are often filled with extra-delicious dishes made even more special because you get them only once a year. But then there are the dishes you’d rather pass to the next person without serving up a helping for yourself. So we thought it’d be fun to ask a few local chefs what their favorite and least favorite items are at the holiday table.
Wisconsin’s official pastry is a must at any in-state holiday. One of Tory Miller’s favorites is the kringle from O&H Danish Bakery in his hometown, Racine, Wisconsin.
“Yes, HONEY BALLS!” says Joe Gaglio about the Italian honey-drenched balls of dough he remembers enjoying. “Wasn’t that your nickname in college?” asks Patrick DePula. “It’s my nickname now!” replies Gaglio.
This one ended up in the middle with mixed reviews. “I might get in a lot of trouble if I start talking about dishes I hate during the holidays,” says Gaglio. “My wife’s from Pardeeville, Wisconsin, and they have taco dip. I’m like, this is Christmas Eve, you cannot do taco dip for Jesus.” But Miller disagrees: “Taco dip is never a bad thing! I don’t know what Joe is talking about!”
Peas and carrots
“I always hated them,” says Daniel Bonanno. “The best part, though, every time at the end of the meal, we would get to-go boxes or take home stuff, and my brother would always get stuck with the peas.”
“I remember there used to be this creamy pistachio Jell-O mold when I was a kid,” says Miller, “and I fully understand the Wisco tradition of Jell-O as a salad thing, but that [stuff] was just weird. Lucky for me, I’m allergic to pistachios anyway.” (Related: See Dan Curd’s historical take on Jell-O salad’s equally infamous cousin—the fruitcake.)