Season's Eatings: Strange Holiday Foods We Can't Live Without

For many, Christmas is the time to chow down on some truly unique dishes

Ah, Christmas...  A time to visit with rarely seen family and friends, skip calorie-counting -- and satisfy strange food cravings. That's right, just as every family has a skeleton in their closet, most clans also have one really crazy dish in their repetoire that has to be served every year much to the delight (or chagrin) of the members. Up here in Minnesota, the Scandinavian influence is so strong that "lutefisk" - white fish soaked in lye - is so popular they even sell it in giant jars at Costco. Here are some other funny, but delicious (or so they say), holiday recipes from around the country:

In Philadelphia Jell-O, crushed pretzels, frozen strawberries and cream cheese become a sweet-n-salty side dish.

In Utah, one friend reports a holiday potluck must-have with "a Lime Jello layer, then this white layer that has velveeta in it, then a cherry jello layer on top." If this sounds crazy just remember that Utah officially designated Jell-O the official state snack food.

A friend from Texas reports an annual New Year's Eve dish of black-eyed peas stewed with okra. Although he notes, "I do not personally observe this tradition!"

In Ohio, about as far from the ocean as you can get, a friend's traditional Christmas Eve dinner is oyster stew. She explains, "It's disgusting but my mom thinks that everyone must love it because we do it every year! Uh, mom, we do it every year cause you make it every year! Stop making it!!"

Finally, in my own family, no holiday celebration would be complete without the Hearts of Palm Salad. You marinate a can of hearts of palm, artichoke hearts, baby corn, olives and cherry tomatoes in Italian salad dressing and then serve over a bed of greens. Seeing as my mother comes from strong German stock, I always assumed the recipe came from Deutchland. "Oh, heavens no!" she retorted. "I found that in a magazine one year when I was trying to be fancy!"

Do you have a crazy or special holiday food that's become a tradition in your home? Chime in below!

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