This savory dish is a traditional food for a lot of folks in the St. John Valley where it’s known by its French Canadian name “ tourtiere .”

Most people have a favorite, must-have holiday food. And that food is often traditionally made by the same person every year. But this year with families gathering in smaller numbers and parties postponed, that person and your favorite dish may not be crossing your threshold. But that’s no reason it can’t be on your table.

With the right ingredients, a recipe and some quality time in the kitchen you can prepare your favorite holiday dish yourself. Here are a few traditional holiday foods and where you can find the recipes to make them. Who knows? It could be the start of a whole new food tradition for you.

Scalloped oysters

Living in Maine it makes sense that seafood is part of holiday food traditions. For some people it’s scalloped oysters. And not just any scalloped oysters — it has to be the recipe found in the Fannie Farmer cookbook.

Meat pie

This savory dish is a traditional food for a lot of folks in the St. John Valley where it’s known by its French Canadian name tourtiere .” The blend of spices, two kinds of ground meat, potatoes and vegetables is the ultimate in holiday comfort food.

Fruit Cake

If there is one holiday food that gets a bad rap, it’s fruit cake. The traditional alcohol and candied fruit infused sweet bread has become the butt of foodie jokes for years as a dry, dense lump of cooked dough. That’s a shame, because when made the traditional way it’s a moist and delectable treat.

Cipates

This is truly for the meat lover. Cipates, also called six pates, is another traditional Quebecois food of layers of meat and potatoes in a pie crust that graces many holiday tables. There is nothing quick about the preparation, but if you have the time — it takes up to 12 hours to complete — and can get your hands on the ingredients it’s worth it.

“I do mine overnight,” said Denise Duperie, who grew up making the food in the St. John Valley. “I use wild game, pork, turkey, beef and chicken and it tastes even better reheated.”

Peanut butter fudge

Fudge of any sort becomes a finger food on many holiday tables. Peanut butter fudge is good all year round, but just seems to taste better around Christmas.

Stuffing

Several people listed stuffing as the must-have for a holiday food. Credit: Brian Feulner / BDN

Several people listed stuffing as the must-have for a holiday food. And not just any stuffing — it had to be made from “mom’s recipe.” If you don’t happen to have your mother’s recipe on hand, here’s one that — dare it be said — is every bit as good.

Ham

A perfectly cooked, shiny glazed ham is the centerpiece to many holiday tables. It’s also the source for days of leftovers in the form of sandwiches, casseroles, salads and soups. The key is to start with a good recipe, like this one from the late great Maine cook and Bangor Daily News columnist Brownie Schrumpf, and go from there.

Sugar or raisin pie

The sugar pie and raisin pie are another contribution to holiday tables by way of Quebec. Sweet, decadent and sinfully delicious, they are best served with milk or strong coffee.

Standing rib roast

Another one for the meat lover. A standing rib roast is an impressive presentation as the center of a meal and when prepared properly runs from medium well on the ends to rare in the center so everyone is happy. It also pairs perfectly with yorkshire pudding.

This year may look a little different around the holiday table, but thanks to these recipes your favorite seasonal foods can still be part of the celebrations.

Julia Bayly

Julia Bayly

Julia Bayly is a reporter at the Bangor Daily News with a regular bi-weekly column. Julia has been a freelance travel writer/photographer since 2000.