by Cecilia Estreich

During the holidays, tradition tends to shine even in the most fast-food saturated kitchens. Despite Coca-Cola’s insistence that the stretch from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Eve is all about computer-animated polar bears and sugary, carbonated beverages, the real centerpiece of most holiday meals is a family recipe. Think about it. Whether it’s a cookie recipe brought over from Italy with your Sicilian grandma or the stuffing your mother learned to make in college, the holidays are a time when we celebrate our loved ones and our cultures through food.

This year, Slow Food would like you to add another element to your feasts: foods listed on the US Ark of Taste, an online catalog of more than 200 rare and regional foods in the U.S. If the holidays are a time when we celebrate and give thanks, it seems fitting to prepare foods that support people in our communities and reflect our local traditions.

Looking through the Ark list on the Slow Food website, there are so many endangered products that are perfect for a holiday table: heirloom apples for pies, Louisiana oysters for stuffing, heritage turkey breeds and regional cheeses from the American Raw Milk Cheese Presidium. There are also thirteen new products that were boarded on the list in August.