These Holiday Recipes from the Food & Wine Archives Stand the Test of Time

We delved into the 45 years of our food history to share four iconic recipes we want to cook again and again.

Food & Wine Holiday Classics

Jennifer Causey / Food Styling by Margret Monroe Dickey / Prop Styling by Claire Spollen

We’re living in an era of the ephemeral, of messages and images designed to evanesce as soon as they’re consumed, of viral recipes made for the eyes and the likes, but not for the soul and the long savor. In this context, it feels almost radical to commit something to print, and perhaps even more so to reprint recipes from decades past. But it’s tried-and-true culinary wisdom and rigor, published in print, that has made Food & Wine who we are — and earned us a place at people’s holiday celebrations since 1978.

Holiday menus don’t generally happen by accident; they’re built and burnished over time, shaped by tradition and trial. A dish’s first appearance on the table is an audition, and an invitation to next year’s celebration is always on the line. For the past four and a half decades, it’s been our mission and our joy at Food & Wine to present our readers with rigorously tested new recipes to brighten their holiday tables — recipes we hope will become future heirlooms.

We’re marking our 45th year in 2023 by diving deep into Food & Wine’s archive to share the brightest gems from our recipe coffers. In the following pages, you’ll find four of our favorite holiday dishes, selected by longtime (we’re talking since 1982!) test kitchen assistant–turned–contributor David McCann and lovingly revisited by the Food & Wine Test Kitchen. (This is the first of a series of blasts from the past that you’ll see in the year to come; starting in 2023, we’ll share a retested F&W classic recipe on the back page of each issue of the magazine and on We hope these recipes will make you fall back in love with a forgotten favorite or discover a dish that becomes part of your holiday traditions.

01 of 04

November 1980: Mandelbrot


Jennifer Causey / Food Styling by Margaret Monroe Dickey / Prop Styling by Claire Spollen

Cookbook author Joan Nathan shares the story behind these buttery, nut-and-dried-fruit-packed Jewish cookies, first published in Food & Wine 43 years ago.  The recipe came from a woman named Ada Baum Lipsitz who was in her 80s when Nathan met her, and had debilitating arthritis. Nathan remembers that her hands would spring back to life when she molded mandelbrot or braided challah. “I learned a lot from her,” Nathan says. “It’s your attitude about living that’s the most important.”

02 of 04

December 1994: Poblanos Rellenos de Picadillo Dulce

Poblanos Rellenos de Picadillo Dulce

Jennifer Causey / Food Styling by Margaret Monroe Dickey / Prop Styling by Claire Spollen

These festive stuffed peppers from legendary chef Zarela Martínez, combine a lightly spiced ground beef filling with smoky poblanos and tomato sauce. Martínez, an educator and historian at heart, offers what she calls “building blocks'' in the form of recipes and techniques that empower people to understand what they’re making, where and who it comes from, and how to make it their own. These poblano peppers, filled with a Picadillo Dulce of lean ground beef seasoned with briny pimiento-stuffed olives and sweet cinnamon, sitting atop a pool of vibrant red-orange caldillo de tomate (a simple, silky tomato sauce), are a true taste of her culinary legacy.

03 of 04

January 1999: Longevity Noodles

Longevity Noodles

Jennifer Causey / Food Styling by Margret Monroe Dickey / Prop Styling by Claire Spollen

In Chinese culture, the custom of eating longevity noodles during Chinese New Year and celebrations such as birthdays and anniversaries dates back to the time of the Han dynasty. These noodles are thought to bring luck, prosperity, and, as their name suggests, a long life. For chef and cookbook author Eileen Yin-Fei Lo, this simple noodle dish has marked all of her life’s special moments, and in her opinion can — and should — be enjoyed year-round. They’re incredibly easy to whip up, requiring just 20 minutes of active cooking time. “The recipe is so simple to make that it’s surprising how delicious it is,” Lo says. Chinese egg noodles deliver a satisfying chew, and they’re packed with umami thanks to the combination of soy sauce, sesame oil, and peanut oil. Water chestnuts, fresh snow peas, and sprouts add crunch, and fresh ginger gives the dish a warming kick.

04 of 04

November 2009: Chile Shrimp

Chile Shrimp

Jennifer Causey / Food Styling by Margaret Monroe Dickey / Prop Styling by Claire Spollen

Sommelier Rajat Parr’s sweet and spicy shrimp are inspired by Singaporean chile crabs, which he enjoyed many years ago as a culinary school extern in the kitchen at Singapore’s Raffles hotel. “I had no idea I’d keep making [the dish],” says Parr. “Back in the day, I’d get home at 9:30 or 10 p.m. after service, and I’d make this chile shrimp as a quick dinner.” In his recipe, Parr sears shrimp with aromatics like ginger and lemongrass in a hot wok, then tosses everything in a chile-spiked sauce of ketchup, sherry, lemon juice, soy sauce, and sugar. “You can serve it with rice, flatbread, or crostini, plus it’s easy to adjust the heat level with mild or hot chiles,” he says.

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles