Turkeys are available year-round in the US, but other than in the form of lunchmeat, I only eat turkey at Christmas and Thanksgiving. Turkey is likely on the menu at many BBQ places, but if I’m at a BBQ place, I’m getting brisket. Other Thanksgiving staples – cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie, for example – are also available year-round but, IME, are only eaten at Thanksgiving and maybe Christmas.
Do other cultures have foods that are generally only consumed in association with certain holidays? Like is charoset something that Jewish families enjoy year-round, or only at Passover? Do Muslims, Hindus, etc. have certain foods that are only eaten on certain holidays?
Are we restricted specifically to holidays? Haggis and neeps on Burns night (25 Jan) springs immediately to mind.
ETA - this one’s marginal in a different direction - Easter is a holiday, and where I come from (West Cumbria, England) pace eggs are prepared and eaten only around Easter. It’s marginal because a pace egg is, at heart, a hard boiled egg.
Baked ham on Easter Sunday, a whole one not just a slice or sandwich. Black eyed peas on New Years Day for my southern relatives or an entire batch (5 gallon kettle) of tamales for my extreme southern relatives.
I’m not a huge watermelon fan; you know, they’re just too big and messy, and there is a lot of fruit there for a single fella. But I have had watermelon, and I don’t remember ever having it outside of the summer.
In our family we have a big English style roast beef dinner for Christmas, with lots of gravy, roast potatoes and the real star of the meal, Yorkshire pudding. Despite the fact that my Grandma used to call it “Sunday dinner”, we usually only have it on Christmas day.
I usually have a roast leg of lamb for Easter, done Greek style with butter and lemon. My landlord, who comes from Greece, always sends down some Greek delicacies like dirty rice and stuffed grape leaves that I eat with the lamb.
In the past, I’d make roast turkey at Thanksgiving and roast goose at Christmas, just for the sake of variety. Chestnut stuffing with the turkey, oyster stuffing with the goose. Very labor-intensive, which is why I don’t do it any more.
So far as I know, corned beef and cabbage on St Patrick’s Day became a tradition among Irish immigrants to the northeastern United States. In Ireland, they would have eaten pork or ham, if they had any meat at all.
When my daughter was little, I baked a lot during the holidays: chocolate chip and butterscotch cookies and real pound cake, some of which went into English trifles. In the summer, I’d make fruit pies and cobblers.
Another of my traditions is making a pot of Atholl Brose at Christmas and New Year. Hot milk, cream, honey, Scotch, and a sachet of oats—mmmmmmmm!
One Russian tradition I love is eating bliny with jam and sour cream on Maslenitsa, celebrating the end of winter. Other cultures also have pancake days that coincide with the start of Lent.
When I was growing up in Minnesota, we could always buy carmel (not “caramel”) apples at school every Fall. They were always green and wonderfully tart beneath that thick layer of gooey goodness!