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Tweet City Heights: Christmas Lumpia and Casserole Tacos

By Megan Burks

San Diego’s Diverse Residents Redefine Holiday Tradition
The San Diego Union-Tribune talked to San Diegans this week about how the traditional holiday meal has transformed as the city grows more diverse and more of its residents adopt special diets such as vegetarian or gluten-free.

One woman’s holiday get-together was compared to a gathering of the United Nations, with family members representing Filipino, African-American, Mexican, Cambodian, Chinese and European heritages. Their meals are a blend of lumpia, chorizo and British treats.

Stacy Spensley of City Heights began hosting holiday meals to be sure there is something for everyone; she’s vegetarian.

“For the first 10 years I was a vegetarian, I ate mashed potatoes and dinner rolls for Thanksgiving,” she told the Union-Tribune. “So it’s never been one of my favorite holidays, because mashed potatoes and dinner rolls are not that exciting of a meal. Especially when you’re being interrogated why you’re only eating mashed potatoes and dinner rolls every year.”

She stressed, however, that it doesn’t matter what you eat, as long as you’re spending time with family.

“You can start any version of your tradition. Like, if you don’t have sweet potatoes, the world’s not going to come crashing down. But if your family’s not around, that’s a pretty sad holiday.”

Speaking of new holiday traditions, Multi-American, a KPCC blog about Southern California’s immigrant neighborhoods, added to its roundup of food fusion in south Los Angeles this week. Enter the green bean casserole taco:


Photo by Leslie Berestein Rojas, KPCC

Editor Leslie Berestein Rojas tried it. The verdict: “If you put anything tasty in a tortilla, it’s still going to taste good.”

Follow the Union-Tribune @sdut.

If You’re Donating to Famine Relief in Somalia, Read the Fine Print
The holidays usually bring a reminder to help those without food on the table, often in the form of year-end fundraising campaigns. Marketplace ran a story yesterday about one of those campaigns, calling it misleading.

The commercial by One.org employs statistics about the famine in Somalia and then asks viewers to sign a petition to support a federal program aimed at ending hunger. But that program doesn’t feed those currently starving in Somalia.

Instead, it works on disaster prevention and solving food insecurity in several other countries.

While the campaign is a bit fuzzy on where your money goes, organizers insist it would be doing good. Experts, including Somali Youth League of San Diego Chairman Abdulmalik Buul, agree preventing another famine is key to help Somalia and other East African countries.

But prevention work is hard to fund. Large donors often stipulate that their money must be used for emergency relief. And support and awareness are hard to maintain after the famine has ended.

That’s why SYLSD is continuing its campaign, despite some regions in Somalia being downgraded from famine zones. It’s planning a walk Jan. 14 to raise awareness.

Follow Marketplace @MktplaceRadio

 

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