Karen Davison Shares Her Favorite Texas Holiday Foods

One of the best parts of the holiday festivities, right up there with unwrapping presents and organizing family gatherings, is the wealth of food that will be on the table.

In Texas, the holidays represent a tasty opportunity to dig into food that has the added qualities derived from German-American and Mexican-American cultures.

Karen Davison, an expert chef and culinary blogger from Plano, Texas, provides some traditional Texas foods that should be featured in any holiday cuisine.

European-Inspired Breads

European settlers were influential in establishing various holiday traditions in Texas, Karen Davison notes, with German and Czech natives being amongst the most significant. Christmas dinner, for example, consisted of roast pork in the earlier years, eventually progressing into a barbecue tradition. German stollen, a bread with butter and sugar coating that has a myriad of variations, and the Czech vanocka, a special bread reserved for Christmas, are two Texas favorites. Both of them are sweet classics, centerpieces of a holiday dining experience within the state.

Fruitcake Frenzy

Although fruitcakes are globally appreciated, the English are known for occasionally sourcing theirs from Texas, according to Karen Davison. Collin Street Bakery, located in Corsicana, has a few claims to fame since first offering its DeLuxe Fruitcakes in 1896: receiving loyalty from royalty, as Princess Grace of Monaco and Princess Caroline of Hanover were two of their more publicized customers and enticing another consumer from London who flew into the country, hailed a cab to the bus station, and traveled to Corsicana to ensure his Christmas fruitcake was punctually delivered. Anything for a fully loaded fruitcake (the Collican Street Bakery concocts its delicacy at 80 percent fruit and nuts, with 27 percent pecans by weight), it appears.


Thanks to the noteworthy Mexican traditions in Texas, tamales are a holiday cuisine essential, Karen Davison states. Steamed and wrapped in a corn husk paper or banana leaf, these packets come with meat, cheese, or fruit. A traditional Texas food that can be traced back to pre-Christian times, the tamale was once presented as an offering to the Gods, demonstrating how sacred of a dish it genuinely is. Now, families continue to make the appetizing packets together during the holidays, preserving its connection to ritual and celebration that was woven into the cultural fabric so long ago.


Texas is revered for its version of cornbread, which is quite the statement when one considers the wide array of variations available in the south. Typically, there are one to three ingredients from the following: cheese, green chilies, buttermilk, jalapenos, cream-style corn, sour cream, and onions. Don’t take your eyes off the cornbread when the holiday dinners commence, because if you do, there’s a good likelihood that it will be completely devoured without you snatching a piece.

Iced Tea

Clinking glasses with your company, you ought to be sipping on iced tea with your holiday cuisine, whether it is sweetened or unsweetened. Most, if not all, restaurants in Texas serve their guests iced tea, such is its status as a Texas favorite. Eggnog and hot chocolate are certainly acceptable holiday beverages for the majority of people, but Texas residents will prefer a glass of iced tea with their dinner.

Karen Davison on Turducken

An east Texas favorite, turducken is a delectable dish that combines three meats into one massive creation. How, you ask? A de-boned chicken is stuffed into a de-boned duck, which is stuffed into a de-boned turkey. Afterwards, it is filled with a sausage meat or breadcrumb mixture, then roasted, braised, grilled, or barbecued. Be prepared to take a load off and loosen the belt once you’ve taken your last bite.

Chef, Culinary Blogger, Foodie (obviously), Loving life in Dallas!