Thousands of food experts decided the three "alternative" dishes New Yorkers should serve for Christmas dinner that highlight our agricultural and culinary history. There's just one problem with this list...

New York's Top "Alternative" Dinner

Christmas dinner usually sees people diving into prime rib, ham, or a turkey. However, there will be several kitchens cooking up a different kind of dish this season.

Recipe website,, surveyed 3,000 passionate foodies to unearth what each state's preferred contemporary Christmas dishes should be, based on their culinary traditions and regional flavors.

Per the website:

For example, Maine's shores inspire a hearty seafood chowder, succulent lobster, and a sweet finish of blueberry pie, made from its iconic berries. Meanwhile, in Minnesota, the festive flavors of Scandinavia reign supreme with dishes like lutefisk, lefse, and Swedish meatballs taking center stage. Yet, America's essence lies in its ever-evolving cultural mix. As our nation's demographics shift, so do our holiday dishes, blending traditional flavors with fresh influences.

While some states had some tantalizing results, New York's was a little out there - at least in my opinion. Maybe it's a regional dish. Maybe I live under a rock. Either way, these are the top three dishes inspired by the best New York has to offer.

No. 3 - Jewish Style Brisket with Horseradish and Root Vegetables

Based on New York City's intense deli scene, foodies say this dish will pay homage to what assisted the Big Apple in developing its legendary yet unique restaurant scene.

The "Scrooge Sandwich" at the Stage Door Deli
Getty Images

Said the esteemed food critics:

In honor of New York City's significant Jewish population, a slow-cooked brisket served with horseradish cream and roasted root vegetables could be a centerpiece.

Some may be perplexed that these foodies are highlighting a Jewish staple for a non-Jewish holiday. However, if it tastes good and gives people an excuse to use their smokers in the dead of winter - what's the problem? I'm of the viewpoint that Christmas dinner needs to be tasty and special, while also fun to cook with the family.

No. 2 - Bagel and Lox-Style Salmon

I know what I said above and, believe me, I will destroy a bagel with lox any day of the week. So, to me, that doesn't sound like a Christmas meal. True, I have eaten this on Christmas Eve because Polish Catholics cannot eat meat on the 24th - but I don't think I'd serve this for any meal on Christmas Day since it's something you can have any day of the week.

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Said the food experts of Miss Wish:

A playful twist on the classic New York bagel with lox, this dish could feature a salmon fillet cured with dill and served with a cream cheese sauce, capers, and red onions.

On the other hand, I am slightly offended that two of the top three "New York-inspired" dishes center around New York City.

No. 1 - Apple and Rye-Stuffed Cornish Hen

I have eaten Cornish hens before, but I haven't ever heard of stuffing any bird with rye. Is that a thing here or are these food experts getting too fancy and ambitious?

boblin from Getty Images Signature
boblin from Getty Images Signature

Speaking of them, here's what they said about this top dish:

New York State is known for its apples and rye production. A Cornish hen stuffed with a mixture featuring these elements, with a hint of cider glaze, would be both refined and reflective of local agriculture.

I, personally, have no idea what rye will do to the meat of the Cornish hen and I didn't find any recipes encouraging using that as an aromatic. Either way, a Cornish hen does sound like an excellent alternative for Christmas dinner since everyone at the table can feast on their own bird and not fight over the meat.

Still don't get what Cornish hens have to do with New York. Are they a super popular bird to eat here?

Hot Take

In all, I am disappointed in this roundup since New York State is more than New York City. While the Big Apple is a cultural melting pot, this roundup seemingly focused on a single demographic and cut out the other cultures that invented world-famous dishes and put New York on the culinary map.

Why couldn't these food experts diversify their palates and consider the contributions other cultures and religions made to make New York a go-to destination for foodies? For example, when creating a menu for Oregon, the writers highlighted the state's Mexican cultural influence and developed the Hazelnut-Crusted Venison with Mole Poblano.

When looking at New York, why not also include an idea that pays homage to Peng Chang-kuei, who invented General Tso's Chicken? He immigrated to the United States the early 70s and made a significant impact in popularizing Asian food in the United States. Imagine the creative twist on this popular dish these food experts could have come up with.

That, or, why not celebrate Dickie Wells, the creator of the iconic Chicken and Waffles, that was created in Harlem? Wells was a tap dancing prodigy in the early 1900's before turning his passion to food and opening his own supper club in the 1930s. Since patrons arrived too late for dinner and too early for breakfast, Wells invented the Chicken and Waffles dish and forever changed the Black culinary scene.

But then again, that's just my opinion. It would have been nice to see these experts look beyond a small fragment of New York City. They had a massive opportunity to really dig into the state's rich agricultural and culinary history. Instead, they dropped the ball and, in my opinion, took the easy way out. We all know New York City's (and Brooklyn's) Jewish delis are second to none - but that's not the only thing the state offers.

Yes, these two examples are also focused on New York City, too, which feeds into my first criticism.

Outside the Big Apple, the experts could have widened their scope and focused on Buffalo and how that city forever changed the food we eat on Game Day. They also could have shined a light on Central New York's regional dishes like riggies, greens, and tomato pie.

Or, they could have thought of a fun way to honor our state's largest agricultural export - dairy products. Imagine the fantastical cheese dishes that could have been conjured.

Maybe my critique is out of line and these food experts really leaned into the "alternative" branding. That, or, maybe they are tasking those who celebrate Christmas to include dishes from a religion that's facing rising increasing hatred for a matter beyond their control...

Anyway, you can read more about this survey HERE.

What do you think? What NYS-inspired dishes would you think would be better fit for a Christmas dinner?

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