Workplace

What people in tech are cooking up this holiday season, 2021 edition

Welcome to Protocol’s annual holiday cookbook, where we ask people in tech to share their favorite holiday recipes with family stories or histories.

A stack of "tech cookbooks"

Here are the recipes people shared with us, ranging from the Swedish meatballs for St. Lucia from Twitter’s New York chef or the Romanian citrus-scented sweet-dough known as cozonac.

Illustration: Christopher T. Fong

Click banner image for more holiday coverage for 2021

Last year, Protocol asked the people in and around the tech industry to share their holiday recipes for food and drink that bring them joy, have family history or carry a story. This year, when we asked the same to the leaders, engineers, program managers, lawyers and marketers who power the work we cover throughout the year, a theme emerged: comfort foods that respect and express gratitude for our respective cultures, upbringings and ancestries.

We hope you can perhaps find a new tradition — and some level of comfort — for your own holiday in our 2021 Holiday Cookbook, whether it’s in the Swedish meatballs for St. Lucia from Twitter’s New York chef or the Romanian citrus-scented sweet-dough known as cozonac. Happy holidays and many thanks to all of our readers and sources, from all of the Protocol staff.

Read last year’s recipe collection here.

Alexandru Voica, Communications Manager at Meta, EMEA

Cozonac

"It's not officially Christmas unless I've ingested at least four pounds of cozonac."

Robert Koerkamp, Head Chef at Twitter, Dublin

Kerststol

"Christmastime is a special time in Holland. For one, we don’t only celebrate on Christmas day but also on the 26th of December which we call Tweede Kerstdag or “Second Christmas Day.” Both these days are jam packed with food, but my favourite treat has to be kerststol, a luxury bread served and eaten at Christmastime. Studded with candied fruit peel and raisins and sprinkled with powdered sugar it tastes absolutely delicious. I don’t know if the taste or smell is what I love most. Growing up, a baker’s son, this smell was one of my favourite things at Christmas time. It wafted through the bakery throughout December and the hustle and bustle of people coming through the doors, happy in the festive season, is something I’ll always remember. The bread contains a ribbon of creamy almond paste called a “stol.” Buttered slices of kerststol are enjoyed for breakfast or brunch throughout Holland and it’s the perfect accompaniment to a cup of tea or coffee. Try making your own with the recipe below! Vrolijk Kerstfeest (Merry Christmas in Dutch :) )"

Vanice Hayes, Chief Culture, Diversity & Inclusion Officer at Dell


Vanice Hayes' sweet potato tarts.

Sweet Potato Tarts

"Our favorite dish during the holiday season is DESSERT! What started as a fun, easy dish to cook with our children has turned into an annual tradition that our girls now look forward to cooking on their own. Each year, we cook a large meal with turkey, dressing and all the fixings, but it’s the Sweet Potato Tarts that are always the star of the show. They can be eaten alone or topped with whipped cream or ice cream. They are also delicious when served warm or cold. My daughters make them in batches of 20, and we typically don’t have any leftovers."

Grace Fleshman, Manager of Inclusion & Engagement at Confluent


Grace Fleshman's white chocolate cranberry orange cookies.

White Chocolate Cranberry Orange Cookies

"Earlier this year, I turned my cookie baking hobby into an official side hustle. Along with my only employee (my toddler), I have created many cookie recipes and these White Chocolate Cranberry Orange ones are a family and customer favorite for the holidays."

Abhi Ramesh, CEO and founder of Misfits Market

Butternut Squash Lasagne

"Our favorite kinds of dinners are the ones that are full of lots of veggies yet so hearty they require no sides, no salads and no soups. This cheese- and fresh herb-filled lasagna is just that: filling and delicious enough that you don’t need anything else."

Richard Donahue, CMO at Ibotta

Campfire Mashed Sweet Potatoes

"COVID-19 has changed the way we (everyone) commemorates the holidays over the last two years. Desperate to get out of the house, we decided to celebrate #campsgiving instead. While everything didn't exactly turn out as planned, we decided one particular recipe was too good not to make a permanent part of our family tradition: mashed sweet potatoes over the campfire. It gives the sweet potatoes an added flavor profile you just can't get from the stove or oven."

Corey Bodzin, CPO at Deepwatch


Corey Bodzin's flour tortillas.

Flour Tortillas

"Having lived in Phoenix for more than 30 years, I've always loved the tortillas you could get at restaurants like Carolina's and was always disappointed by what I could get in the store. I started making tortillas more than 15 years ago and quickly realized I would never be able to eat store-bought tortillas again. The recipe is incredibly simple (just four ingredients), versatile (you can make thin and chewy or thick gordita-style) and fun to make with your kids (my daughter started her side business "Bee's Tortillas" after realizing that homemade tortillas are *always* in demand).

Craig Ratajczyk, CEO of Crop One


Craig Ratajczyk's kale and chorizo soup.

Kale and Chorizo Soup

Ratajczyk’s team at Crop One developed this recipe for Kale and Chorizo Soup, which is his favorite when the weather starts to get chilly.

Christine Su, Product Lead for Conversation Foundations at Twitter

Scallion Pancake Challah

"My Jewish mother-in-law found it for our first Thanksmukkah together and it's been a holiday tradition ever since."

Mark Gandara, Culinary Director at Twitter NYC

Swedish Meatballs

“It's a recipe we usually make during the winter months in the NYC Twitter Cafe and especially in December. The Swedish holiday St. Lucia falls on Monday, Dec. 13, and we usually have them around, along with some glögg and saffron buns. Tweeps love this annual treat.”

Ivan Makarov, VP of Finance at Webflow


Ivan Makarov's tomato salad.

Two-Minute Tomato Salad

This is a filling salad that only takes a couple of minutes to make, but can serve as a side to your favorite protein (chicken, fish, tofu, whatever), if you don't have time to make a proper side. Full of nutrients, flavor and fiber, it's my default salad to make when I don't have energy or time to work on something beyond basic, but I still want to have a healthy and yummy side. This salad is influenced by the salad my grandma used to make for us as kids during our summers in Russia (she had her own tomato garden), and a traditional Greek salad, which I love.

Jesper Theill Eriksen, CEO of Templafy

Glögg

“I can’t go through a holiday season without a nice warm cup of glögg – a deliciously elevated Danish version of mulled wine. In Danish we have a term called “hygge” which has no direct English translation, but generally means coziness. Glögg is essentially liquid hygge. It makes you feel warm, cozy and allows you to forget how dreary it is outside. Which is essential for us Danes because we certainly have our fair share of cold and damp winter days. It’s a staple in my household during the holiday season, and it’s also become a staple at Templafy holiday parties in our offices around the globe. I hope this recipe brings the same feeling of hygge to you all!”

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