Food & Drink

Zac Efron's favorite holiday traditions

Every year we go together as a family to Holloway’s tree farm in Nipomo to find our tree. We like to sit by the fire there, eat popcorn and drink hot apple cider. Whenever possible, we decorate the tree together.

My mom’s family is originally from the Pacific Northwest, and her grandmother always made oyster stew on Christmas Eve. My brother and I didn’t like the texture of whole oysters, so my mom found a recipe that cuts the oysters into pieces. It’s been our family tradition ever since.

Our traditional Christmas Eve dinner:

  • Oyster stew
  • King crab legs with drawn butter
  • Crusty San Luis Sourdough bread
  • Salad with ingredients from our local farmers market
  • Hot or sparkling apple cider/snickerdoodles
  • Favorite holiday cookie: Snickerdoodles

    Here's the recipe for Zac Efron's favorite snickerdoodles:

    • 1 cup shortening (part butter or margarine)
    • 1-1/2 cups sugar
    • 2 eggs
    • 2-3/4 cups flour
    • 2 tsp. cream of tartar
    • 1 tsp. soda
    • 1/4 tsp. salt
    • 2 tbsp. sugar
    • 2 tsp. cinnamon
    • Heat oven to 400 degrees. Mix shortening, 1-1/2 cups sugar, and eggs thoroughly. Measure flour by dipping method or by sifting. Blend flour, cream of tartar, soda and salt; stir in. Shape dough into 1” balls. Roll in mixture of 2 tbsp. sugar and cinnamon. Place 2” apart on ungreased baking sheet. Bake 8 to 10 min.

      These cookies puff up at first, then flatten out. Makes 6 dozen cookies.

      Zac Efron’s favorite Christmas Eve Oyster Stew:

      Dan’s Oyster Stew

      • 20 to 30 oysters
      • Butter
      • Generous dash of cayenne pepper
      • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
      • Salt and pepper
      • Pinch of dill weed
      • 3 to 4 cups half-and-half or whole milk
      • ¼ cup chopped parsley plus sprigs for garnish
      • Paprika
      • Shuck oysters, saving the liquor, and cut into bite-size pieces. This should equal about 1 cup.

        Boil oysters in their liquor and enough water to prevent scorching. Add 2 tablespoons butter, cayenne, Worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper and dill.

        Oysters should cook for about 10 minutes or until firm.

        Now cover the oysters with half and half or whole milk, adding more or less depending on whether you are feeding mere broth drinkers or true oyster lovers. Heat until steaming but do not allow the stew to boil.

        Add ¼ cup chopped parsley shortly before serving and float several chunks of butter on the stew with sprigs of parsley inserted in each chunk. Sprinkle with paprika. Serves 4 to 6.