About a month ago, I had the honor of attending a funeral service for a wonderful woman I knew through church. I believe she died at the age of 93. As her family spoke about this wonderful woman, the topic of food came up repeatedly; spending the night at grandma’s and her making French toast in the morning, everyone wondering if grandma was bringing her Mac and Cheese to the family barbecue, the smell of grandma’s baking wafting into the family’s business next door. The examples were many and it reminded me of my own family. I have many food related memories of my own; picking lemons from my grandma’s HUGE tree, my mother making “lemon” meringue pie from the “lemons” from our family’s very small tree only to discover they were grapefruit, my other grandma making the most delicious apple pop-overs. The memories, both good and humorous, go on and on.
I think we need to remember how important food is to our family memories and traditions. Many of us that live in the United States are cultural mutts! I mean to say, that we often have a very mixed heritage and unfortunately, this often means we may not often eat meals or foods that are traditional to our culture. I think it’s important that if we don’t have traditions, we create some for our children. I can’t remember exactly how it came to be, but Split Pea Soup has become our family’s traditional Christmas Eve dinner. And even though my kids are growing up and going their separate ways, we have managed to maintain that tradition. We no longer eat Christmas Eve dinner at our house. My daughter’s in-laws have a tradition of hosting Christmas Eve dinner at their house and they have included our family, so now my Split Pea Soup has been added to their traditional meal of Tamales, totally different foods, but it works! And two families are becoming one and our grandchildren will have great memories of these gatherings.
I almost forgot another food related tradition! One of our kids came up with the idea to have an annual Christmas gingerbread building competition. We buy two identical ginger bread kits and lots of candy. Every thing gets divided up equally and our girls and their friends build away! Their creations are always so creative and impressive. I’ve attached pictures of last Christmases entries.
If you don’t have any family food traditions, I hope you’ll think about this and see if you can’t come up with one to put into place!