Monday, November 25, 2019

Family Talk

It may be a challenge to get everyone in a room of strangers talking to each other, but that may seem simple compared to getting family members to talk about their family. And yet, with this week's upcoming holiday, that may be exactly the kind of task which lies ahead of us. And what a timely opportunity to preserve remembrances of relatives no longer with us.

With Thanksgiving falling so late in the month—and marketers chomping at the bit to race to the prize on Black Friday—it almost seems as if we've bypassed this Thursday's event already. But not so fast, my friends. We need to linger over some turkey and mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie. There may be a discovery or two to be gleaned by those visiting relatives—or a story to share from generation to generation.

I don't know about you, but even with our own small family, we like to begin our preparations a few days early—and I don't mean merely the act of shopping for the big feast. I'm the old fashioned type who prefers my mother's old cranberry sauce recipe—one not unlike the hundred year old magazine's recipe that blogger Sheryl Lazarus shared in A Hundred Years Ago. Traditional creations such as these take time to make.

So, once my family arrives home from our early holiday vacation this evening, we'll be busy preparing the cranberry sauce (my task) and brining the turkey (my husband's yearly wrestling match). This year, my daughter and a few friends will be overseeing a pie bake-in and sharing the results of three different recipes to make sure we have ample goodies left over for weekend noshing. Somehow, between this evening and Wednesday night, we should have everything prepared, other than the actual cooking of the traditional basics.

Each of those steps in the process of preparing the feast generates commentary on the re-enactment of our family's traditions, as we pull down recipe books handed down to us by generations before us. Food history is part of family history, as speaker Gena Philibert Ortega has pointed out so many times. What we like to eat can point us back to our family's origins with everything from feasts to favorite comfort foods.

While you are busy in your kitchen this holiday season, I hope you will keep in mind the tiny tells talking to you from the forms of the foods you choose to include in your festive menu. This week ushers in a wonderful opportunity to prompt sharing of memories encircled by the foods we love to eat—together.

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