Saturday, November 24, 2012


So Thanksgiving has come and gone. I, for one, had a great time and this year only two items on the table were not safe for my son: bocconcini (mouth size mozzarella balls) and caponata (eggplant appetizer) 
Those were there on the antipasto plate --separate ones of course-- because they always are--see below about tradition!

This year we skipped stuffing --last year I made gluten free stuffing and vegetarian stuffing for various members of the gang.  But this year, I skipped it entirely and made rice a la Thanksgiving.  That means, diced Granny Smith apples with the skin; orange dried cranberries, and golden raisins-- all put in the pot with white rice in water and chicken stock.
Although I made far too much-- it was delicious-- and sort of spicy -- perfect with both the turkey and the ham and today, by itself .

But Thanksgiving again got me thinking about traditions and how difficult it is to overlook them.  Around holidays, even in the least food-conscious cultures-- there are traditional foods for certain occasions. And within that larger cultural tradition there are family traditions: being Italian American we always had lasagne or straccitella soup before the turkey, and finocchio (fennel) and roasted chestnuts after. Well, lasagne and egg and cheese soup  don't go on my menu today-- and my question is, do I lose some of my cultural connection by not having the traditional foods grace my table?  What does it mean to NOT be able to pass on those cherished--or silly-- family recipes?

I do feel a loss, a loss of connection to my history, and a loss in general to my cultural tradition, in a way that is, well, American. As we become one nation, the melting pot of the world, will we lose these traditions anyway? Am I bothered because in my particular family we cannot continue those food/culture connections for a very particular reason, which means it's specific to me, and not the slipping away of tradition in general? Should I feel isolated by the severing of the food traditions-- or am I reading too much into those recipes?

It's a question I continue to think about-- any comments or ideas-- let me know how you feel.