You're doing the final shopping and prep for [insert holiday here] and your mother-- aunt--cousin calls and says " I'm making struedel and I know that little Johnny can't eat nuts but it really doesn't taste good without them..."
You hang up the phone and: Scream. Cry. Laugh. Shake your fist. All of the above!
And then you grab the baking mix from the cabinet and read how to make a struedel.
This is a typical conversation for a food allergic family. We've all been there. We all know what it feels like to not be able to make that special family recipe for a holiday meal.
Well, as Loretta famously told Ronnie in Moonstruck. "Snap out of it!"
This is our life.
And this is especially true around holiday celebrations when ritual
meals, steeped in tradition, are the standard fare. But we can't make them. And neither can my mother or Aunt Sadie. Instead I can make a safe menu-- and no one will know the difference. I can ask Cousin Peaky to bring a salad-- since that would be " easier for her" and I can ditch the streudel altogether.
I may feel a pinch at giving up a family tradition, but what really makes the meal a tradition is that we gather our family and friends to share it. That part doesn't ever change.
So above all, remember through the pesky folks and preparation that -- while the menu may need to change-- the message of these holiday meals does not; What we are eating is not as important as who we are eating it with-- as well as all the laughter and gusto we bring to the table -- no matter if it's ravioli or rice cakes. The love, the sharing, the connection are what truly matters, and here is no substitute for that.
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