While traditions are lovely in many forms, not all of them are worth preserving. Siting around the table having conversation without technology, absolutely worth preserving. Making our children (and us) eat the same old meal of bad holiday food we had to eat every stinking holiday year after year is not so much a tradition as it may be a sign someone needs therapy (refusing to move on, grow up, embrace change and so forth). I don’t care how you spin it, eating the same food with no appreciation for change is not tradition, it is torture. It is time for an update.
Recently at a big Thanksgiving dinner everyone under 25 physically recoiled at the large plate of a semi-solid, wiggly, glistening wet, mint green concoction us “old people” called ‘jello salad’.
“Gross, just gross, ” said one.
“Its just not right,” said another.
But wait, it is sweet, colorful and entertaining, all things the younger set once found interesting at the holiday table. It seems the junk-food/juice box generation has developed a more sophisticated palate. Jello is not quite what they consider food, of the “right” variety. A few years earlier a similar reaction occurred to the traditional warm casserole dish of mushy orange things (sweet potatoes or yams depending on one’s upbringing) with little marshmallows on top. Blah! I confess, I’ve never gone for this. As the relentless persnickety eater, even I could not be plied with sugar on top of a cooked vegetable. (Still not a cooked veggie fan.) Solution: the following Christmas dinner I scored with Butternut Squash Risotto. And they are still talking about it, in a good way.
Traditions are great but when it comes to food it is important we not ignore evolution. There new foods which are worthy of the holiday table, a bit special, and requiring a little extra effort which make superb holiday fare. Whether one is paleo, vegan, gluten-free or just trying to make healthier and more flavorful choices, shouldn’t we loosen up a bit and embrace change?
Baking was an event which went on between the second week in November and Christmas. My Mom and made cookies, special breads, cinnamon rolls and other desserts. My grandmother would contribute a clothing sized box lined with neat rows of ten different cookie varieties.
Nowadays we just don’t cook like this. But some traditions are worth preserving.Recently my 24 year old niece was visiting and one of the first things she asked was can we make Christmas cookies? Can we make them and take them home to decorate with other family members? We did. On Thanksgiving we arrived with the cut out sugar cookies we’d baked three nights earlier. The entire morning was spent around the kitchen island, frosting and decorating, just the girls. Passing on traditions, of enjoyment, of sharing. It was lovely.
When you decide to plan your holiday food offerings, consider switching things up a bit. Create some new traditions for modern tastes. Preserve what people enjoy, not the bad food items they laugh at. Tradition only works if it can be enjoyed by all.
I wish you and yours a very joyous holiday season. XOXO