Growing up, we had a lot of food traditions in my family. I grew somewhat attached to these traditions and might still be a little bit of an enthusiast when it comes to holidays.
After moving from Virginia to Colorado, when I was eleven, I was a moody, short tempered preteen who was obsessively concerned about life and traditions changing because of the relocation. That first Christmas after the move, I learned we would be celebrating the holiday with friends of ours who had decided to have tamales for dinner.
Since my mom grew up on an Indian reservation near Tucson, Arizona, I think she was pretty excited to have a Christmas that resembled her childhood memories. Being consumed in my own childish world, I could not be bothered to care about her and her resurfacing traditions. I was totally concerned with my own sacred rituals being ruined!
I’m not going to lie– those tamales were fantastic, but being the uprooted, and ticked-off child I was I could not appreciate them. Thankfully, people are loving and understanding and we had a full turkey dinner alongside the delicious Mexican fare. My mom and I have talked about that Christmas more recently and I have realized how easy it is to be selfish when it comes to customs what you are used to and what you expect out of a holiday or a tradition. This seems to get harder when you get married, move, intermingle families, and generally live life.
I think there is something heartwarming about traditions. This whole blog is about food telling us something about who we are and how we got to be that way. Knowing that people have participated in something for generations, traced back the recipes through families, and grown from childhood to adulthood with continued practices and tastes are observances that become engrained into you in beautiful ways. Yet as a more mature adult who can appreciate that my mother and father both gave up some of their traditions to raise us with the traditions now particular to our family, I understand more about having flexibility when it comes to the people you love and the food they enjoy. After all, isn’t the purpose of tradition to bring people together across time and space?
What are some of the traditional foods you grew up with and how did your traditions change as your life changed?