Couple uses family traditions to make their own

I have been thinking a lot about food. Not only because of pregnancy cravings or needing to monitor my protein intake and hydration, but because I binge watched the latest season of Chef’s Table.

Each episode of season six was themed around the importance of food in sharing stories, understanding cultures and passing down the histories of communities. And, if we stop to think about it, such a sentiment rings true not only in the world of fine dining, but also in our own family homes.

When I moved into my first apartment, I remember my parents helping me not only move but stock up my pantry as well. They filled it with reminders of home – my dad’s cooking, minus the meat.

I hated – and still dislike – touching raw meat. The first time I made red beans and rice, I called my dad for step-by-step instructions, making sure that I followed the “recipe” as closely as possible so that it would come out the same way. The same thing occurred for beef stew and a multitude of other home favorites.

Of course, it never turns out the same.

Our memories have a way of playing tricks on us. Even if we follow the recipe to the letter, it always tastes a little different than what our memories recall.

The same is true for my husband. One of his favorite recipes is his mom’s roast. Each time he makes it, he says the same thing: “It’s getting closer.” But, of course, it’s not – and it never will be. And that’s just fine.

Because, the thing is, we take these homemade favorites, and we make them our own.

It’s not just about the meals themselves, though. It’s also about the sharing of those meals. It’s nice to come home at the end of each day, working side by side in the kitchen to prepare whatever meal we’ve decided on.

And, it’s even better to sit down at the table and enjoy not only the food, but the conversation – what our days have been like, what things we have on our minds – and lately there’s been a lot!

Part of that sharing and the necessity of sitting down together as a family comes from our own traditions. Each of our families made a point of family meals –  eating together and sharing.

I recently read an article discussing the necessary changes that come once couples decide whether or not to have kids.

One of the most interesting aspects involved the idea of traditions.

Those who decide to have children are more likely to be invested in not only maintaining, but also in creating new traditions as ways of sharing culture and shared experience.

It makes sense. As we start our own families, we certainly want to pass on the best of the experiences that we had, but we also want to break the mold a little and generate our own traditions that combine the best of both worlds.

After all, marriage is about coming together as a unit, to start a new family together, which only grows when we become parents.

Dr. Heather Bozant Witcher can be reached at hbozantwitcher@clarionherald.org.

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