More food memories……….

My last post, Autobiography in food….., sparked much discussion  in other forums. People were keen to write about the foods that evoked powerful memories. It seems right to conclude the year with a continuation of this theme.

Mince Pie

Mince Pie (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The holiday season 2013 is coming to an end – this can be a time of joy as people gather with loved ones, or a time of sadness as people remember those they’ve lost. Most cultures celebrate holidays with special foods or meals. Often the food of holiday times consists of dishes passed down from previous generations. For example, mince pies epitomise Christmas for me (I’ve lost the habit of Christmas pudding). Do I make them the same as my mother did? In some ways (though mine are vegetarian), but they are certainly different from my grandmother’s. These things evolve from generation to generation and change as other significant relationships form or as people travel and import things from other cultures into their own.

Journal prompt: What are the dishes that represent holiday celebrations, eg Thanksgiving, Christmas or other celebration  for you? Are they from your childhood or introduced later? How has this changed over time?

Before Christmas I heard a panel of chefs asked the following question: Who is the better cook, you or your mother? They were unanimously complimentary about their mothers in the kitchen extolling how much they learnt from them or inherited their love of food and cooking. But this is not always the case – when I introduced the same question in a writing group, the writing produced a range of responses.

The Kitchen Maid

The Kitchen Maid (Photo credit: Accidental Hedonist)

Journal prompt:  Who is the better cook, you or your mother (or the person who cooked for you in childhood)? What did you learn from them? What do you remember?

Write an unsent letter to express your feelings about this.

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5 Comments

  1. Love this post! So evocative.

    Kathleen Adams LPC, Director Center for Journal Therapy and Therapeutic Writing Institute 303-986-6460

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  2. Kate Thompson

     /  January 2, 2014

    Linda
    That’s a great example of how a tradition evolves from generation to generation, changing with the times to reflect current interests and uniting generations. Great pictures too.
    And interesting to reflect that these things can skip a generation too – grandparents pass on things to grandchildren.

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  3. Kate Thompson

     /  January 2, 2014

    Leslie,
    Sounds like the tradition is well-supported there. I wonder if the recipes change from generation to generation or are handed on from mother to daughter.

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  4. Linda Toomre

     /  January 2, 2014

    A tradition that started at Xmas,many years ago when the children were little, was to make a gingerbread house from scratch. We made a typical German style A- frame with slanted roof laden with royal icing and multiple candies, including mints, gum drops, and a peppermint walkway with candy cane posts. Now when my grandchildren come, their parents construct with their young gingerbread fantasies, no more cute houses, but Hogwarts castles, and this year a volcano with lava of licorice, ribbon candy spewing down the sides, and smoldering boulders made by the two year old, who liked making balls, while the 9 year old made ninja gingerbread men. What fun for all and now a tradition that started 40 years ago.

    My mother hates cooking and only had a small number of recipes that she competently repeated. Her mother was a great cook, who loved to make delicious German food that I vividly recall and that I can still taste in my mind. She was my foodie mentor.

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  5. Leslie Houston

     /  December 29, 2013

    My mother will always be the better cook. Our family tradition is pies at Thanksgiving and cakes at Christmas. Always has been and always will be!😄

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