Tell us about your favorite childhood meal — the one that was always a treat, that meant “celebration,” or that comforted you and has deep roots in your memory.
Free free to focus on any aspect of the meal, from the food you ate to the people who were there to the event it marked.
Today’s twist: Tell the story in your own distinct voice.
Funny.. I think of a childhood meal and I don’t even think of the food. I know there was food but that wasn’t the focus of the meal.
It was the cousins. The aunts, uncles, parents, and my Grandma.
My Moms family was always very close. There were 9 kids and my Grandma. Grandpa had passed away sometime during my mothers teen years. All of the Aunts and Uncles had spouses and kids.
We got together regularly when we were young, and even now, thanks to my cousin, we get together still once a year at Thanksgiving. It seemed we were always getting together for something as I was growing up. The usual, Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas. But then there were other times when we just seemed to all get together.
Yes, food was involved, but I can’t remember any particular food but the pickles and olives that mysteriously, were all gone by the time we sat down for dinner!! There were cousins to play with!! Who cares about food!!!
At Christmas, we had presents! Yes– even though there seemed to be hundreds of us, my Grandma would have presents for everybody!! Socks or gloves for the boys- all were remembered. Even the boyfriends and girlfriends when all the cousins started bringing them. The girls got sometimes hand lotion, sometimes writing paper. Sometimes gifts Grandma had gotten last year!! The kids would get matchbox cars, jacks or jump ropes. Maybe playdough. Small craft kits that grandma picked up somewhere.
Sometimes we would laugh at what we got and wonder what in the world Grandma was thinking. But we would never know for sure because Grandma was deaf. Sometimes she would explain and the gift would make sense to her. Not necessarily to us. But it was part of the fun of the day!
And then we would EAT! Foods that the Aunts made and brought to share. Foods that the hosting family prepared. Plenty of treats! I remember one year one of the Aunts made these little turkeys with a chocolate covered cherry, a striped cookie and a candy corn. YUM!! I think I ate my share of those. Then, we would come back for the second round. There was always plenty of food for that.
Then everyone would help clean up and cousins would run off to play, get into mischief and run amuck… No TV. No ipod, ipad, ds, any electronic device of any kind. We just ran and played. We made up games, we climbed trees, we had a blast! Sometimes the Uncles would get a softball game going with us kids. Other times one of the Aunts would keep us busy games. It was definitely not boring.
Finally, when the last dish was finished and washed and put away, all the Aunts and Uncles would round up their kids and load up and go home until the next family gathering.
Fun times… Now, my cousin hosts a family gathering every year at Thanksgiving. My kids are running with their second cousins and having a blast getting into mischief and playing and getting gifts from my cousin and the Aunts. We eat a traditional Thanksgiving meal that my cousin puts together, we bring things to add to it and we eat too much, the kids get too many treats and us cousins get to reconnect and learn all the news. The Aunts and Uncles are mostly all there. We have lost a few here and there, and they are remembered. My Grandmother has been gone now for 12 years, but she is still very much a part of the family gathering.
Would love to hear of your family traditions in the comments. Thanks for reading!