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Is It All About Food?

Thanksgiving is an American Celebration that is all about food and we acknowledge it by eating.  Sometimes we eat way too much, but none the less it is an occasion about food, gathering and enjoying every bite.

berry heart

One of the most wonderful moments of appreciation one can show another is to accept their hospitality by sharing food.  Clean water and food are on the basic human needs list along with air to breathe and shelter.  To accept these gifts is to make a connection.

When my family was expecting company, a great deal of effort went into preparing for the visitor and part of this preparation was food.  Our hope was not to serve something our visitor was allergic too or would make them ill, but rather to nourish them and share what we had to offer.  It was a special occasion.

At Christmas time (our main holiday celebration in winter) our food offerings were often special treats or sweets like fancy cookies or homemade marshmallows.  My Mother was a school teacher so the folks on her staff would each make one kind of treat or cookie in large quantities and they would share and trade to make a more elaborate plate when they were short of time and trying to keep children engaged in learning and still meet their family’s needs and wants.

On Christmas day after church, my relatives would arrive (lots of clergy in our family tree) we would have a specially planned feast which usually had foods that we did not eat any other time of the year. Our feast then became an occasional treat.

My parent favorite treat at Christmas time was the lovely orange they got as a gift.  It was fresh and whole and a rich experience.  When my parents came to the US, they could afford enough oranges to make fresh squeezed orange juice for our treat before church on Christmas morning.

There were school plays and pageants and usually a visit from Santa with involved a candy cane and our teachers had the homeroom teachers bring cookies and punch on the last day of classes before break – another treat.

Oh and the wassail, hot and cozy after going to the tree farm to cut our decoration centerpiece. A once a year treat.

There was so much magic and mystery and singing and preparation and the treats were part of it, but not really the main focus.  Most of the gifts at our house and in my neighborhood were homemade – I always got a new pair of pajamas crafted by my mother’s hands.  Three kids and teaching first grade, whenever did she find the time?

And then there was a game and a book and something – one thing – that we had asked Santa for on our list.   It just seemed like there were lots of gifts and I got plenty and the visual joy of it came from so many people and family gathered and all those collective gifts placed under the tree.

This was a special occasion to celebrate a spiritual and secular event in our lives and our community.

It was not everyday nourishment.  The treats stopped.  The fancy desserts, the gourmet cooking, the trying to outperform another, including the competitive glitz and glitter were distinct occasions not year round events – daily occurrences.  Special occasions have become mundane and ordinary events which up the ante and make us think more and more and more.

Many do not remember what it was like to feel hungry and what food tastes like.  We have let what dazzles our eyes dictate our exercise routines and defined success by if we can control our treat intake and stay healthy or if we continually overindulge to find ourselves.

My family wants food that nourishes and makes good connections.  They want food that fuels good conversation and activities and allows them to come together and bring out the magic of stories and events in their lives.

We will have wild blackberry pie and laugh about climbing down the bluff to pick the berries in the heat of the summer, and the cooking smells will excite the tongue to remember the warm berry in August splendor and our worry if we were getting enough for a pie and not eating them all on the spot!

Yes there will be an office party and a dinner or two at a restaurant and we will watch with care what we are consuming.  Most of the gifts this year will be shared with families in need and we will put some magic into each stocking at home.

I don’t believe the Winter holiday season is really about the food or the consumption and quantity. I think it is about connection and magic and preparation?

What do you think?  How do you celebrate and what is the magic in your season?

Or is it about the food?

15 Responses to “Is It All About Food?”

  1. Betsy Says:

    Hi Patricia – It’s not so much about food, but it’s definitely about the nourishment, isn’t it? All the senses: the sight of the lights, the aroma of pine, the touch of a warm hand, the sound of a carol, the taste of a sugarplum. Lovely reminders, all.

    Betsys last blog post..PANIC

  2. Vered - MomGrind Says:

    “I don’t believe the Winter holiday season is really about the food or the consumption and quantity. I think it is about connection and magic and preparation” – I agree! I sometimes think that one of the good things that could come out of the current economic crisis is less consumerism and a tendency to simplify and go back to basics.

  3. Patricia Says:

    Betsy – I think without stimulating the senses there would be not holiday and then it might even become a form of torture? Which is what I think too much stress, overspending, and worry is torture and it shortens our access to joy.

    Me too Vered! I think this economic situation is a gift helping us to re-balance and getting us back to our meanings and senses…
    I got out my advent wreath candles last night and did my prayers even though I missed Sunday….it felt so wonderful…my menorah was dull and needed polishing….so I put it to soak in some polish-I loved how my Grandmother used toothpaste and a brush to get into all the nooks and crannies….
    preparation not all the distractions….I hope I can sing the prayers, but am doubtful…time will tell…

  4. Davina Says:

    Hi Patricia. Good food is a treat when it can be shared with others. That is one thing I miss by living on my own, sharing a meal with another human being. I don’t have any family here on the west coast so I will be spending Christmas with my boyfriend and his parents and a few friends.

    Davinas last blog post..When Fear Closes In, Take Action

  5. Patricia Says:

    Davina,
    Sharing food is a wonderful thing….and it sounds like you have some folks to share with lined up…and with your Gluten Free Work you should have a very interesting event!! Yum Yum!

    I have lots of cousins who live in the Richmond area….today is my cousin Peg’s birthday….so if you see someone out celebrating it just might be her! She has just bought a house after having a Condo in downtown Vancouver for years.

    She would be a great advocate for your new business….wonder how I could connect you folks?

    Making plans here!

  6. Jannie Says:

    We always got red grapes in our Christmas stockings. To this day, be it July or January when I eat a red grape I feel a flood of Christmas.

    Simplify it whenever possible, love that idea. It’s too easy to get caught up in more, more, more when less is so much better. Like Vered, the magic and preparation is it.

    I do long for a “barley toy” candy, tho, We always had those in our stockings too, the clear red and gold ones but they are not easy to find.

    And thanks for your comment on my girl’s lip-flinging. Including her in as much of the preparations as I can, is the best idea. Thank you Patricia.

    WISDOM – you have indeed named your bog very well.

    Jannies last blog post..A Good-Fitting Bra (uh-oh, here come those Google ads again)

  7. Carla Says:

    I love serving food to others. This year we will be out of town this holiday season but in years past, I took delight in strolling the farmers markets and local stores for the perfect organic, local pomegranate or pastured chicken. Coming home to prepare good, nourishing food for my guests gives me great joy. When I’m in good company, its easy not to overeat actually. Sure, its not all about the food, but it helps sometimes!

    Carlas last blog post..Indie, handmade, eco friendly gifts | Holiday Gift Guide

  8. Patricia Says:

    Jannie,
    I don’t know “barley toy” candy….wow I wonder if I google that if one could find it….or at the Vermont Country Store? They have all the old favorites – not always with the same name, but so many things…

    Grapes bringing a flood of memory…oh yes! that is part of the magic….Christmas year round!

    You are welcome….I lived with three of those fun and “pesty” creatures and now they do most of our holiday planning and actions and let me know what they would like me to do …mostly it is get the tree, and put magic in the stockings…oh yes and cook the main meal!

    They love to think of blessings and poems to read as we light candles and sing our favorite songs….and they even taught me a few new ones we just love.

    thank you for the complement on my blog name…I rather like it myself…Patricia is from the Hebrew for Woman…and in Greek means Woman of wealth and wisdom. Still working on the wealth part if that only include money! I have an abundance of life and kindness :)

  9. Patricia Says:

    Carla welcome to the blog and thank you for your great comments. I love looking at the farmer’s markets and getting the best that is offered…food is the conduit for good connections, but it takes forethought, planning and preparation to make it so?

    Food is such a wonderful gift to share.

    Wow Pomegranate and Pastured raised chicken in the same sentence – maybe in the same mouthful…oh yummy image!

    Thank you

  10. Carla Says:

    Oh my! You’re very welcome Patricia! :)

    Carlas last blog post..Emperor “Clean Coal” has no clothes

  11. Dot Says:

    I always thought these holidays were about family, not food. We did have our special food traditions, which I sometimes cook for myself now. Family being such a problem in my background, this is no longer a family time for me. I have yet to replace them with suitable others, but would like to.

    Dots last blog post..Weird Tip Tuesday – Eat Less Butter

  12. Carla Says:

    @Dot – Unfortunately our family is a problem too so we end up spending a lot of time with friends during the holiday season.

    Carlas last blog post..Emperor “Clean Coal” has no clothes

  13. Patricia Says:

    Dot,
    My extended family was always so far away and I have one difficult sibling so when my kiddos came along we started forming our own Holiday traditions and Holiday Family…..I have just seized the opportunity to make it my event and do it my way….Family is just surrounding yourself with love….Biological Family is life lessons sometime lit on fire!….not the same thing at all!

  14. Davina Says:

    Hi Patricia. I didn’t see Peg out celebrating, but good for her for buying a new home. She must be thrilled. If you think she might be interested in Life Coaching have her visit my website at crimsoncompass.ca; she can contact me through my contact page. I’m planning a special Christmas promotion. Thanks!

    Davinas last blog post..Step Out Of Crisis And Into Power

  15. Patricia Says:

    Davina,
    I will pass on the link to Peg – thanks for the return visit!