Family Stories 1

I've been sitting on this post for a few months because I didn't want to post anything incriminating about my own family. I love them. But, the more I am trying to write about food, and the more I'm reflecting on their contributions to my love of food, the harder it is to ignore my family in the room.

I celebrate a lot of holidays with my friends, my chosen family. Today, I had a happy July 4th meal with my next door neighbor, a co-worker from school. It was awesome.

Earlier in the year, I wrote this about another holiday: Yesterday, I celebrated Easter with some friends. We feasted on pineapple ham, mashed yukon and sweet potatoes, brussel sprouts, asparagus, challa, green bean casserole and tiramisu, cheese and kielbasa. We watched movies and generally had a great time. I cried for 4 straight hours as we watched Coco and Moana. I also won the Easter egg hunt, for the record.

But, the thing that has prickled me since our meal was a completely benign question: "Does your family have any Easter traditions?" This is not a loaded question. But, I felt uncomfortably aware that I had nothing much to contribute to the conversation. I didn't have any recent happy memories to share. I lamely commented something about childhood Easter brunch. 

Family is difficult.

Truth? I don't often think of myself in the context of my family or think to share things about them. I don't readily think of traditions since it's been over 15 years since we celebrated anything with regularity. I don't go home for holidays and I don't enjoy the time I spend when I am home.

Somehow, my family can't manage to be kind to one another.

I lay in bed last night thinking about Easter. I managed to remember one brunch when I was in college. My grandmother forced me to take a picture with the Easter Bunny. I was quite sour, but mustered a winning smile. For years, they kept that photo in my grandfather's office. And I remembered making mashed potatoes. Not for Easter in particular, but standing at the sink, helping my grandmother mash, watching as the butter melted and she poured in milk.

We don't do that anymore. In fact, we can hardly make it through a meal without someone getting angry and saying hurtful things. Holidays are hard and I'm deeply grateful for the perpetual kindness of my friends. They love me and share their meals and holidays with me even when it feels like all I bring is a bottle of wine or a good pâté (and my killer personality, obvi).


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