Today is my daughter's birthday. As I prepared what is one of her favorite meals, it brought back memories of all of those loved ones who have been in my life. My potato soup (my famous potato soup if you ask my daughter) is the meal. As I cut up the potatoes I am reminded of my grandmother who always criticized the size I cut up the potatoes. My usual response was to ask her to leave the kitchen, a cook doesn't need a back seat driver. And my mom, who always complains I make too much (though we have never ever had to throw any out).
The soup isn't just a favorite of my daughter's. My late great Uncle Bill Sedore would always ask for a bowl. My brother asks me to make it when he comes home. It is part of our family memories.
Just last week when I prepared some of the things we always bake each year, it is my grandmother's handwriting on the recipe cards. The things I make each year with my daughter are the same things my grandmother made with me. I still recall how excited I was to help her each year, and the same thing happens with my daughter. I told her that one day she would make these same things with her daughter, and she would be teaching her daughter the same things that my grandmother and my great grandmother taught me.
There are certain meals in my family that I can't help but think of one of them. New England Boiled Dinner (my daughter's other favorite meal), was something I watched both my grandmother and her mother make every year. Every time we have these meals, once again, I am brought back to my childhood. When I brave my great grandmother's sour braten again (and I am not sure when that will be), I will picture her in the kitchen all day, apron on, cooking this meal which was only for special occasions.
When we decorated our tree, it is full of ornaments that were on my grandmother's tree. Each year, I tell my daughter about some of these ornaments. She may grow tired of the story now, but I envision a time when they are on her tree, and she is telling this story to her children.
Having been accused of caring more for the dead than my living family (an accusation I totally do not agree with), I have to recognize that yes, so much of my life is tied up with past generations. I don't really think that makes you care less for the living though. I really hope that all of those who read my blog look at their traditions, both the old, and the new ones we develop as we live our lives. Pass on the history. It is more than just names on a piece of paper.