A great family tradition of “Are you going to finish that?”
When I saw that our first assignment was to write about a family tradition, my insides (in particular, my gallbladder.....I have no idea why) said, “holy schnikees.” Because I've never really had what are typically considered family traditions. I grew up in Brooklyn, NY, in a family that would order Chinese food for dinner and then eat it in separate rooms. We love each other like crazy, but we won't be handing down the “traditional family undergarments”.........or whatever it is that traditional people pass down.....any time soon. Traditions aren't something that we ever spent much time cultivating. We were too busy a) watching 80's sitcoms, b) cheering anything where a score was kept and a winner declared, and c) trying not to get mugged (Brooklyn, remember?).
Image via Wikipedia
“Hey, Dad! What are you watching?”
“Someone's going to win this thing!”
“Move over. I'M IN.”
So given my background, I went with what came into my mind first when I thought of the word, “tradition.” And that is, of course, the song “Tradition” from Fiddler on the Roof. Am I right, people?.........People?........ Anybody? Hm. Oooooooookie dokie, then let's move on to my second thought, which was, “holidays.”
Yes, that's it. When I think of traditions, I think (after Jewish musicals) of holidays. And when I think of holidays in my family, I think of Thanksgiving and Christmas. I would include Easter, but one Easter during my pre-teen years my mom came downstairs to where my sister and I were watching TV, tossed some candy bars down in front of us and said, “There. Happy Easter. Do you like my new hat? I made it myself.......out of a man-sized bunny.” Sorry – it's possible that I made up that last part about my mother skinning the Easter bunny. The point is, there were no more Easters for us after that.
In my family, Thanksgiving and Christmas have one thing in common – the menu. Year after year, we have the exact same meal for Thanksgiving and Christmas. The fact that our only tradition is about food is very fitting for my family. We enjoy ourselves a meal, we Norfolks (that's my unmarried lady name). Some people sit together and reminisce about trips they've taken, or significant experiences they've had. My family waxes nostalgic about past meals we've shared. But not the sharing part. Mostly just the meal part.
“Remember that pasta with the shrimp I used to have at Cucina?”
“God, yes......and then we'd have those Napoleans for dessert with the raspberries and bananas......”
“Yeah....those were great. Hey, when is Mom's birthday, again?”
“Eh, who knows.”
That's how we roll. And speaking of rolls (oh yes, I did), what is on our bi-annual menu? Turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, rolls (there it is), cranberry sauce (the jelly kind, shaken out of a can and cut along the ridges), sweet potato pie, Waldorf salad (for my dad, while he was alive), and jello salad (for me and my mom, until we are dead).
“What the *hurp* is jello salad?” Well, I am so glad you asked. Here's what you're going to need: lime jello, walnuts, pineapple chunks, and cream cheese. And here's what you do: mix it all together so that each individual walnut, pineapple chunk, and schmear of cream cheese is encased separately and yet together in a sweet but sour lime jello coffin. IT. IS. DELICIOUS. No, for serious. It is. My two sisters disagree with me on that, but let's be honest – they are troubled women. Am I right, Internet?! So even though we make it every year, only my mom and I eat it. And while the old woman could go any day, I am in this for DECADES, Y'ALL. Bring on my jello salad and bring it CORRECT!
I always thought that our traditional Norfolk Nausea Salad was unique, but shockingly, my husband's family has a similarly maligned recipe that is a tradition in their family. Ever heard of Candlestick Salad?
Image from Wikipedia
Oh yeah........drink it in, people. Ever seen a dessert that looks more like someone used fruit to explain the process of conception? If you say yes, then you – sir or madam – are a liar.
So, to sum up: my family traditions are food, nausea, and sexual innuendo. Did I mention that we once spent most of a Thanksgiving dinner discussing beastiality? Yeah........TRADITION!
From the Judges:
I think that people overlook how often food brings them together. I love how you mentioned this. I love the overall post, but to me, it didn't seem to flow well. It felt kind of jumpy. It's written in a very conversational style, which isn't bad at all. But there were several areas that I had to go back and re-read, because it kind of threw me for a loop and I didn't understand what you were trying to get across. One thing I would do, if conversational writing is your style, is to actually read the post out loud when you are done writing it. It really helps a lot to improve the flow of things. On a totally separate note (and this is something I didn't even know until recently), there is actually a 'proper' way to use '...' and that is that there should only be three. I'm not holding that against you though, because I don't think many people know that, and I certainly didn't (that you Microsoft word), so I don't expect you to either.
Food is a great tradition. My food traditions are we go to my Mother in Laws and wait three hours for Matzo Ball soup then another hour for brisket. By two in the morning the kids are crying and she is trying to shove chocolate cake down their throats. It's fun, really. Anyway, there was some flow issues. I see a lot of people do this where they start talking about one thing and then they veer off on a tangent before they eventually get back what they were originally talking about. Most of the time that just bugs me. If you or I were talking to each other I might not have a problem with it, but it gets hard to read sometimes. Almost makes me have to re-read things just to figure out what you were saying, I shouldn't have to do that with a blog post. Maybe it's just my Mancold talking. And all of those '...' they don't bother me.................... I use them all the time.
-Daddy's in Charge?
Nice job! One of the tasks for this assignment was to try and help us get to know you, and I fell like you did that really well. I think I got a pretty good feel for who you are because the post reads like you were just talking to me. And I like that.
You also have a very quirky sense of humor (not in a bad way!) that comes across in this post. Your honesty (genuineness? openness?) makes me want to keep reading.
And...I'm glad to have found someone who *might* use more parentheses in their writing than I do (just maybe).
-The Spaghetti Westerner
Food is always something that brings people closer to each other. I know because my family loves eating!
I don't usually like it when a writer opens a post by introducing the task or the purpose for it. It gives me the impression that the writer is at a loss for words or ideas (or maybe that's just me when I just really need to publish something on my blog). But I like how you were able to help us get to know you better.
-Bay Area Mommy
While I agree that it felt a bit scattered, this was one of my favorite posts. It might just be that I appreciate your brand of humor. I also learned a lot about you without you coming right out and making statements about yourself. Clever writing.
Now, about those ellipses... I am a stickler for those, and I use them a lot. There are a few syntax errors, but I thought they were easily overlooked in light of your storytelling and voice.
-From the Bungalow
I agree with the others in that it was a bit scattered, but I can imagine that if you and I were sitting in a room together, this is how the conversation would go. Not because you are a scatterbrain, but because this is just how our conversation would progress :) I enjoyed this post, and the talk of food, and sexual innuendos.
Oh, and I am guilty of ellipse overuse as well.
-You Know It Happens At Your House Too (Guest Judge)