We have our share of mealtime battles, but yogurt-wise, we’d enjoyed a quiet innocence, a simplicity of pure, unadulterated yogurt. So why, why, did I pick that first box of yogurt tubes from the grocery store shelf?
The shift I seek during long, cold January will eventually arrive. The kids will grow. The earth will tilt. Green will sprout from garden beds and flourish into bitter-sweet salads in our coldframe and on our table. And someday, my kids will eat them.
Can tradition be transplanted across oceans, seasons, and generations? Can immigrant and expat families uphold tradition when surrounded by vastly different foods and cultures? What, in the end, makes tradition so meaningful?
As summer falls into darkness, the Celts believed spirits could pass into our world. They etched faces into vegetables – usually turnips – to welcome deceased relatives and ward off malevolent forces. Irish immigrants to the US and Canada used pumpkins, easier to carve and native to the continent, for the same purpose. Of course, even before trick-or-treating and jack-o’-lanterns, pumpkins and many other winter squash adorned North American hearths and tables at harvest time. Which brings me to this month’s theme: squash.
My kids are not stew fans — too many foods touching each other. All three boys, however, chopped the vegetables with swash-buckling vengeance. Once bubbling on the stove, our stew smelled dark and delicious. Come dinnertime, predictably, no one would try it except Steve, my husband, who pronounced molasses stew the best he’d ever tasted.
Yes, your food columnist christened her new kitchen with that old Kraft standby — and ketchup. In retrospect, I think this humble meal an appropriate launch to my new culinary and literary venture. Fluorescent mac and cheese pervaded my youth and student days, and to me represents all that’s right and wrong about our North American diet. Meal-in-a-box also reminds me that I stake no moral high ground in food-and-family department.