Thursday, January 3, 2013

Traditions

I am not a superstitious person. However, I love traditions and adopt them at will when they suit me. That's why, year after year, we all get a new pair of pajamas Christmas Eve and read the childhood Christmas books. And on Christmas morning, make orange-glazed rolls and play the same Kingston Trio album as we open gifts. I've had to alter the schedule some, since my time with the kids shifts each year, but we celebrate, whether it's exactly on the day or not.

This New Year's the boys were with me and we stayed up together. They asked that I play Scrabble with them, and to my protest that I don't like board games said, "At least it's not Monopoly." This time, they got tired of the game before I did.  Perhaps because I was winning handily. My older son, feeling nostalgic, had us watch "The Secret of NIMH."  (Trivia: I read "Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH" in 4th grade. When it was made into an animated movie, the fine folks at Wham-O refused to let them use the name Frisby because it sounded too close to their own Frisbee.  Because who wouldn't mistake a cartoon field mouse for a plastic flying disk? They re-recorded and overdubbed to change the main character's name to Brisby.) At midnight, we toasted with champagne and went on to bed.  Where I stayed up way too late getting a start on my 2013 reading challenge.

And I tried to make a traditional Southern lucky New Year's Day meal - Hoppin' John (with brown rice and fresh black-eyed peas), cornbread, and greens. Each item represents wealth, but the greens smelled so awful cooking that I threw them into the trash outside and subbed in lettuce.  I should have known - when my mother used to cook collards or turnip greens I had to leave the house.  The genetic quirk that gave me the supertaster problem is not about to allow me to choke down bitter greens of any sort. My older son has it, too, and once told me, "Mom, they invented lettuce so people wouldn't have to eat cabbage."  I think he may be on to something. When a tradition isn't right for you, the only sane thing to do is let it go or to change it so that it fits.  And yes, that's also a metaphor.

46 comments:

  1. Damn those folks at Wham-O! My kids love the traditions too, whereas I'd like to change things up a bit.....must we have crack potatoes EVERY Christmas? And I've been suckered into making crepes for every Xmas eve breakfast for years now.

    I suppose that's what memories are made of. And what's with you not liking any board games?

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    1. My gripe is that I'm the keeper of all the traditions - the kids look to me to do the easter eggs and so on, while their Dad skates!

      And board games bore me.

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  2. A most happy year ahead to you, cs.

    How nice to spend New Year's Eve with your boys. I'm also a big fan of traditions, including holiday napkins for every occassion :-)

    Plenty of snow in my yard now and it will likely be so until march . :-( I am channeling a warm climate

    Love
    kj

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    1. So far only flurries here once. I sure am looking forward to Spring rolling around!

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  3. nice...we watched NIMH this year as well...great story....we had the beans and greens this year, sans cornbread or ham....cabbage is not my fav...ha

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  4. I have not had Hoppin John before, but your substitution makes sense to me. All the folks up this way are New Year's sauerkraut eaters.

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  5. "When a tradition isn't right for you, the only sane thing to do is let it go or to change it so that it fits."

    HA! I LOVE THAT!!!!

    Having lived in the south myself, I adore southern food - black-eyed peas, corn bread, and greens. There is something so utterly comforting about it. It's odd because I love collard and turnip greens, yet I can't stand brussels sprouts because I find them too bitter. Isn't that weird?

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    1. It's possible they have different bitter chemicals or the chemical in brussels sprouts is stronger? I don't know.

      The older I get, the more I feel free to make up my own rules.

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  6. We don't have any Christmas traditions except Christmas pudding, mince pies and a chess tournament. Not even turkey, as we're vegetarians. But I like the idea of reading childhood Christmas books. And it would be fun to re-read the other childhood books like Winnie the Pooh.

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    1. Ooh, I'd have a hard time I your house - you just listed three things I don't do!

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  7. I love Christmas traditions. I see a bottle of Samuel Adams beer in your photo - we got a real taste for that on our last trip to the States. ;)

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    1. I like this one - it's their Nobel Pils. Very hoppy.

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  8. The only tradition I've got left is Nollaig NaMban which is Women's or Little Christmas from the misty time of great grandmother and probably even further back. I enjoy it because it is not subject to seeing my children or grandchildren and involves community women no matter where I am.
    Adaptation!
    And if anyone has a great recipe for corn bread I would LOVE.
    I liked reading about your traditions.
    XO
    WWW

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    1. I wish I had a stronger community of women here.

      Sometime, when I have more time, I'll post a cornbread recipe. Don't be suckered in by ones that call for sugar. Cornbread is not meant to be sweet.

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  9. I love the comfort that traditions provide and appreciate the fact that with a change here and there they can go on as our families grow.

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    1. Yes, they have to change because people change.

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  10. Now I'll have Chaim Topol singing all day in my head. Guess there's worse. I put the collard greens into the black-eyed peas, with a ton of garlic, and a few thai chili's for fun.

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    1. I have no idea who that is!

      Doesn't matter what you put in collards, for me they are inedible.

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    2. Oh, wait, Fiddler on the Roof, right?

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    3. Yep.
      Cornbread....My buddy down the street makes the best I've ever had. He grinds his own corn flour and wheat flour, and bakes it in a cast iron skillet. No sugar, but he does throw in some anaheim chili's, these green flecks in the final product.

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    4. I'm kind of a traditionalist when it comes to cornbread. I like the buttermilk variety, no additions of any sort. With butter.

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  11. I love traditions, but sometimes we do need to let them go, especially as the kids get older and some just don't seem to work like they used to in days long gone by. I have never had greens, not even sure what they are, but it is something I think I'll avoid and not make a tradition :)

    betty

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    1. I mostly let the kids be the guide - they let me know which traditions are important to them.

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  12. We have a few traditions which the kids seem to love more as they have become adults. Big steaks on the grill for Christmas Eve is one of the favorites. But we also try neew things, and that way we have found other favorites. Now that there are jobs, in-law families (I suppose that they have to see the kids, too.... :) ) and grandchildren, our little family traditions are subject to change each year. Just so that I get to see them at some point, and the prize is if they are all in one spot at some time over the holidays.

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    1. I can flex on nearly any tradition, honestly. I mostly like it that the kdis want to continue them.

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  13. I don't have a great many traditions, but the ones I do have I GUARD fiercly. Yours are just charming! Adore! Happy New Year to you and yours.

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    1. One Easter, my kids made me cards and my older son drew a picture of them hunting eggs and write something about being thankful that I still hid the eggs for them every year, even though they knew all the hiding places. :-)

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  14. Mmmm... Happy New Year to you! and Mr. Samuel Adams.

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  15. all traditions had to start new at one time. You have the right approach I believe. Thanks for showing the beer - now that's an old traditional drink.

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    1. 7000 + years of beer - sounds like an old traditional drink to me!

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  16. Happy New Year Doc.
    The Countess of Cuisine....G

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  17. Oh shoot! I forgot to eat black eyed peas on New Years day. I even made a soup ahead of time that I put in the freezer for that purpose, since my Yankee husband and children wont eat them with me. Oh well. I'll do it next year.

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    1. Surely you aren't going to save the soup for a year? And who says it HAS to be New Year's day?

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  18. I think traditions are important, especially because our children will continue to carry them on. I don't have a lot of them but the ones I do are important to me. I do love playing Scrabble. (Monopoly takes too long) I've never made Hoppin' John but need to try it next year. Must mark my calendar. I think change is good. Green can really smell up the house!

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    1. I like a nice balance between change and tradition.

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  19. the squirrel stew my husband made had cabbage in it. the whole house reeked. i've never had collards but i do like kale if it's done certain ways. are they similar?

    as for traditions i have none regarding new years....but i like your advice.

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    1. I think collards are particularly noxious, but that's just me.

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  20. I've never heard of this tradition but seriously, why not? I can't think of a better way to start the new year. Sounds delicious.

    Happy New Year to you and your family!

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  21. I love your tradition and we do celebrate Christmas too! I think it doesn't matter if it is on same day as long as family together.

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  22. Oh my, the World is small. I laughed about you saying you don't like baord games. Me neither. However, I managed to even play scrabble over the holiday period and enjoyed it. Sounds like you had a great time with your sons.

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