Thursday, March 18, 2010

Food & Family Traditions

I hope you all had a great St. Patrick’s Day! Marley, did you pause from packing to celebrate?

So... you may have guessed that my family is part Irish. Yep! When I was a kid, every March 17th my dad used to make the soda bread, simmer the corned beef, and play Irish records. Mmm! It was quite the feast. And can’t you imagine my divorced papa with three little redhead girls all dancing around to “The Unicorn” sung by the Irish Rovers? It was a celebration that even a one-parent family could afford.

It’s funny how ingrained those food traditions become in our lives. And of course you know that the corned beef and soda bread are really Irish-American variations on food from the old country. I don’t even mind. For me, it’s more about associating the togetherness with the food. My dad always made time to celebrate with us and that meant more than having a fancy house or expensive clothes ever could.

Needing to complete the tradition yesterday, I had to bake soda bread, and I made a chicken version of the traditional supper with potatoes and cabbage. I had to. It’s too weird for me not to. It would be like the holiday never happened.

My traditional foods obsession isn't limited to St. Pat's Day. It crops up at Christmas (Dad’s Chesapeake Bay chowder), Thanksgiving (Grandma’s corn pudding), and birthdays. Seriously, it is not a true birthday unless there are strawberry-covered pancakes involved. I’ve even adopted Hanukkah food since my friend Jen invited me over for her yearly celebration. Now, there must be latkes in December.

I love cooking these foods for and with friends – it always tastes better when you share and you don’t get tempted to eat the whole batch, right? I've always loved cooking and I’ve put a teen cook in my new YA I’m writing. She’s sharing the love through her baking – that hits very close to home for me. It’s been really fun to describe the things she’s creating for her family. Maybe I should have her make soda bread??

How about you and your peeps? Do you get cravings for special holiday food? Do you have any fun holiday traditions that you share with your family?



Never Cry Werewolf – HarperTeen 2009

The Clearing – Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 04/2010

Wherever You Go – Harcourt 2011


TinaFerraro said...

Yes, your new heroine should bake soda bread! And add your little baking secrets. ;)

I am one of those people who finds cooking to be a necessary nuisance, but I do enjoy our Christmas eve tradition of salmon and fettuccine alfredo (which is our adapation of my husband's Italian family's Christmas eves).

Heather Davis said...

Ooh, yummy! That sounds so good, Tina.

Marley Gibson said...

Yeah for St. Patty's Day! And yes...the packing ceased long enough for us to pull up to an Irish pub (imagine finding one in Boston), and to get two seats at the bar for corned beef, cabbage, and some Irish stout! = )