Family traditions don’t always have rhyme or reason. Maybe Wednesday night is pizza night and you order two kinds of pizza: cheese for you and pepperoni for your family (which includes the dog because he eats the crust). Chances are you’ve had food traditions throughout life: stopping for ice cream on trips to your grandparents’ house, Sunday morning breakfasts with college roommates, annual mother-son trips to the mall for school clothes topped off with lunch at your favorite Asian restaurant. Or maybe it’s a holiday at home, where every year, siblings, parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends gather for a celebration packed full of fun, festivity, and food.
A chance to get together and celebrate
Few things bring people together like good food. At some point in life, food traditions happen — often spontaneously. Like that lunch with coworkers that everyone enjoyed so much it turned into a monthly thing. Food traditions help us celebrate what we love, such as tailgating with friends before our favorite team takes the field or baking cookies for Santa during the holidays. Traditions give us something to look forward to, and they remind us to be grateful.
Traditions also promote a sense of community and stability in a fast-paced and often confusing world. No matter how chaotic things get, there’s something anchoring about Wednesday night pizza with the family. Even when a food tradition ends, we usually look back on those shared moments with warmth and affection. When getting together with old friends, we often laugh over “remember when” moments involving food-related fun.
Give the next generation more than just a recipe
Food traditions weave themselves into the fabric of society and culture. Family gatherings, which almost always revolve around food, provide a chance for one generation to pass on customs, values, and morals to the next. Through these learning experiences, we discover where we came from, which has a lot to do with how we evolve as individuals.
When you were little, spending time in the kitchen with your grandmother taught you how to roll dough for pizza or maybe it was the first time your mom taught you to make the perfect cup of coffee. When you go to recreate these traditions with your own family they take on new meaning because these moments are always good-humored and fun.
Life without food traditions would be lacking an important ingredient. Take the time to plan a holiday dinner with friends, lunch with a girlfriend, and red velvet cake with vanilla ice cream on your birthday. As we get older, you will begin to create new traditions to pass to your children, and your children to theirs.