There’s definitely a strong bond between tradition and holidays. But it has to be said that in my family, our version of traditional, especially with our food, is all our own. This year on Thanksgiving, probably the most traditional when it comes to the meal, we tried to do just that. Odd I know, but we never have turkey and well, I think we’re the only Jews who never eat brisket…for anything. No, we like to change things up and have new items every year. We do keep some staples around, like homemade gravlox on Passover, but I assure you, it is tradition to no one else’s family but mine.
I am the only one in the family who officially went to culinary school but anyone who knows my family, knows one thing, we can cook! I think I learned more from cooking with my mom, aunt and grandma, than I ever did in culinary school. And to me, this holiday cooking is the most important cooking lessons of them all. It’s very important to me to be able to keep up in the future the family’s non-traditional traditions.
Like this year, when we succeeded in our semi-traditional Thanksgiving. Okay okay, we still didn’t have turkey…we had duck. Yeah, we’re fancy. But I promise, the side dishes (the most important part of the Thanksgiving meal anyway) were totally “American family” traditional.
We had some roasted potatoes with sage and bacon, my chorizo stuffing with dried fruit, an oh-so-traditional green bean casserole with French fried onions and yes, even the good ole sweet potato casserole with marshmallows…which my dad has been wishing for for 30 years. I finally convinced my mom to let me make it. Wish granted!
So everyone was happy and we managed to have a somewhat traditional Thanksgiving meal…for us, at least. But, all things aside, I have a sneaking suspicion that our food will always be a bit more complex and gourmet than the normal holiday fare. And I wouldn’t want it any other way.