I am very cognizant of the fact that I want my kids to look back on their childhood and have a smile slowly spread across their face when they think of it. The whole thing. I want them to have all sorts of memories and fondness for things we’ve done or shared together. Moments, big and small, thread together to create one big happy life. Of course not every moment is going to be happy, but when they look back on those trying times, they can reflect on how we handled it, together, as a family.
When Nick and Madeline have their own families, I want them to look back on some of the favorite things we shared and weave them into their own family traditions.
A lot of what I know will become favorite memories centers on food at our table. And I use the word “table” loosely … for it is wherever we gather together to break bread as a family, whether it be the little table in the kitchen that used to be in Nick’s room when he was Madeline’s age, the dining room table that their Dad and I bought for our second house, the scratched up but well loved coffee table in the living room that opens up to reveal something much larger, the steps outside our front door, and even my bed, where we sometimes share a spontaneous movie night with food spread onto trays on our laps.
The fact that Nick will request to have his birthday dinner at home, as opposed to the restaurant of his choice, says it all.
As far as my own childhood food memories, one of the strongest is of this Italian Meat Pie that my Mom makes every year for Easter. A tradition for as long as I can remember, it’s something that we look forward to every year. It requires a few hours worth of work, and is sinfully decadent in a egg, cheese, pepperoni, salami overload kind of way.
This past year, my Mom invited Nick into the secret society of Italian Meat Pie makers, and they spent Good Friday afternoon rolling, measuring, mixing, and baking away. She was happy to have a helper. He was thrilled to be that helper.
And more food memories were created.