The holidays can be peculiar. There’s a lot going on and I’m often reminded about giving thanks in the most impromptu times of my culinary life.
The holidays are demanding, especially when your entertaining friends and family. One holiday experience resonates with me the most. The usual was occurring- I was creating a private dinner and the conversations at the dinner table were about politics, work and business. I was waiting for one more guest to arrive, a doctor who was running late due to surgery. He arrived, we served dinner and afterwards I asked the host if everything was alright? I noticed that she was not as full of joy and happiness, but rather solemn and reflective. She told me that the surgeon was a pre-natal surgeon and that he had been operating on an infant with brain cancer. The child pulled through, but as you can imagine, the conversations with the parents were challenging, adding to the fact that it was only a few days until Christmas.
My drive home that night was a reflective one. I couldn’t stop thinking about the parents, the newborn and their holiday season, sitting in a hospital, praying for their child to pull through. I often think about this story, and I reflect upon how simple life is and sometimes, how hard we make it.
We often search for senses that comfort us during trying times. Those senses are taste and smell. The holidays are filled with fragrances, flavors and aromas that bring back child hood memories. We reflect upon these foods and aromas especially during the holiday season. But how do we share those food memories with friends, families or our children? The answer is our traditional family recipes. I find that these are the best times to write down those old -hand me down recipes. Summon others in your family to your cause and put together a family cookbook, start a group dining experience, or invite a neighbor over. Take the time to teach your children your family traditions and share with them your happiest memories as a child during the holiday season. Food is a powerful smelling salt and it is amazing how smells can conjure up, the glory days. Don’t hesitate to gather friends and family together now! But chef, I don’t have any favorite recipes or awesome childhood recipes. Well then, it’s time to start fresh and leave a legacy! It’s the time of the year that we must give thanks for what we have.
We should always focus on the simple things in life, such as our health, our commitment to each other, friends, family, neighbors and the ability to wake up every morning to enjoy another day. The season for giving thanks should always be year-round.