What’s the deal with comfort food?
I think many of us have rallied around food for comfort in 2020. It seems most conversations I have with loved ones this year include virtual work/school accommodations, updates on protocol from frontline workers, and the current food obsession. Some people may think it unhealthy how food represents comfort; however, it is a necessity for life and, one may argue, a thriving life.
This holiday season, it’s not surprising that I’m longing for tradition. Like so many, being forced to altering tradition due to the pandemic is disappointing and frustrating. Although I haven’t been able to bake for my extended family, baking for YOU through Sabbatical Vibrations Bakery has filled a void. I would normally bring two or three pies to thanksgiving; instead, I was fortunate to make 80 mini galettes for customers. Similarly, instead of sharing treats with family that traveled near and far, there was comfort in baking nearly 1000 cookies for the bakery. Food traditions slightly (or significantly) altered, can be comforting.
Food connects us; it sustains life for the body and soul.
Sharing stories of food traditions
A while back I asked blog readers to share their food stories with Sabbatical Vibrations. Following are stories shared, which I thought may invoke your own memories of food traditions.
Before I was married we didn’t have potluck meals in my family. My Mom did all the grocery shopping, meal prep, and making the table a banquet for her loved ones, both family and friends. She taught me the gift of hospitality and cooking for large groups.
Once I became a part of the Trebesch family, I learned the art of potluck where each family member had a special recipe for a special dish to share. It made family gatherings easier to know that Auntie Shirley was making taco salad, Auntie Lois was making something with cool whip and pudding and Auntie Mary Lou made her ever changing pasta salad recipe.
That may be why when we get together now we each bring something to add to the meal. I love the group preparation, the family conversations while making something delicious to share, and the finished product.
Our recipes tend to be called Highfill meatballs, Auntie Mona’s Sloppy Joes, Steve’s Mom’s dressing, or Matt’s favorite salad. Each name brings anticipation of a well loved food as well as favorite memories when when have shared the dish in the past.
We are people who love to eat. But we also must remember, our family culture and traditions feed our souls.
Another reader shares a favorite Christmas tradition. Alison writes:
My food tradition story is about a dish my extended family shares at Christmas time. The first course of our Christmas meal is always Risengrod, which is Danish rice pudding. It is a very simple dish made from only rice and milk – but you can sweeten it up with a little bit of sugar, cinnamon, and/or butter.
Everyone gets served a pre-scooped dish of the rice pudding….but one of the dishes contains a secret! An almond is hidden in at the bottom of one of the rice pudding cups. Whoever eats their Risengrod to the bottom of the cup and finds the Almond wins a special prize….usually just a silly white elephant gift.
Lot of laughs have been shared about this tradition. Even though the placement of the almond is completely random, there are a few family members who seem to get it more than others 🤔 and there was even a time or two when a family member smuggled in an almond and planted it in their own cup!
I don’t know how this tradition began but it’s always a favorite part of Christmas time that unites our family and creates many happy memories.
Sharing your traditions
Thank you to Mona and Alison for sharing their stories with us. I am all ears if you have a story you’d like to share.
Story sharing is one of our values at Sabbatical Vibrations. We value the pricelessness of story sharing. Exchanging stories gives meaning to life, fosters belonging, connects the past to the present, and gives hope for the future.
In the meantime, Happy Holidays and cheers to health, comfort, and tradition!
We had a family recipe that we know nothing of its history or why it was even created. It’s called Beggar Nuts. It makes you think about some sort of roasted holiday nuts roasted with spices and well that couldn’t be farther from the truth! So we believe that the recipe could have originated during the Great Depression due to ingredients that would have been difficult to acquire. We also think that the recipe was created by Great Grandma Serena Larsen. One small thing to note is the spelling of the name Larsen, it’s Danish specifically and also the seventh most common surname in Denmark. Larson, is also Scandinavian but not as specific in its origins. Ok, enough with the history lesson. Grandma Serena made Beggar Nuts from the following ingredients: Flour, sugar, heavy cream, butter, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger and cloves. The dough would be mixed all together and then it was separated into 5-6 cookie sheets with wax paper and then frozen. Then after freezing it is then cut into squares and placed into the oven to be baked and roasted on the cookie sheet for about an hour. It’s a tedious task, but let me tell you so worth the work. Out of all of the grandchildren of Grandma Serena’s my mom Linda took on the task of creating this unique treat. But sadly my mom is no longer with us and now the recipe is in my hands to be passed onto other generations. We have done much research to find out where the recipe could have hailed from, but still no answers have been found. Every year my mom would bestow the gift of Beggar Nuts to the family, and it was appreciated by all. This year I am sad to say has not been kind to all of us, but traditions like baking a family recipe has lightened the hearts of many. I hope to all that you’re able to continue to honor those who were loved and now longer with us but watching from the heavens above.
Jennie – What a wonderful tradition! I’d love to try these Beggar Nuts sometime. Sounds Yummy!