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PaulSloth

Hi, I'm Paul Sloth

I work in Outpost’s marketing department. I like to use what skills I have to spread the word about Outpost Natural Foods. On the greatest of days, this involves trudging through a farm talking with one of our many vendors. On really good days, this...
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Paul Sloth

The gift of a good meal

In the Aisles
By Paul Sloth on December 23, 2011

 

It’s getting harder to remember things from my childhood. It could be that I’m getting older. Maybe I’m too busy trying to help create memories for my own child that I don’t have the luxury of sitting around thinking about the time when I was her age. But it’s hard not to reflect at this time of year.

My family’s Christmas celebration is one of the few traditions I can remember from my childhood. More importantly, our Christmas Eve meal is what I remember the most. When my dad left Denmark as a young man, he didn’t look back. He arrived in this country and embraced everything about America, its customs and its traditions.

Fortunately, my parents made a point to create their own version of a traditional Danish Christmas Eve meal that we ate every year: roast duck, potatoes, red cabbage and rum pudding (my mother didn’t like rice pudding). Maybe this meal reminded my dad of his childhood. I never asked why we did things this way. It was just our custom.

Every year, we did the same thing. We went to church at 5 p.m. while our mom stayed home and prepared the meal. I can still remember the way the house smelled when we got home. We sat down at the table. We ate. Then we had dessert. One dish of pudding had an almond in it. Whoever had the almond received a special gift. Then we opened presents. Finally, we went to the midnight service at church. Every year, we did this, until my mom got sick. That’s when things changed.

I can’t remember the last time I had duck for Christmas. It was probably the year before my mom died. Christmas can be tough. It’s not easy conjuring up those memories, but it’s too hard to forget. The nice thing about those memories is that at the heart of it is a meal, prepared by someone I loved for someone I love. It was a gift that my mom gave to my dad. It was a gift that our family gave to itself every year, whether we thought of it that way.

Sure, we don’t eat duck anymore on Christmas Eve, but we’ll always have the memory of that meal, shared at the same time every year. That’s the wonderful thing about food. You can forget a lot, but you can always remember a good meal.

Comments

Thanks for the memories. Posted by: Maren | December 23 at 9:44 PM

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