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Family and our perspective on life

I'm not an experienced cook, but I suspect each generation tinkers with family recipes that have been passed down. Sweet potato casseroles, cranberry sauces, pumpkin pies, stuffing - all the trimmings - each have variations.

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Sometimes the tinkering improves the dish. Sometimes, the original approach still works the best. The thing is, we get to decide which recipes - and which ingredients - we want to keep, change, update or toss.

When it comes to family and our perspective on life - including those dinner table hot topics, like religion and politics - we also get to decide which views still work for us and which ones we want to change, update or toss. The reality is, much goes into the Thanksgiving dinner - and it involves more than just measurements from a recipe index card. The other ingredients of family history - old wounds, joyful memories, past wrongs, life nurturing bonds, strained relationships, emotional currents and psychological weather patterns - are stirred up like old sediments beneath the surface of a pond. We bring all of these things to the holiday dining table.

This time of year, we consume things we normally don't - side dishes of unresolved resentment or the lingering pain of dormant feelings from the past - and it all gets piled onto the plate from the family menu that's been handed down from generation to generation.

So what do we do with this feast? For starters, we don't need to serve up dishes just because our grandparents did. We can swap out the old mashed potatoes for something new. We have the option to prepare the turkey differently - or he'll - order a pre-cooked turkey from the grocery store. Ok, the metaphor is a little loose, but you get the idea.

Let's not be afraid to toss past recipes that no longer work for us. This might not be an immediate transition. Perhaps it happens one dish at a time - or one meal at a time - but the feast can change if we are attentive to the choices we make with the menu. The feast may never be perfect, but we don't have to take a serving from a dish just because it's on the table. We can acknowledge the green jello mold with floating carrot pieces without eating any of it. And better yet, we get to decide which recipes we want to pass down to the next generation.

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Posted in Other Home Post Date 02/27/2017


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