Food has always been an important part of my family. Between the dinner parties and teaching children how to cook – we are food people.
Christmas morning was always fun and full of food. After presents were open, my mom would take me and my two cousins into the kitchen to cook breakfast for everyone. We would make the entire fixings of eggs, hash browns, bacon, pancakes, and toast, we were also responsible for making fresh squeezed orange juice and pouring the coffee. There was always a huge mess, lots of laughs, and sometimes some burnt breakfast, but it was always so much fun. It was nice to be given a chance to cook for our parents for a change.
July is the month with all of the birthdays and family get togethers in my family. During our annual ping pong tournament, we have an ice cream bar. That ice cream bar was full of different types of ice cream, syrups, toppings, and candy. It was a cavity in a bowl – but delicious!
My cousin Joanie (who was old enough to be my grandmother) used to throw a huge family party every July. There were so many kids (all of whom were hungry) and Joanie used to fill her entire dinning room table of snacks that our parents would never let us have. Between sodas and all of the appetizers (mozerella sticks, taquitos, nachos), to the desserts (cookies, brownies, cakes, candies – you name it) – us kids had a lot to eat. Plus, she always had the Costco size of everything and we used to have to travel all over the house to get it for her (There wasn’t enough room in the fridge so some of it is in the garage. The pantry was full so it was in the box in the closet, etc.). Her house was the house that every kid wanted to be in because of all of the treats.
Then there is the bad food in the family… I love to listen to the stories of the old family dinners every Sunday at my grandparents’ house. My grandmother was known for overcooking nearly everything she made and for making sure that everyone ate what was put in front of them. Her food was notorious for being disgusting and family members went to desperate measures to avoid it.
It was well known to everyone (but my grandmother) that my grandfather was even in on avoiding the food – he used to say that a family friend was having some sort of house emergency (the toilet overflowed, the sink is leaking, the fridge stopped working, etc) so he could leave. In reality, he was buying hot dogs from a fast food place for everyone. Then, in small groups of two or three, everyone would make an excuse to go outside. They would eat down the block, behind the garage, in the car – anywhere my grandmother couldn’t see them.
Either way, food has always been something that brought us together – whether to sneak food, cook it, or enjoy it.