As this new year approaches, you hear over and over again…”it’s out with the old, and in with the new.” This is usually good but sometimes the “old” and it’s traditions are time-tested and true. For instance in the two areas that I specialize in, food and relationships, traditions are very good. How do I mean?
Let’s go with food first. The “old” foods were natural, unprocessed and WAY better for us. There are strong sentiments, emotions and history surrounding our “old” foods. Every family has them. I’m sure you can think of a few now.
For me, we had a strong Polish heritage so many of my families traditional foods came from the “old country”. There was always babka, kielbasa, pierogies (Don’t you dare think of Mrs. T’s. That’s blasphemy!), Golomki, and Chrusciki. Many of these my generation is happily attempting to try to perfect. ( I have a batch of pierogies started now.) And you know why? Because the holidays aren’t real without them. Because we love that we have that deep-rooted sense of who we are through traditional foods from the “old country”. It’s comforting and delicious. More importantly perhaps, there is something that connects us all through these precious foods we can’t imagine giving up. (Often despite the grueling work to recreate them.)
Ok you got the food part. You totally see it. How about with relationships? I mean, haven’t we as men and women completely changed? Moved away from traditional gender roles? And we all know about the old..I mean it is OLD for a reason.
All of this is true and I’m an advocate for the new ways we find love, the new roles of genders and definitely leaving old flames in the past. But lets not throw the baby out with the bath water! ( It seemed appropriate to use an “old” saying, even though it’s quite a terrible thought when taken literally.)
There are traditions in relationships, and traditional values and rules that should still be followed today. No matter how independent and completely capable we are as women, we still want the man to take a head-of-household role. This means that he should have a spine and be able to lead, make decisions, have a decent income. This does NOT mean he is ok with the woman acting as his mom, tries to dominate the household and create complete submission from the woman, or is not at least able to support himself living on his own. (You are not supporting yourself if you are living with ANY relative or roommates.) And for the women-this means no matter how commanding you are, how much money you are making or how powerful you are in the work place, you better be able to put that behind you at home. No self-respecting man wants a woman directing them around the house, it’s emasculating. They want someone who can still be feminine and have that soft, caring side that we women are known for. (Do you want a partner in life or another employee?)
Other dating traditions that hold true…men open doors, get the coat, pick up the check, plan the date. Ladies-take a deep breath and relax, let him take charge, make yourself look pretty and feminine, act like a lady.
Some times you create your own traditions, and who knows how long they’ll last? Some day someone who has never even met you may call it an “old” tradition. Our family started one, not from the “old” country, and not really my normal health-filled recipe, but it is a tradition now and we can’t imagine a Christmas without them. They may look totally bizarre but people LOVE them.
1 bag of butterscotch chips
1 bag of mini marshmallows
1 and a half bags of chinese chow mein noodles
2 cps smooth peanut butter
Place butterscotch chips and peanut butter into a very large bowl and microwave for 3 minutes at a time. (we used to do this on the stove if that helps you think of it as tradition worthy?) Stir and reheat until all the chips have melted. (I sometimes add more peanut butter if it seems necessary. I go by taste.) Add in chow mein noodles and stir until well coated. Once slightly cooled, stir in mini marshmallows. (You do not want them to completely melt into the cookie mixture) Quickly drop clumps of the odd mixture onto wax paper and then leave to harden. (You may put them in the refrigerator for faster drying)
Enjoy the memories of 2010 and be filled with excitement for 2011. Love our good traditions and don’t be afraid to create new ones. Happy New Year everyone!!
Mary is a professional matchmaker and self-taught cook. Her experiences and professionally earned skills have helped her to be able to read people, realize what they want and find it for them, in all areas of their life. She has a natural ability to put together people and flavors, creating “wholey experiences”!