Tuesday, January 14, 2020
Tradition! I don’t know if you’ve seen Fiddler on the Roof, but for Tevye, tradition is what keeps their lives safe and balanced. “Without our traditions,” he explains, “our lives would be as shaky as a fiddler on the roof.” Through the play or film, we watch as people turn aside from their traditions and, of course, their lives begin to tumble off that roof, although whether one led to the other or not could be a long discourse on its own.
So I’m kind of curious about your holidays. Do you hold onto the safe and secure? Do you always eat the same foods and follow the same patterns? Or do you make every year fresh and new? Or, like me, do you blend the two? Every year I make a new cookie or sweet. One I’ve never tried before. As you know our Yule dinner is a Danish Kolde Bord, or buffet. I try to make something new for that as well. But things just wouldn’t be the same without Rose’s sausage rolls (added when she married her Englishman), my Gravlox (thanks, Marcus Samuelsson!), or Al’s over-cooked beef (no comment)
I know a lot of people cling tightly to their traditions and I understand why. There is comfort in the known and the tried and true. There is a connectivity in passing along these things that you did as a child, that your mother did, and her mother did before her. There is something to be said for that string that binds us to the generations before and the generations to come.
My holiday would not be truly complete without Sand Tarts or Grandmother’s Cut-out cookies. Those are my childhood memories. The Gravlox? That was added at the turn of the century and now it’s a main-stay. Because everything changes, as we’ve noted before. But that change doesn’t have to mean cutting ourselves off completely from tradition. Maybe it just means being willing to try One. Little. Thing. After all, my grandchild has never seen a Kolde Bord without Gravlox! So what is new to me is tradition to them; it may be THE tradition they hold onto as they add their own over the years. Or maybe not. Only time will tell.