New Holiday Rituals

Posted by on Dec 13, 2012 in Events, Featured, Uncategorized | Comments Off on New Holiday Rituals

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The prospect of holidays can be dismal for some of us. Especially when we’ve lost someone near and dear to us. This is the situation facing my family and I as we head into December without mom.

Our holiday season starts on December 19th which marks the day of the family’s patron saint, St. Nicholas (following the Julian calendar) and it continues through until Christmas Day on January 7th (One could count it even further to the new year marked on the 14th of January). Quite honestly , the holidays always ran a tad overlong for me.

I did, however, enjoy cooking with mom and preparing the feast for St. Nicholas as it was a (mostly – fish being permitted) vegan occasion. It began with brainstorming what we wanted to cook as in later years she was quite open to trying new dishes (yay!) instead of simply eliminating the meat and dairy from the usual fare (thereby eliciting complaints and feelings of deprivation from the carnivorous food critics in the clan). Think baked beans and cabbage rolls minus the greasy pork that most claimed was the necessary, and missing, piece.

Last year, mom and I left dad at home and did all of our grocery shopping, just the two of us. And for the first time, because she was in pain, she allowed me to do much of the work. When it came time for the meal, she actually sat down with all who had come to join us. This was a first, that she didn’t hover and keep filling plates, and keep working to feed all of her guests. It’s how we all saw that she really wasn’t doing well and that in likelihood she wouldn’t be around next year.

And here we are.

As I spent the time with her last year, I felt this would be the last time for us and I felt driven to promise silently that I would continue this tradition of cooking on this day and honouring the spirit of her patron saint, whose spirit is one of spreading kindness and generosity. And so, facing the holidays without her, I feel the need to create new rituals to honour and remember her.

My sisters and I will gather and craft a simple yet nourishing and inspired meal. We’ll probably make the baked beans, maybe there will be some fish. The key piece will be the cabbage rolls. Mom was an intuitive cook and liked to be spontaneous and in doing so was capable of crafting some truly delicious dishes (and then never be able to recreate them because she couldn’t remember all that had gone into them!). In that spirit, the cabbage rolls will be made and brought to Source Centre to share with all who come. Alongside some other nibbles, apple cider and more.

I hope you will be able to join us and share a toast this holiday season.

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