Today is Blog Action Day 2011, a day where bloggers all over the world write a blog post on a topic that everyone has in common. This year, the theme is food.
I thought I would share a little bit about how my (rather large) extended family share food as part of our family celebrations – for birthdays, Christmas, Easter, and any other get-together in-between that we can find!
Most recently my mother celebrated her 50th birthday, and we had a fantastic (and huge) birthday celebration for her. My mother comes from a family of 9 children, and her parents both emigrated from Italy and met here in Australia. As such, every family gathering is a big deal, and is traditionally known for large amounts of food over 3-6 unofficial courses during the day.
We usually start with nibblies as people arrive, progressing to more substantial finger-food. For Christmas and Easter, we usually then have a pasta dish, then a main course – which depending on the celebration can be seafood, meats, a BBQ, etc. Then comes dessert (usually a meal in itself!), then coffee and tea and cheeses.
(For my mother’s birthday we didn’t have ‘main meals’ as such, but the general idea was still there!)
And for all that it sounds like a lot of food, we are talking a crowd of 35+ people when we think about siblings, partners and children (and their partners). And we range in age from 6 years old to 70+ years old.
We also try very hard not to let any food go to waste – leftovers are collected by different guests and become lunch or dinner for the next day.
In essence, food plays a very big part of the way my family celebrates together – everyone contributes something towards the meal, either by cooking it, or purchasing it. Everyone takes turn hosting events, everyone helps clean up, everyone helps serve.
One of my university lecturers – for Phys Ed and Health – once said something that has stuck with me every since. We’d just finished a series of lectures on teaching healthy eating and lifestyles for early education, and at the very end she added:
“One of the most important things to do to support good mental health is to share food – like birthday cakes – with others. Food eaten in celebration with others is not considered ‘bad’ food.”
That’s something that I agree with!
Some photos of the nibblies and desserts at Mum’s 50th!
How do you celebrate with food?
What is your favourite recipe or meal?