The tradition I carry on is making sure my kids understand the value and importance of good, wholesome food and where it comes from. I grew up in household where entertainment and events were focused around food. My mom, a full-time stay-at-home mom, spent about 75% of her time in the kitchen, preparing meals, perusing one of her many cookbooks or cooking magazines or the Chicago Tribune Food section, planning for the next big event she was to host (which could be anything from dinner for our family of five to having a large contingent of our family over for the holidays). She was patient with me as she taught me the basics, and let me make my own mistakes when I branched out on my own and attempted to host my own special dinner parties before I knew how to properly boil noodles or roll out a pie crust. Dinnertime was the only time my family would convene as one; its importance and value was silently understood. I have so many good memories around food and togetherness and for that I am so grateful. This is a tradition that I am carrying on with my own family of four, although admittedly I’ve had some missteps. I wasn’t always patient with my kids when they were younger and got into everything in the kitchen. We certainly didn’t have the opportunity to sit down together for dinner every night before March 2020, when our schedules were so busy somebody was always coming while somebody else was going. But this past year has given me some time to reflect on the value of family dinners and family time in the kitchen. There may have been some broken space in my carrying on of the tradition but, from here on out, I intend to move the timeline forward without lapses.

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