In this week’s post, guest blogger Beth Adams asks the question: What’s a special part of your family’s identity? Here’s what she has to say about family traditions.
If you ask my mom to bring something to a potluck, she’ll bring dessert, which will probably be a chocolate pound cake: rich, dense, and frosted with thick chocolate icing. In preparation, she’ll get out the cake cookbook, flip to the most worn page, and scan down to the last recipe, marked by “so good—like Mom’s” in pencil. But baking means more than just cakes. New neighbors receive fresh loaves of bread, and the first day of school means streusel coffeecake for breakfast. Maybe it’s part of Southern culture that we picked up in our borderline state of Kentucky, but baked goods have almost become a love language in our family. In our hectic lives, however, something as time-consuming as baking a cake may seem impossible. Instead, perhaps your family loves hiking or seeing the latest movie together. Traditions like these are part of what bonds a family together.
Find out what you and your family love. For my family, it’s baking. My sisters and I have inherited my mom’s knack for baking and the love that it conveys. For my mom’s birthday one year, we baked an Italian Cream Cake—her favorite. Four-layers tall, smothered in cream cheese icing, walnuts, and coconut, we thought it a masterpiece. It actually tasted pretty good, but we had more fun baking it and presenting it to mom than eating it.
Pass down traditions. My mom taught me how to bake, observing as I measured flour for pancakes, showing me how to use the flat edge of a butter knife to achieve a perfectly smooth cup. Mom knows the pancake recipe by memory, stored away with chocolate sheet cake and no-bake cookie recipes. I used to help her make her famous chocolate cake; I’d mix while she measured. Once I could read a recipe and didn’t need a stool to reach the mixing bowl, we developed a different routine. Now, I bake the cake—all by myself—and Mom makes the icing.
Share your tradition with friends. Most people love receiving a fresh, homemade loaf of bread or plate of cookies. My family loves board games, so we’ve started a tradition with another family that loves games, too. Every Christmas season, we have a game night with snacks, games, and a blazing fire. For generations, baking has been part of my family’s identity. Whether it’s a kickball tournament in the backyard or catching the latest sci-fi movie, each family has unique traditions that should be shared.