I’ve just started reading a book that has me thinking about my childhood and the traditions I will carry on with my family. Many of my favourite childhood memories revolve around food. For example, on our birthdays, my mother would ask us to choose anything we wanted for dinner. I could have asked for pan roasted chicken rotini stuffed with basil pesto, Parmesan cheese and prosciutto ham topped with a creamy alfredo cream sauce and served with smashed red potatoes and my mother would have found a way to make it happen. Luckily for her, my birthday request was always beef stroganoff and frozen peas with a heart shaped cherry chip Betty Crocker mix cake topped with homemade pink icing for dessert.
The other week, I decided to make my birthday meal for dinner. The entire day, I looked forward to dinner. My mouth watered every time I thought about it and couldn’t wait to take that first bite when my husband got home. As I prepared the ingredients, memories of my birthdays came flooding back. I remember being drawn out of my bedroom by the smell of onions and ground beef browning in the electric skillet. I remember opening the cans of mushroom soup for my mother and draining the liquid off of the canned mushrooms. I remember anticipating the whole family around the table enjoying my favourite meal. I remember how special it was to eat in the dining room on my birthday and sit at the head of the table. In the past few years, Greg has asked me which restaurant I want to go to for my birthday and every year I tell him, I just want to be home on my birthday and enjoy a home cooked meal (preferably cooked by someone else) with the people I love. While my friends had birthday parties at McDonald’s, I celebrated in the only place I wanted to be. Home.