Family Traditions by Mary Aalgaard | | Brainerd, Minnesota

Family Traditions by Mary Aalgaard

Memories are formed around food, the preparations, the sights, the sounds, the smells, and the people who share a meal with us. Thanksgiving is all about the menu. You remember meals shared, where you were, and who was there. We reminisce about holidays of the past, someone's home who is no longer with us, and longing to taste one more time Grandma's lefse as only she could make it.

My son and I made chocolate chip cookies last year near Christmas. A few days later, a friend dropped off chocolate chip cookies as a gift. My son came into the kitchen for a cookie. I said, "We still have few they we made, but they're getting old. Do you want one from my friend? They're fresher." He said, "No, they'll taste different. They were made by different hands."

The cook's touch is as unique as each person's fingerprints. Mothers and daughters can use the same recipe and the food still doesn't taste exactly the same. Why is that? It's because we put something of ourselves into the food that we prepare, and somehow, what we eat and where it's served makes a difference. I swear, my favorite dishes taste best when we are at the family farm.

This Thanksgiving weekend, we enjoyed the traditional meal on Thursday. It was Sunday, however, that the best traditional food provided the meal to an even bigger crowd. Click over to my writer's blog, Play off the Page,, to read more about our Potato Dumpling tradition and get a glimpse at the recipe.

Even as I took photos and notes, I knew I'd never be able to make the dumplings the same way as my mom makes them. So, this holiday season, I am thankful for family traditions which include marvelous family recipes, and the for the loving hands that make them.

Go. Create. Inspire!