We have begun the month of food. Sure, there were some preambles of public dining in October, but All Saints Day begins the family, friends and fund-raising food endeavors in earnest.
Just look through this issue of the newspaper at the number of bread breaking opportunities you have available. What with area churches having harvest dinners, the VFW serving their monthly Sunday fare, Hamacher Hall offering dinner and a show, and the gaggle of groups offering light to full meals as a part of craft shows and community events, this is not the time of year to begin a diet.
And if you try to eat healthy, I am afraid your opportunity may be limited what with all of the gravy, dressing, and desserts.
Dining together has been a tradition-rich social melding. It has its basis out of necessity in pre-history when hunter-gatherers would bring back the results of their successful forays into the forests and the extended families would all gather to eat together. It was a matter of necessity and safety.
Later in Biblical times, food and group dining was a part of parables and teachings: the opportunity to share not just in food but in Spirit.
Even back then, we had figured out that it is more conducive to learning and understanding if our bellies are content. It works the same with today’s educational system too.
But these November dining opportunities are just tune-ups, practice runs, and menu inspirations to Thanksgiving later this month.
Family gatherings are rich with their own pitch-in traditions with each branch of the family tree bringing their specialty to share. I like making sweet creations from products of the woodlands so my traditional part to pitch-in is persimmon pudding and hickory nut pie.
Though this year there may be an added attraction as I beat the raccoons and possums to the paw-paws. I just need to find a recipe for the best way to use my limited quantity paw-paw pulp.
The main ingredients are all gathered from under the trees, properly processed before becoming the star attractions in my family dessert offerings.
But, I am sure, like your clan, with extended family who have families all of whom work for a living, it is difficult to find a single day to dine together. So sometimes we have more than one family meal with different segments of the extended family. It just means I need to gather larger quantities of persimmon and hickory nuts and do more baking.
I have found that in November family dining there are two preparations: prepare the food and prepare for laughter.
But don’t wait this year until Nov. 26 to offer up thanks; do so daily. As the late Neal Cravens often encouraged: “Let gratitude be your attitude.”