Saturday, December 24, 2011

Out With the Old, In With the New

This morning I woke up with a feeling of grief, a mourning for Christmas past.  After a deep sigh I thought about recent advice from a mentor.  I would permit myself 10 minutes to feel this sadness, to pout and complain, then take a deep breath and move on with my day.  Surprisingly, this time did more for me than just allow sadness.  It allowed me to meditate on what I once had and to appreciate what life has to offer me today.

You see, like so many of us, I grew up with a tradition centered around the annual holiday meal.  I remember the smell of frost in the air as we packed up the car with presents on Christmas eve, heading to Grandma's house filled with cousins, aunts and uncles, and warm, fuzzy feelings.  Frank Sinatra's Christmas tunes echoed on the record player and us children surrounded the tree, touching and shaking each present for any clue that might give away the secret gift wrapped up inside.

The gifts, however, were the not only thing that had me pacing around the tree impatiently.  I had waited 364 days for my favorite dish of the year.  Grandma's Christmas Spaghetti, a gigantic bowl of pasta made with noodles, breadcrumbs and anchovies.  The salty flavor and warm, breaded noodles made the perfect compliment to white porcilan bowls filled with green and black olives, fillets of moist, flaky white fish and cauliflower drizzled with olive oil, vinegar and oregano.  I know, sounds strange, but in our family it has stuck for generations, enjoyed year after year.  Thank you to my loving Italian grandmother for providing me with so many wonderful years of this amazing meal.

OK, so there it is, my 10 minutes of mouth-watering nostalgia.  I wouldn't normally put up a post of the foods I no longer eat, however, this is my therapy, my way of bringing back the memories and letting them release into the world.  I suggest you do the same, and it doesn't only apply to food.  We all have a  tradition or memory, especially this time of year, that for whatever reason changed, grew into something entirely new and different than what used to feel so normal, so comforting.
What has changed for you and how have you learned to grow and accept new traditions?

And, for my new?  This year we are spending Christmas at home with my husbands family.  Being away from mine is difficult but I feel blessed to have such a loving family here.  They are incredibly giving and so understanding of my condition.  Conveniently enough, Christmas Eve tradition has turned into soup night, a meal I can roll with!  His mother is making split pea soup and I'm bringing a pureed pumpkin soup with a splash of coconut milk.  She serves various holiday treats and I'll share my GF GP friendly gingerbread cookies (which so far everyone seems to enjoy!).

Salute to my family, though several states apart, I still feel the love.  And to everyone else I hope your holiday is filled with love, laughter and joy.

Happy Holidays,
Stephanie : )


  1. Stephanie, from reading this post and some of your earlier posts, it sounds like you have a wonderful husband that is loving and very supportive. I, too, have a husband like that and for that, I am very grateful. He is a great cook and has become pretty good at GF foods too! No matter how sorry I feel for myself at times, I always know my husband is there for me, for whatever I need! Vickie

  2. I am so grateful too, everyday! How lucky we are to have husbands who not only understand but help out, especially when it comes to cooking. He is a big reason I stay so positive and strong. Don't get me wrong, we went through tough times to get here but only to become closer and stronger in the process. Give your hubby a pat on the back for me and tell him he's not alone!