My family loves food. My grandmother comes from a family of farmers and ranchers, and my grandfather’s relatives had horse ranches in Colorado for a long time. And while you can love food no matter what, there’s something about coming from a family that’s raised it for a long time to give you a unique perspective on the topic.

There are seven of us in a 900 square foot house for the week, on 40 acres of old Northern California land. Two dogs, 6 cats, 5 horses and random deer, turkeys, squirrels and the occasional bear or coyote round out the tribe. I’m the youngest of this group by twenty years, my mom is the youngest again by another twenty years, making me 40 years younger than most of the family here. The younger members of the family either have a new baby (my cousin), or are snowed in/disinherited from the family (my uncle and younger cousins).

The food bills have to have gone over 2000 dollars this week, plus what was on hand. Two freezers stuffed full, a full fridge, a sizable collection of home-canned, dried or canned food, a garage with lots of pies, cookies and produce, and a few boxes of nuts and fruits from friends and family elsewhere. Yep, we love food.

Incidentally, we live about 30 minutes away from the nearest gas station (well, where we’re staying, which is where I grew up). To get to town, we have to get over a sizable river. In ’95, the river flooded, and the apparently sturdy bridge washed out. It was two weeks before we could come and go as we pleased. We never did run out of food!

We almost never give presents. Food is our tradition. My grandfather’s cheesecakes, my mom’s stuffing, oatmeal and fruits, my cookies, those things are our traditions. Even the horses get more food and an extra serving of oats. And we do lots of puzzles and games.

This family has some issues, and we aren’t always on speaking terms. But tradition is tradition.

Merry Christmas everyone, and may your traditions continue another year, and new ones begin.


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