Sunday, January 1, 2012

New Year's Dinner

In my family, we have a tradition of celebrating the first day of the year with a big dinner of Japanese foods. When I was younger my Grandmother (Mama) made tons more food, but then, she was younger too! Now there's still a ton of food mind you, and every year we say how there will be less next year... but there never is.

I spent much of yesterday and some of this morning helping Mama get all the food ready. Always part learning (or remembering) how to make some of the more traditional dishes, and sometimes a bit of the history behind the foods, but also part hearing the history of the family. Often many of the same stories come up, but sometimes a new story will be told. Or more details added to a story that was never fully told.

Sometimes the stories are happy, fun... sometimes they're sad. How Mama's mother died before she turned three. Or how her good friend died of cancer - how hard she fought, and how Mama promised she'd take them both back to Japan if she would get better. How the doctors only gave her one month, but how she held on for two and tried so hard to get better, to live.

Sometimes the stories are more recent, the times of my childhood, or my Father's - other times the stories go back a few generations. My Grandfather and his brother know a good bit about their family history. Odd little things, such as how one of our relatives was on the Titanic, died on it. Or how one woman would sit on the porch drinking beer out of a teacup, so she'd still look lady-like.

I do my best to remember it all, to write down what I remember - both food and memories - so I can continue to pass these memories down... while adding in some new stories of my own.

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