For Food and Family



I remember as a small child, my grandfather telling me that that the three greatest things life could offer you were family, food and friendship. Being as young as I was, I only ever connected with the last part. Sure, we had pancakes for breakfast and steak for dinner, and our family got together for holidays and large events, but I was always more interested in what my friends were up to. I never truly appreciated what he was saying until I'd begun experiencing what life had to offer.

Some of my fondest memories come from family holidays; Thanksgivings were my favorite. Over the course of the week leading up to it, the entire Williams family, my mothers' side, would slowly arrive at my grandparents' house. It might have been because of my relative size at the time, but I always remember thinking how huge their house was. It would easily fit the twenty-five family members who had gathered (even if it meant the kids table was in another room). Each of us would be given responsibility for one portion of the meal. Often, my uncle would be responsible for the mashed potatoes. He had a bit of a reputation for being heavy-handed with the butter and milk, but I don't remember saying it was bad thing. I remember, one year, my father decided try his hands at them. We still tease him about how bad they were. When all was said and done though, it is staggering to think of the sheer volume of food we prepared. Turkey, duck, ham, roast beef, potatoes, sweet potatoes, pickles, beets, roasted vegetables; nothing was safe from us! That's not even including the desserts. We all had a sweet-tooth, a trait I can thank my grandfather for. The man loved his sweets, ice cream in particular. No matter what the weather was like out, my grandfather could always find room for a Haagen-Dazs ice cream.

My grandfather was always very supportive of all of his grandchildren's choices, regardless of whether he agreed with them. If you wanted to be a cook and not go to university, then who was he stand in your way. It took me years to slowly tease out what I wanted from life but no matter how tough it got, he always had a kind word and a Haagen-Dazs in hand waiting for me. His support, and that of my family, allowed me to endure several stages of personal growth that some might not have the luxury of having. My initial dream of being a chef, partly inspired by our shared love of food, would quickly change to becoming a digital artist. I spent a few years doing a CEGEP degree for that before eventually wanting to pursue Sociology. After a massive crisis of faith in the middle of the night, I realized that sociology wasn't for me, which in turn, helped steer me towards my passion for writing and literature. I found myself enrolled in Creative Writing, where I found that myself, deadlines and forced creativity did no mix. This would lead me to trying my hand at English Literature and Professional writing. After several years of trial and error, I finally found a spot that worked for me. Despite all of these changes, I always knew I could rely on his support, even after his passing.

As an adult, I look back on those dinners and holidays, the ones I didn't understand when I was young, with a sense of pride. My family is still crazy and we still gather for our holidays. Through them, and the dinners we share, I feel pride knowing that we are carrying on his traditions. I am glad to share the ideals that my grandfather upheld: that the best place to be was at the head of a table, sharing with your family and friends.

(Image found on Financial Philosopher, by Kent Thune)

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