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Volume III
May, 2013

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Everyday Family Food Traditions

By Chris Williams

As a husband and father of a young family I am still quite unfamiliar with the art of cooking, and I think part of that is because I married a woman who likes to cook. Even though my wife likes to cook, she doesn't want to do it everyday. She often mentions that she's tired of cooking or that she would love it if I would cook for the family more often. This concept at first seemed so daunting to me, after all I'm not even good at cooking. One night after making a box of Hamburger Helper for dinner early in our marriage, I was shocked to discover that my wife didn't care that it was an amateur meal. She only cared that I did it for her and she loved it! Now my wife and I cook together often, and I have learned that food can be a great way to bond with our families and develop strong, lasting relationships. Family traditions are about spending time with one another, it only seems appropriate to consider the everyday food tradition possibilities.

My daughter loves to play at the park. Previously we would go as a family and spend some time there while the little one plays. Since it's spring and the weather is getting warm again we have been talking about starting a new tradition where we make sandwiches and take them to the park to have a picnic and let our daughter play each weekend. Because we're a new family we are still trying to figure out what our traditions are going to be. I can't think of many better ways to spend time as a family, and I think this tradition could be the source of many great childhood memories for my daughter.

At our house, we do our grocery shopping on every other Saturday. At first, I never wanted to go grocery shopping because it was boring and took a long time. Before going shopping one weekend my wife and I went out to a restaurant for lunch. We can't afford to go out for food a lot, which made this experience really cool. It was almost like a date, and it ultimately helped me change my attitude about grocery shopping. We began going to a restaurant every time before our biweekly shopping trip. This tradition not only made shopping fun, but something I look forward to. What started out as an annoying shopping trip chore has become an enjoyable family tradition.

My personal favorite tradition, and meal, is our Friday night pizza and a movie. Oh, and this isn't just any regular old delivery or frozen pizza. This pizza recipe was discovered by my father when he took a cooking class as a teenager, and my family has been making this pizza since I can remember. This recipe is great! Almost immediately after we were married I began requesting this meal from my wife. My father taught her how to make it and we started having homemade pizza on Fridays, which was also accompanied by a movie rental. Eventually I ended up helping my wife make the pizza and it stuck. Now every time we have pizza, we make it together. This tradition has been great for our relationship and a good way for our family to spend time together.

My wife doesn't care if I cook her favorite meal, or even a delicious one, she just cares that I did something for her. Things like this, especially when done together, can strengthen our relationships and deepen our love for one another. Whether we use family food traditions to spend time together, improve the relationships that matter most, or simply show our families that we care, they can have a lasting effect on us and those around us.

Homemade Pizza from the kitchen of Mark Williams

Yield: 3 pizzas

2 1/4 cups warm water
1 tablespoon (package) active dry yeast
1 tablespoon white sugar
1 tablespoon salt
3 tablespoons olive oil
6 cups flour
1 (16-ounce) can tomato sauce
1 tablespoon parsley flakes
2 teaspoons basil
2 teaspoons oregano
1 tablespoon minced onion
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon sugar

Mix water, yeast, sugar and oil together in a bowl, let it foam (2 minutes), add salt, then mix. Add flour then knead on the counter for 10 minutes (until it looks and feels soft and smooth). Let it rise for 1 hour. Mix together sauce ingredients in a bowl while the pizza dough rises. Divide the dough into 3 sections. Flatten sections of dough and cover with sauce.

Bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes.

Recipe formatted with the Cook'n Recipe Software from DVO Enterprises.

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