Nov 21, 2009

Surprise foods

I’ll never forget the first time our family invited Jennifer over for a “Holiday” meal.  We had been married for six months and she was now allowed to attend my Grandmother’s famous Christmas dinner.  The only problem is that I forgot to inform her that it might be a bit different from what she was used to.  We pulled up to my grandparent’s house, shared some friendly talk, and sat down for dinner.


The dinner was cabbage rolls, mashed potatoes, sauerkraut, homemade noodles, kielbasa, and pecan rolls.  Since she was used to ham and turkey, she was a bit surprised.  But she faithfully ate most of my grandfather’s Hungarian-Polish delicacy.  She was curious as to why I put the noodles on the mashed potatoes.  I was curious as to why she didn’t.  On the way home she commented that this was not a typical Christmas dinner. Boy was she surprised the next morning when we ate Christmas brunch at my parent’s house… fresh Mexican tamales.


But that was nothing to what I experienced the first time I had Christmas dinner at HER parent’s house.  Her mother pulled out a dish which was pork knuckles floating in gelatin.  Like a good son-in-law I ate it.  On the way home she questioned my judgment,


“Why did you eat that stuff?” she was desperate to know.

“I wanted to be polite”, I replied.

“But that dish is nasty.  No one ever eats it but my father.  I think he does it to put hair on his chest”. She informed me.

“Well, I guess I could use some chest hair”. I mused.

“Did you like it?”

“No, it was disgusting”. I said.  Actually, it did seem strange to me that the only two people to eat the dish were me and her father.  Her brothers and sister just stared at me wide-eyed as I ate it.


I learned later that her parents did not enforce the YOU MUST EAT EVERYTHING ON THE TABLE rule as mine did.  No, her parents lived by the other rule, IF THE SON-IN-LAW LIKES THE PORK DISH WE WILL MAKE IT EVERY YEAR FOR HIM rule.


On Thursday, we will go to my sister’s house for Thanksgiving.  My sister believes in the Golden Thanksgiving Rule:  FILL UP THE TABLE WITH AS MUCH FOOD AS POSSIBLE.  Since she has a 20 foot by 4 foot dining room table, there is always enough to eat.


But more than the food, it is a day for fellowship, friendship, and a time to reflect on the wonderful gifts that God has given us.


May all of you have a blessed and safe Thanksgiving.


Pastor David Hook

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