My favorite food tradition

Published 2:56 pm Friday, December 26, 2008

Isn’t it funny how so many of our traditions — holiday and otherwise — revolve around food?

I was thinking about this on Wednesday, as I handed out tiny loaves of banana bread to my friends here at the Suffolk News-Herald. My wife is the queen of banana bread — much to the joy of those who get to try it — and there always seem to be bananas in some advanced stage of deterioration sitting on our kitchen counter.

Now, understand that in the long years I spent as a bachelor before meeting Annette, I would have considered black bananas to be rotten, and the only time you might have found them in my house was when I was feeling too lazy to take out the trash.

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Recalling the time she visited me and washed dishes she had found stacked on every horizontal surface of my kitchen, my wife probably would get a kick out of the suggestion that I’m ever anything but lazy when it comes to chores around the house.

Which brings me back to food. (But doesn’t everything, eventually?)

Soon after we first met, which was at work around Thanksgiving 1999, Annette found the way to my heart. Homemade venison tamales were the key. I can still remember how amazed I was to learn that she had actually made something so good with her own hands. And, most incredible to me at the time, neither a microwave nor a delivery person were involved in the process.

A traditional Mexican holiday treat had opened my eyes to the joys of food that didn’t come in a box. She had me hooked, and from there it was a simple task to reel me in with homemade breads, casseroles and hot meals. I was powerless to resist.

Since we got married in November 2001, sharing banana bread has become something of a tradition for me. Some people show their coworkers endless photos of their children and grandchildren; I share homemade banana bread. You’ll have to ask folks here at the newspaper which is better.

For a short, round guy like me, food traditions are clearly my favorite kind of traditions. Considering how blessed I am to have found and married a beautiful woman filled with generosity, compassion and love, though, one of the most special food traditions will always be sharing homemade holiday food with my friends at work.