At this time of year many of the celebrations in our family center around food and the tradition of the meal. Food is not only necessary for human existence but also cherished and celebrated.
On Winter Solstice we began our holiday celebration with mutton stew. This is the most important celebration in our household as we acknowledge the transformation from the longest night into the longer and brighter days. In the days following we celebrate christmas eve with clam chowder, and the next day we have a bacon wrapped pork roast. Breads are handmade, and several traditional side dishes, including my husband's spiced cranberries, garnish the table. As a family we return to the kitchen together. This is often the first time we gather in the kitchen for meal preparation since the early summer harvests when we celebrate the first fruits of our labor. Often the hectic fall harvest and return to school overshadows the simple joy of preparing a meal together.
Tonight I prepared a traditional corned beef and cabbage meal, and tomorrow we will enjoy black eyed peas and collard greens. The meals between the Solstice and the New Year involved dried beans and lentils, root vegetables and a celebration of seasonal simplicity.
This is where I find the strongest connection between garden and home, in the kitchen. I began gardening for the aesthetic, I grew through my emerging understanding of the ecosystem, and I matured in the balance of garden and home that we celebrate on the table. It is from here that I will find my community.
And for the new year I will journal the whole story, not just the garden beds.