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My Family

In: Social Issues

Submitted By leftyk72
Words 1114
Pages 5
No Turkey for Thanksgiving
“What do you mean we aren’t having turkey for Thanksgiving?” My family has become set in our ways when it comes to the food menus for holidays. You could say my family has created folkways for our holiday meals governing the “when and what to eat” -- concept. Folkways are defined by Joan Ferrante, as norms that apply to the mundane aspects or details of daily life (Ferrante 50). My family has developed many folkways around the holidays, so much so that if anyone tries to change them up it disrupts the norm of the holiday for us. The traditional family does everything by the book as far as preparing holiday meals but sometimes changes up the menu. In my family, we are so set in our way that if something is missing, it can cause drama and make for grumpy family members.
My family has developed many folkways that are centered on the foods we eat for certain holiday meals, such as 4th of July, Thanksgiving and Christmas. The typical 4th of July meal that my family prepares is barbequed hamburgers, hot dogs, potato and/or pasta salads, chips, dips, and fruit, usually cantaloupe and watermelon. Thanksgiving dinner consists of turkey with stuffing, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, gravy and all the other traditional Thanksgiving dishes. Christmas dinner is usually prime rib, baked potatoes, salad and all things that go along with a prime rib dinner. Our most traditional Christmas meal is prime rib, and it would be really strange if that was not on the table.
Since my family is big on the traditional food items that go with certain meals, it is noticed when a food dish that we usually have is not present on the buffet table. One could say we disrupted the balance of my family’s food norm. According to Sociology: A Global Perspective, norms are written and unwritten rules that specify behaviors appropriate and inappropriate to a particular social situation. (Ferrante 50). Since food culture in my family has become a norm, the missing sweet potatoes can disrupt the cultural balance of the Thanksgiving holiday. Same thing if the prime rib is missing on Christmas. These omissions just don’t happen within my family’s culture of food. However, last year someone in the family decided to change up our normal Christmas dinner and replace it dinner with a Mexican themed buffet. The family members who decided to change it up didn’t bother to tell the rest of the family about the change. This change to our norm made for a strange holiday gathering. The buffet felt more like an all you can eat buffet with family members eating whenever rather than in a group, as the food was just sitting there for hours. This was an odd change for my family as we usually all eat together at the same time as the holiday meal is generally served at a specific time, not just laid out on the table early in the day and left there all day to snack on per say. It was also very strange to not see the Prime Rib and all the fixings on the table and not have a set time to eat. Some family members okay with the change to our holiday menu. Others were extremely upset by the change, to the point that they didn’t eat anything at all and voiced their opinion. Others didn’t say anything about the change, they just became very grumpy and had a poor attitude through the entire holiday gathering. When 15 to 20 people all have different attitudes, it can make for a very tense day. I, for one was not a happy camper as this was just not our norm. It was weird. It seems there are a lot of unwritten rules that go along with preparing of a holiday meal with in my family, as well as when the meals are to be served.
With most people who were raised within -- America culture being taught that holiday meals are to be served at a certain time, one could say it’s a cultural norm. Each holiday has a time frame in which a meal is served. The 4th of July dinner is usually served at dinner time, around 5 o’clock in the evening, Thanksgiving dinner is served around 3 o’clock in the afternoon, or earlier for some, and Christmas dinner can be served anywhere from 3 to 5 o’clock. My family is no different. When we serve our holiday meals is also based on the times a traditional family would gather to eat, but that’s about where my family eating a traditional meal ends.
My family does not gather around a huge dining room table to eat like one would expect a traditional family to do based on what American culture has taught us over the years. Our dining room table becomes the buffet table with all the traditional foods covering it. The family joins together, then forms a food line to get food; the plates are filled. With the exception of last year’s complete change to the Christmas dinner menu, going thru the food line is usually when one notices that the sweet potatoes are missing or it might be the corn. Or heaven forbid, the turkey or the prime rib. Each family member takes their food goes to find a spot to eat. Some family members eat at the kitchen table, others eat on TV trays in front of the TV, and the remaining usually end up sitting on the floor in front of the TV. This is my family’s holiday norm: have the same food menus every holiday and be untraditional in how the meal is eaten.
With my family developing our own cultural folkways around holiday meals, one could never say we follow the traditional American family culture when it comes to the typical holiday culture that has been taught to us over the years. This learned culture within our family is our norm. So to say that my family gatherings are based around the foods we eat: burgers, turkey, prime rib and all the fixings; how we eat them: spread all over the house; when we eat, dinner is at 5, is correct. These are the folkways of my family and are who we are, and I don’t see them changing any time soon. -- So, with Thanksgiving coming soon, we will be having turkey with all the fixings and everyone spread out all over the house stuffing their faces. Oh, and you bet we will be discussing that we have prime rib again for Christmas as it’s just not the family norm to have Mexican food.

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