Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The Shifting Tides of Thanksgiving Traditions

by CWO guest blogger Caryn Welz-Ritchie

 Thanksgiving is a holiday steeped in tradition. As families come together, traditions blend and new ones develop. When children grow up and start families of their own, more traditions are born. In time, there are a lot of traditions to be followed, some of which don’t make the cut.

The Thanksgiving traditions in my family focused only on the food. Special china or silver did not appear. The table setting was not Martha Stewart. The food was what was important, and it was everywhere. 

My Aunt Mary would come over and we would bake pies a few days ahead. These were traditional: apple, blueberry, pumpkin and chocolate. My Italian grandparents would come over the morning of Thanksgiving and preside over the cooking. My Mother’s six sisters and their families arrived later.

The meal had to include a pasta course (usually lasagna), a turkey, a ham (because Aunt Anna didn’t like turkey), and a beef roast just because the oven was already on.

The sides were basic and less important. What was more of a tradition was the selection of fruits and nuts. We had pomegranates, dried figs and dates, and bowls of assorted nuts in their shell. After dessert we’d sit around and drink wine, crack nuts and play pinochle or seven and one-half, the Sicilian version of black jack. We didn’t have touch football games with the cousins like “the Medagons”, my American friends.

My husband’s family sat down to an elegant table using his grandmother’s Limoges china and engraved silver. Serving dishes were silver and glassware was crystal. Cloth napkins were folded at each place setting (in lieu of a community mopene). A Russell Stover foil-wrapped turkey sat on each dessert plate.  Handmade cloth John and Priscilla Alden dolls sat on the table next to small plaster turkeys. The dolls and turkeys have sat on a Ritchie Thanksgiving table for over 100 years. 

The turkey was carved at the table, just like in a Norman Rockwell painting.  Everyone was dressed in their best, all seven of them: my husband, his parents, grandmother and three maiden aunts. Dinner was polite and quiet. After dinner, desert was one pie and some type of steamed pudding with hard sauce (I had never heard of this). Footballs games were watched and board games were played and everyone went home early.

When Thanksgiving started to be at our house, my husband and I blended our family traditions. I incorporated the elegance from his family with the good food from mine. I use his grandmother’s china and silver. The John and Priscilla dolls and the plaster turkeys sit proudly in their places of honor. The table is elegant yet welcoming. 
I usually cook lasagna and a turkey. There are many desserts, including pies and Italian pastry, and the traditional dried fruits and nuts. I’m the only one to bother to crack the nuts and eat the figs and dates, but this tradition is important to me. 

The guest list is wide open. We have our family and invite anyone else who is going to be alone: neighbors, college friends of my sons and friends of friends. This was our traditional Thanksgiving until we moved to Cape Cod.

Our Thanksgivings on Cape Cod changed. Both our sons moved to other parts of the country and the new tradition was that they did not come home for Thanksgiving. 

I still cooked for Keith and I, and tried to convince other neighbors whose children were away to join us. It has been this way for the last 10 years, and it always has made me sad. I need the noise of a crowd, or at least a small gathering. 

This year we will be making new traditions. My son and his wife have moved to Cape Cod after living in California for the past ten years. They will be with us and we will cook our dinner together.

They traditionally make a champagne crusted spiral ham and drink Mimosas all day with the leftover champagne. My husband wants a traditional turkey dinner along with the ham. I don’t eat meat anymore so I’ll probably make a pasta dish.

We seem to have come full circle. As long as I have the oven on I may as well throw in a beef roast. 

John and Priscilla Alden will once again preside over dinner. After dinner we will drink wine, watch football and play card games. The numbers are fewer, Canasta replaces pinochle, but the love of family is the tradition that is the constant with each generation. 

Happy Thanksgiving!

If you have Thanksgiving traditions that you’d like to share with our readers, please email CWO publisher Nicola Burnell with your story: Nicola@CapeWomenOnline.com

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Getting In The Mood for the Holidays

The Garden Club of Hyannis Presents: A Holiday Showcase III

November 14-16
Cultural Center of Cape Cod
307 Old Main St. in South Yarmouth

Friday and Saturday, November 14-15, 10am-5pm

Sunday, November 16, noon-5pm 
This extravaganza by the Garden Club of Hyannis will transform the Cultural Center of Cape Cod into a magical and majestic home for the holiday season, each room decorated with gorgeous bouquets in beautifully designed settings with themes related to Christmas stories or songs, including spectacular “Polar Express” in the Great Hall.

The Unique Boutique will offer unusual gifts and gorgeous decorative items, most handcrafted by Garden Club members. Proceeds will help fund the club's many civic and charitable projects.  

The theme this year will be based on Christmas stories and songs. As people are Dreaming of a White Christmas they might take a ride on the Polar Express and be surprised that Here comes Santa Claus! Or possibly on the Night before Christmas they may want to see a Mermaids Christmas or the Littlest Angel. Each room will be decorated with the themes in mind and will transform the viewer into a wonderland of excitement.  

The boutique will be an expanded upscale boutique showcasing many of the wondrous decorations that will make up each room. There will be a myriad of items such as hand-crafted unique ornaments and gifts, beautiful floral arrangements and wreaths, hand-crafted doll clothes as well as exquisite home and gift items that should not be missed!

Call 508-394-7100 to purchase tickets in advance 

$15 in advance, $20 at the door 
For more details visit: www.cultural-center.org

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Get your Fall Submissions Finished!

Seems odd to post about Fall when we're still in the Dog Days of Summer.

But if you've pledged an article for the Fall issue, you should be working on that - and almost finished with it!
Deadline for article submissions is August 1st.

In the meantime, Enjoy July!

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Mermaid Book Signing at the Whydah Pirate Museum in Provincetown

Mermaids and Pirates go together like...well, mermaids and Cape Cod! A perfect combination for summer reading fun!

Monday July 7th from noon to 3 p.m. is the first official book signing for book 2 of the Mermaids of Cape Cod series! (Copies of the first book on hand for signing and purchase as well!)

Katie will be traveling to P-town, out at the very tip of Cape Cod, to the famous pirate museum. She had two wonderful book signings there last summer and is hoping for a few more this summer! If you're looking for something fun to do on Monday, head out to Provincetown and splash down on MacMillan Wharf!
Museum details and location:
The Whydah Pirate Museum
16 MacMillan Wharf, Box 493
Provincetown, MA 02657

E-Mail: info@whydah.com
Telephone: 508-487-8899
Twitter: @whydahpirates

From the Museum's website:
Commanded by the famed pirate Sam Bellamy, the Whydah was wrecked off Wellfleet in 1717, taking with her the treasures of fifty plundered ships.
According to Cape Cod legend, Bellamy was returning to his lady-love, Maria Hallett, the “Witch of Wellfleet”, when his ship met disaster in one of the worst storms to strike the eastern seaboard.
Only two men of 146 made it to the beach alive, making the Whydah wreck the worst ever on the shores of the Cape.
Bellamy’s loss was history’s gain, however, as the contents of his once-proud flagship represent a unique look into the lives of the pirates, and an unprecedented cross-cultural sampling of treasures from the world of the 18th century.
Discovered by underwater explorer Barry Clifford, this archaeological shipwreck recovery project has been named a National Geographic Society “Special Event”, and our Provincetown Museum is the headquarters for our ongoing underwater archaeological missions.
 Find more info (and photos) at : http://whydah.com/whydah-museum/

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Happy Independence Day!!!

There may be a hurricane charging up the East Coast but here on Cape Cod we are still planning on celebrating America's birthday in style. Whether you typically join the crowds at your local beach to take in the fireworks, or avoid the gridlocked roads for the safety of your own back yard - don't let a little rain in the forecast dampen your spirits. 

It's probably going to be an overnight event here anyway, so chins up, there are plenty of fun events to keep you entertained this weekend! Here's a link to a list of events courtesy of the Cape Cod Times.

Let us know how YOU celebrate this weekend. We'd love to hear your stories and see your photographs both here and on our CWO Facebook page.

We are New Englanders, after all, and that means the party goes on - rain or shine!

Wishing you a very safe and happy 4th of July weekend,

Your CWO Team :)

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Spring has Sprung and Summer is on the Way! Are you Ready?

 Spring bloom surround us with the sights and scents of 
Mother Nature doing her thing!

 Are you ready to step off into Summer?