Banding Together

Last night many of my extended family got together at a local restaurant to celebrate the 50th birthday of my youngest aunt.  It was an informal and low key affair, hastily pulled together by her sister last week – a wonderful gift of togetherness. After dinner, a majority of folks migrated over into the lounge area to listen to the band.  The band playing was called 1969.  They were pretty good, but we all agreed we’d rather be listening to our cousin’s band.  So, I think tonight, that’s what we’re all going to do.  "Lounging" as an extended family was a lot of fun, I think we should do it more often.

A annual banding together tradition in our family is coming up tomorrow.  We call it Ravioli Day.  My great grandmother had an awesome recipe for ravioli.  And for most of her life she insisted on orchestrating the production of the pasta.  Little by little she would share bits and secrets of her technique with her grand daughters, until after many years the had acquired a good understanding of the process.  Eventually, my grandmother took over ravioli making duties, but still supervised under my great grandmother’s watchful eye.  Many years ago, as the burden of the job was getting to be too much of my grandmother to handle one of my aunts decided that it would be fun, and important, to relay the process down to the next generations, so she organized Ravioli Day.  In early December each year everyone is invited to her basement.  All the kids, right down to the toddlers, are encouraged to get their hands into it: mixing and kneading the dough, cranking the pasta maker, balling the filling, pressing the forms, poking the finished raviolis.  Stage two of the tradition is that we have an extended family meal to eat the ravioli – ideally scheduled to occur in between Christmas and New Year.  With each expanding generation the amount of work to be done grows because there are more mouths to feed but the work itself is lighter because we have more hands to do it with. We have a lot of fun on meal day, but banding together to make the ravioli seems like more fun.

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