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Showing posts with label family traditions. Show all posts
Showing posts with label family traditions. Show all posts

Thursday, December 06, 2007

A Taste I Don't Wish to Acquire

Before she could open presents on Christmas Eve, Ken Nelson's mother had to eat some lutefisk—a tradition my own Nordic ancestors had the good sense not to pick up and pass down.

The origins of lutefisk are a subject of debate. Some accounts mention a fish accidentally dropped in a washing bowl containing lye, and because of family poverty, the fish had to be eaten.
Personally, I like the story about when the Vikings were pillaging Ireland, and St. Patrick sent men to pour lye on the stores of dried fish on the longships, with the hope of poisoning the Vikings. However, rather than dying of poisoning, the Vikings declared the lye-soaked fish a delicacy and named it lutefisk. [Link]
Thus the saying, "That which does not kill us makes us hunger."

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

A Fussy Family Recipe

The Dexter family of Westport, Massachusetts, has been hosting a Labor Day picnic for 100 years. A book sold at this year's picnic includes an "old family recipe" for the chowder served at the event.

The recipe is printed on the inside back cover of the book, and precision is the key with directions:

"It is essential to cook on a granite base, with a SW wind, and granite wall not less than 10 feet high to the NE."

Or, "Salt Pork: diced in 5/8" cubes with surgical scalpel."

And, "Remove from fire and add milk and cream. Serve not less than 25 yards to leeward and not less than 10 feet above the level of the fire." [Link]

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Don't Take Her Love for Granite

Emery Pierce gave his wife Winona a rock back in the '60s. A very big rock she had spotted in a quarry and fallen in love with.

"I had to call eight different places to get somebody to haul it. I finally got a tow truck operator who said, 'Lady, you've got rocks in your head,'" Winona recalls. He added, "I'll try anything once."

After much huffing and puffing, the rock, estimated to weigh between 1,000 pounds and a ton, arrived in their yard.
The Pierces have moved three times since then, and each time the "family rock" has followed them. For Winona's 78th birthday in August, her husband arranged to have the boulder delivered to their latest front yard.
In Windward Village, where people casually stroll, Winona has observed their reactions to the front-yard addition. "People walk by and say, 'Am I crazy? Has that been here all this time?'" [Link]

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Not a Matrilineal Custom, I Hope

Joynath Victor Denow, a steward for Indian Airlines, was told in 1998 to shave off his handlebar mustache. He refused, and began a decade-long court battle to save his whiskers and his job.

De filed a writ petition in Calcutta High Court, pleading that the moustache was part of family custom. He told the court that his ancestors had sported handlebar moustache as well. The court, however, set the emotional plea aside and asked De to comply with the manual rules. [Link]

Friday, July 06, 2007

Two Sisters' Sausage Sneakiness

For no particular reason, Flora Zimbelman slipped an uncooked hot dog into her sister Rose's suitcase 54 years ago. Rose mailed it back, starting a game that lasted until her death earlier this year.

In the years that followed, Flora would find a way to sneak the hot dog back into Rose's life. And Rose would find another way to sneak it back to Flora.

"I found it under my pillow once, I found it in between the drapes and once I found it in the kitchen drawer," said Flora.

Flora still has that hot dog. It looks just about as disgusting as you might expect. [Link, via Neatorama]

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Not a Fly-By-Night Company

A Japanese temple-building company called Kongo Gumi is going out of business. They've been in operation since 578 AD.

Its last president, Masakazu Kongo, was the 40th member of the family to lead the company. He has cited the company's flexibility in selecting leaders as a key factor in its longevity. Specifically, rather than always handing reins to the oldest son, Kongo Gumi chose the son who best exhibited the health, responsibility, and talent for the job. Furthermore, it wasn't always a son. The 38th Kongo to lead the company was Masakazu's grandmother. [Link, via Boing Boing]

Friday, January 05, 2007

Measuring Marks Maintained

Children in the Hunt family have had their heights marked on a wall at Beall's Department Store in Venice, Florida, for about 40 years. The tradition began when the family's matriarch worked there as an alterationist.

Beall's staff who still remember Helen Hunt have protected the wall from demolition. Today, the partition sits in a storage area removed from the hustle and bustle of Beall's Outlet patrons, awaiting its next mark.
Helen's daughter, Sheila Bailey, says it's "miraculous" that the wall has survived all these years.
Bailey said she recently spoke with the current Beall's Outlet manager, and was assured if the wall were to be removed the store would call Floyd Hunt Jr., who lives in Venice, to retrieve the wall. [Link]

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