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Homemade for the Holidays

The holiday buzz is here— covered in tinsel and flooding your inbox with cyber sales. But a look past the shiny, brash exterior reveals an activity at the heart of the season: gathering together with friends and family.

What brings us all together this time of year?

Well, food.

vegetable soup copyOf course, it’s the people we’re with that make the holidays special, but I’d argue that it’s food that has the power to bring all those people together. And while the eating is certainly a highlight, time spent in the kitchen making food has a similarly positive effect.

Consider the meaning we give to the word ‘home’—the intangible, heartwarming, magical feeling of being in a place we love with people we love. Then, imagine a dish made with all that magic.

When food is homemade it’s filled with that same meaning. We lay the raw ingredients out in their simplest form and put thoughtful, truly meaningful energy into making it.

So, think of someone— some person you want to connect with this holiday—and cook with them. It could be your children who you see every day or a grandmother you can only visit once a year. Whoever it is, make the effort to cook with them and it will be an experience you’ll always remember.

Children have a lot to gain from cooking together at home—learning life skills, developing healthy eating habits…the list goes on and on. And spending time in the kitchen is a great way to connect as adults, too.

In fact, one of my favorite holiday activities is to cook with my mom. It’s an opportunity to reconnect, one-on-one.

We try new recipes every year. Neither one of us can be considered a chef, and there’s a job for everyone in the kitchen. It’s the teamwork, the conversation, and the hope for a delicious outcome that makes it all so much fun.

spirit of walloon. petoskey farmers market copyIncorporating local produce into the cooking and eating is a lot of fun, too. This time of year there is still plenty of locally grown produce to choose from, like squash, root vegetables, greens, and more. But whether you pick up local vegetables at the farmers market or from a grocery store, there are hundreds of recipes you can find to prepare them differently. And once again, consider selecting a new recipe that has you trying something new together. It’s fun!

When we’re together for the holiday the value isn’t in simply being under one roof, it’s about sharing experiences. So, in all the hustle and bustle this season, let’s slow down and make something homemade for the holidays: a dish filled with memories, and food with purpose.

*This article was originally printed in the Traverse City Record Eagle on Saturday, December 5th 2015.

Tricia Phelps is the Operations Director at Taste the Local Difference®. She is a passionate advocate for fresh, local food and always enjoys incorporating her love of food with her love of writing. You can email her directly at [email protected]

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