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Savoring our family traditions

Spring, summer, fall and winter. Our lives used to be guided by the changing seasons. We know its spring by the fresh fruit in the supermarket or that it’s fall from the apples coming in. However, now you can get strawberries in January and apples in July. The supermarket brings fruit from all around the world. In my family, there are dishes and foods that still mark the seasons for us. We know when it is a special time of year, thanks to my dad. He has a passion for cooking and especially for reaching back in time for old recipes and ways of doing things. Each season comes with special recipes for my family.

Kidsday reporter Isabel Connolly in her kitchen with

We know when it is a special time of year, thanks to my dad. He has a passion for cooking ...

Kidsday reporter Isabel Connolly in her kitchen with her sister, Evelyn, and dad, Mark Connolly.


Photo Credit: Belinda Connolly

You know it’s fall if the oven is back in use. Sunday dinner consists of the usual chicken, mashed potatoes, apple sauce and roast potatoes. My dad makes his own fresh apple sauce from scratch almost every fall Sunday — especially after our annual apple picking trip. The roast potatoes are my favorite, though. They are roasted in goose fat from a goose we make during the holidays. My dad also makes Yorkshire pudding. Yorkshire pudding is an English dish like popovers. If we don’t have Yorkshire pudding, my dad will make soda bread. It’s either white soda bread or brown soda bread. The brown bread is made with different oats, giving it that brown coloring.

My dad used to make soda bread for my class for St. Patrick’s Day. We don’t just make corned beef, like most people, for St. Patrick’s Day. We also have boiling bacon. Then for dessert, we either have bread and butter pudding or chocolate Guinness cake. Don’t worry; the Guinness burns off and all you can taste is the Irish chocolate. We also put on cream cheese frosting and color on it so it looks like the Irish flag.

Other holidays that include tons of food are Halloween, Christmas, New Year’s and, of course, Thanksgiving. No one has made stuffing half as good as my dad’s. My dad doesn’t do all the cooking on Thanksgiving, though. I get to help by making fan tan rolls. They are layers of dough layered on top of each other like a fan. The outsides are crisp and the inside is so soft and chewy. For dessert, we have pumpkin pie, which I make with my mom and sister.

There are so many holidays and feast in between, but here is just one more:

We make a sour cream cake that was passed down on an old index card from members in my grandfather’s family to my mother. My dad said he always remembers my grandmother making the cakes on winter nights for dessert after the Sunday roast. He always lets my sister and I lick the bowl. As the weather gets warmer, the oven is used less and less, but that’s OK. Though I have to wait five whole months before I get to have my roast potatoes and soda bread, I know that the first cool Sunday in September it’ll return, just like Frosty will return in the winter. The wait makes the first bite all the more better. All of our traditions and recipes help to shape my family’s life. The recipes will be passed down to me and my sister so that one day I might make them for my own family and tell them all the stories my dad did. Every family has traditions. These are mine.

Clara Villani’s Newspaper Club, Brother Joseph C. Fox Latin School, Kellenberg, Uniondale

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