The Bay Leaf – a Family Tradition

Family Traditions - Bay Leaf | Apron Strings & other thingsThis time of year there is often a pot of soup or stew simmering on the stove or in the crockpot for our supper-time meal. So many family traditions center around food. Have you noticed? There is some kind of bonding and memory-making that happens when we break bread together.

Our family has a crazy, silly tradition when it comes to Mom’s Pot of Stew. A favorite seasoning in those pots is the bay leaf. I add it to my venison stew, my chicken soup,  my pot-o-beans and many other dishes. Years ago one of my children was appalled when they found a leaf floating in his soup: “Ewww! Mom! What is this old leaf doing in my soup?!”

Without missing a beat, Mom says “Oh, boy! You win the prize!” And she runs round the table and plants a big kiss on the top of his head. Mom grins, boy turns red-faced and everyone has a good laugh.

And then, when the stew is served up the next week, another child asks, “Do I get a prize if I get the leaf?” And that’s how the Bay Leaf Tradition got started. A tradition that continues to this day. No matter how old or how big those little children get to be. When the bay leaf makes it’s appearance in someone’s dish, Mom waves her arms in the air like a crazy woman and chases the winner down (sitting on them if she has to) and plants a loving kiss on the top of their head.

But, what about when the church elder and his wife came to dinner and HE found the bay leaf in HIS bowl? This quick-thinking mama deferred the privilege to Mrs. Elder, thank you very much.

Do you have silly meal time traditions that remain alive in your family? I’d love to hear about them!

Family Traditions | Apron Strings & other thingsWe are sharing Family Traditions of all types throughout the month of December. Click on the image above to see other posts on this topic.

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  1. What a delightful tradition!
    Merry Christmas to you and yours, Linda!

  2. What a sweet tradition, especially with lots of silly! Our soup was named “hand-me-down soup” by my younger son, who noticed that soup often started with another soup that had been made a few days before and was refreshed with new vegetables and stock and leftover meat.

    • Thank you Carol! I love the “hand-me-down soup” label – you have a smart boy there! Sounds a lot like meals I serve around here. Those meals are some of our favorites, but nearly impossible to duplicate!

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