I tend to like tradition. It's something that remains constant, something you can grasp on to. Change is necessary, though often not welcomed; not so for tradition, which is welcomed and comfortable. Change is the wooden stool you must adjust to, tradition is the old rocker.
An example that comes to mind is Facebook. Because it is such a young site, Facebook is constantly changing and evolving. During my time on Facebook, there have been two major times where it has completely rearranged the site and the way it functions. For about a week after the change, all that I heard from kids my age is how much they hate the new facebook. Groups arose on the site itself, requesting that Facebook revert to its old setup. While all this went on, I chuckle to myself. There was really nothing wrong with the new Facebook, it was more efficient than the old one, but people weren't comfortable with the operating style. Everyone had snuggled up and gotten cozy with the old version, but were thrust out of bed with the new one.
I didn't necessarily approve of the new Facebook at first, but I accepted it. Everything must change and evolve if we want to move forward, and I support that. Traditions don't keep us grounded, but rather let us relax before we've got to move on with our lives.
Recently, I've become aware of two traditions that I'm quite jealous of. Frankly, I wish that these traditions were my own. The first, involves family and suckling pig. My friend Maggie lived in a bunch of places before moving here in middle school. You can usually tell who the kids are that moved to a new district after elementary school. These are the kids with few friends who often separate themselves, or are separated from, and are seen as outcasts. Not Maggie. No dearth of friends there, and if you told me you didn't like her, I simply wouldn't understand.
She moved here from North Carolina, and I guess she made some good friends there, because each year, her whole family travels down to a friend's house in North Carolina for a cookout. We're not talkin burgers and dogs however. It's North Carolina and the men spend all day cooking a huge hog for supper. Good food good friends, what's better? This year she sent me a picture of a sandwich from the event. I think she was trying to make me jealous.
The second tradition involves a couple. Marta and Ben have only been going out for a few months, though they started this towards the beginning of the year. I met Ben when I started cross country in the beginning of the year. He was a too-cool-for-school, non-conformist type kid; the kind that "don't take shit from nobody" (most notably the school librarian). He wasn't like many kids though, ya know, like the ones that completely change their personality in front of the opposite sex, grownups, etc. I thought this unrelenting attitude would hinder him in maintaining a relationship, but then came Marta, and my theory was completely disproved. I never thought I would use the word compliment in this blog when referring to personalities as opposed to food, but Ben and Marta's personalities undoubtedly compliment each other.
Both of Marta's parents are from Poland, and from their strong cultural background comes great food. Every Sunday, Marta and Ben go to Marta's house and make crepes, using Marta's grandmother's recipe. They invite someone new each time to the "Marta and Ben experience," and I've been lucky enough to get the invite a few times. The first, I wanted to use my favorite recipe (Thomas Keller's version) for their crepes, but I had no idea that they had been using Marta's Grandmother's version, and I soon realized that Thomas Keller's got nothing on a Polish grandmother.
Marta and Ben have the crepe-making system down to an art. The way their personalities compliment each other is similar to the way they work in the kitchen. Each knows what they are doing and means business. All one wants to do is stand back and watch the performance, the interaction, the crepe acrobatics.
And of course, the end result is delicious. I find that Keller's crepes are heavier and richer, whereas these are light, and lend themselves completely to condiments (which is what crepes should do). Taste is not important however, it is the tradition that I admire, no, envy. I want a girlfriend, and every Sunday will be our omelet day, or pasta day, or even braised short-rib day.
This past week, my track coach attempted a motivating speech for the team. Her enthusiasm was there but the delivery wasn't. The speech was just a bunch of scattered thoughts that didn't really come together. She just jumped from point to point without culmination. I do that a lot with this blog, and I'm usually aware of it, but I don't mind. This isn't school and my writing doesn't need to be completely structured or focused. But with this post, I hope to tie everything together, because tradition is so universal. It's so applicable to every aspect of life. Ruhlman has received criticism for basing Ratio on French technique, but without French culinary tradition, cooking would be nowhere. Not dissimilar to how without strict military tradition, we may not be as safe as we are today. But now I appear to be contradicting myself, traditions aren't necessarily there just to "let us relax before we move on with our day." They allow us to move forward too.