Mary and John were married recently and moved into their new home. Proudly wanting to show off her new home and her cooking skills, Mary invited her parents and grandmother to dinner for Mother’s Day.
The afternoon came around, and John walked past the kitchen to see Mary preparing the family dinner, battling to cut through a leg of lamb. He stopped and watched, wondering what she was doing.
Eventually Mary was successful, and she put the halved leg of lamb in a pan and popped it in the oven. Curious, John asked “Why did you cut the lamb in half before putting it in the pan and putting it in the oven?”
Being new to cooking and feeling a little defensive, Mary responded “That’s how Mum always cooks legs of lamb because that’s how it’s done.”
John’s curiosity was further aroused. “Do you mind if I call Mum to find out why it’s done that way?”
“Sure, do what you like” said Mary as she turned to preparing the potatoes.
So John picked up the phone and called his new mother-in-law. “Hi Mum, it’s John… Yes, John Smith, your son-in-law… Yes, that one. I have a question for you: when you cook a leg of lamb, why do you cut it in half before putting it in the pan before putting it in the oven?”
Impatiently, Mum said “Because that’s how legs of lamb need to be cooked. It’s how Granny did it and how I’ve always done it.”
“Oh,” said John, “do you mind if I call her to find out why it’s done this way?”
“It might be better to wait until dinner as she finds it hard to hear anything over the phone.”
John waited. Finally, the family were sitting around the dining table, complimenting Mary as they laboured through the tough meat, burned potatoes, and soggy Brussels sprouts. John turned to Granny and asked loudly, “Granny, when you cooked legs of lamb you always cut the leg in half before putting it in the pan and putting it in the oven. Why did you cut it in half?”
Granny curtly replied, “Because my oven was small.”
The traditions that are passed down through generations become truths. We often don’t know how or why the tradition originated, but we blindly follow it. Some traditions are helpful while others are not.
Nutrition habits and traditions have a way of influencing families. Sunday roasts, cereal and milk for breakfast, fish and chips on a Friday night, eat your vegies before you get dessert, beach and ice-cream, wine with dinner, or needing toast with your eggs are all examples of habits and traditions that exist in families. Think about the ones that exist in your family: do they help or hinder your weight and wellness goals?
Whatever your family’s traditions, we wish all mums a very happy Mother’s Day.