Traditions can be our anchors in a crazy and fast paced world. But those same anchors can keep us from the joy of new and different experiences. (More)

Midday Matinee is our people watching, people doing and people being feature. Join the Woodland Creatures for an afternoon break.

A lot of my family traditions and the ones I either created for or passed on to my kids involved food. For 25 years we hosted a Fourth of July open house/party. Our neighborhood had a parade and a community gathering followed. Our friends were welcome for all day or whatever part of the day they could attend. I started making my mom’s sloppy joe recipe and setting a big electric roaster out on the screen porch. People could eat when they were hungry. After about 15 years of sloppy joes, I thought maybe a change of menu was in order. I proposed hamburgers and brats to my sons who were then ages 15 and 12.

I could only have gotten a worse reaction by canceling the party.

“But mom, we always have sloppy joes. How could you think of changing. People expect sloppy joes.”

“Mom, you are messing with a tradition here. Don’t you always say, ‘If it’s not broken, don’t fix it?'”

“Mom we promise we won’t complain about helping chop all those onions, celery and green peppers. Are you mad cause we were grumpy about helping? We will smile. Promise. You can count on us.”

I gave in and the sloppy joes continued year after year. I had gotten the same reaction from their dad, years earlier when I wanted to try out different stuffing ideas for the Thanksgiving and Christmas turkeys. It was a look of pure horror followed by, “We always have my mom’s stuffing. We don’t mess with the holiday food.”

I get that there is value in tradition. Really I do. I have shared both Thanksgiving and Christmas with dear friends in Florida this year. We had wild rice stuffing (with mirepoix, craisins, and turkey stock). It was divine and quite a bit healthier than the bread stuffing with enough butter in it to make a sculpture. I just hope that two turkeys in a row haven’t inadvertently started another tradition. There are times when taking a chance on something new is so worth it. If you don’t at least try, you’ll never know.

P.S. Tradition or not, I did dig in my heels at the lime jello and cottage cheese mixture.