Monday, November 27, 2006

Sharon Schulze: More Family Traditions

Our family has a number of traditions--for holidays and other occasions--as most families do. Some have been created more recently (those my hubby and I have established with our children), while others have been around for generations. One of the most enduring traditions in my family is playing games whenever we all get together.

I associate the game-playing tradition most strongly with my grandmother. Some of my earliest memories are of the multi-generational(as many as four generations!)gathering of family and friends around her table (often after Sunday dinner or a holiday feast), playing cards, dice, dominoes or board games. There was always a lot of laughter and good-natured teasing, fun and food. My grandmother was always ready to play, whether it was "Go Fish" or "Crazy Eights" with the young ones, or something like rummy or cribbage once we were old enough to move up to more complicated games. New games presented new challenges and were always welcome--and chances were, Grammy might very well beat you at the game you'd just taught her.

Along with learning to count, the logic of games, and how to win and lose (among other things), we learned lots about our family and got to know them as people, not just relatives to be visited for a few hours on holidays.

Gamesters of all ages need sustenance. Yummy finger foods work well, and a big favorite is our Holiday Cheese Spread:

Holiday Cheese Spread

2 5-oz. jars Kraft Roka Blue cheese
2 5-oz. jars Kraft Old English Cheddar cheese (you can find both cheeses in the grocery store refrigerator case)
2 8-oz. packages cream cheese
1 T. Worcestershire sauce
1 medium onion, finely chopped (or substitute reconstituted dried onions)
optional: walnut meats, finely chopped

Let cheeses soften to room temperature. Combine all cheeses, onion, and Worcestershire until well-blended (you may use a mixer). Pack into a small crock or decorative serving dish, top with chopped nuts, if desired. Chill until ready to serve. Serve with crackers, bread sticks or cut-up fresh vegetables.

This makes a large amount; recipe may be cut in half.

Enjoy, and may your holidays be happy!


Victoria Bylin said...

The Bylin family is big on games, too. The latest craze is Mexican Train, a domino game my aunt and uncle picked up in their RV travels. As a kid, I played Scrabble with my grandmother for hours. Then there's Canasta . . . I could go on and on.

Sharon Schulze said...

Vicki, we like Mexican Train too! My grandmother learned the game while visiting friends, then taught it to us. It's a lot of fun. Scrabble is great, too--I love word games. I never learned Canasta . . . hmmm . . . :-)