Reporter: Patricia DeBres
It’s loud, funny and can be obnoxious all at once. It can make you cry and make you appreciate your life so much more. For some, family is everything.
“Family life is a bit like a runny peach pie – not perfect but who’s complaining?” freelance writer Robert Brault wrote. Growing up in a large family teaches many useful lessons that are used in everyday life. It offers cooking lessons, childcare 101 and how to bite your tongue when someone says something that you object to. It teaches you how to laugh and how to love.
A big family offers a variety of different personalities and different talents. In one family you can have a musician, a photographer, an artist, a comedian, a chef and a humanitarian and a fashionista. Every special occasion brings talent shows and comedy to our house. With uncles who have eye-watering senses of humour and aunts who have beautiful singing voices, the children are inspired to pull a skit together to perform for the parents. The chefs cook up a feast and the taste testing begins and doesn’t end till long into the night. The night is documented with thousands of pictures and video footage.
Holidays are always eventful when your mother is one of eight children. Every year we travel as a large group to the Toronto Santa Claus parade and take up the whole sidewalk. We leave approximately three hours early just to find a big enough spot for all of us to sit and watch the parade.
With Scottish grandparents my holidays are filled with many Scottish traditions such as eating mince and tatties (mince meat and potatoes) and celebrating Robbie Burns Day on Jan. 25. On Thanksgiving Day all of the brothers and sisters play Secret Santa. They put their names in a hat, which is normally a bowl and pick one of their siblings. This means that their family has to buy Christmas presents for the sibling’s family that they chose. This makes Christmas more exciting and more affordable. But by mid-November everyone has figured out who picked who.
The Christmas pudding is a popular Scottish treat. During the last week of November the “elders” of the family get together and make the Christmas pudding. They spend the day preparing one batch, which is enough pudding for all the families to take one portion home. After adding the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, which is called wetting the pudding, the women add a bit of brandy, pour themselves a glass and toast their mother for giving them the recipe. Then each woman takes a stir and makes a wish for their family. After five hours the pudding is complete and ready to be taken home.
Another Scottish tradition in our family is the Christmas morning Fry Up. It is a common dish in Scotland, we only eat it on Christmas morning. One of the highest calorie meals you can eat, it is also one of the best. The meal includes fried mushrooms and tomatoes, bacon and eggs, square sausages and black pudding. Black pudding is a blend of onions, pork fat, oatmeal, flavourings and blood, normally from a pig. It has been around since animals started being killed for food.
“Family is the most important thing in the world,” Princess Diana said and many live by this quote.