Episode 328 - The Feast
In this episode of Awesome Etiquette
On today’s show we take your questions on being unable to afford gifts, condolences around Christmas, American etiquette vs. Danish etiquette and putting a Venmo username on a wedding invitation. For Awesome Etiquette sustaining members your question of the week is about handling Christmas gifts when your partner celebrates it, and their family doesn’t. Plus your most excellent feedback, etiquette salute and postscript where we discuss feasting as presented by Margaret Visser in The Ritual of Dinner.
Speaker 1: Maybe it's just that you don't know how to use social courtesy that's old fashioned.
Speaker 2: Watch how busy Post and Dan posts and act as host and hostess.
Speaker 2: They know that courtesy means showing respect, thinking of the other person. Really Friendliness. Hello
Speaker 1: and welcome toe awesome etiquette,
Speaker 2: where we explore modern etiquette through the lens of consideration, respect and honesty. On
Speaker 1: today's show, we take your questions on being unable to afford gifts you normally would send condolences around Christmas greetings, American dining styles, verse, Danish dining styles and putting a Venmo user name on a wedding announcement
Speaker 2: for awesome etiquette sustaining members. Our question of the week is about handling Christmas gifts when your partner celebrates it, but their family doesn't
Speaker 1: plus your most excellent feedback etiquette salute and a postscript segment when we return to Margaret Visser is the ritual of dinner to discuss feasts. Aled that coming up
Speaker 1: awesome etiquette comes to you from the studios of our home offices and snowy Vermont and is proud to be produced by the Emily Post Institute. I'm Lizzie Post,
Speaker 2: and I'm Dan Post sending
Speaker 1: because it's it's pretty pretty down here. We've got snow finally here in Vermont I can't imagine what it's like up in the mountains where you are. What I
Speaker 2: drove out of my house today. All I could think about was the podcast and this intro and how I was going to just sing about Vermont after the first perfect winter snowstorm.
Speaker 1: It is really beautiful. Snow sparkles, which is always so fun. And even though here in town, you know, it's like the roads get dirty and it it starts to not look good after a few days. It it is so pretty. Did you see everything covered? It just It makes everything looks so beautiful.
Speaker 2: You earn it. It's been cold for a week.
Speaker 1: It's been it has.
Speaker 2: But you're right. There was the sparkle, and there was this dusting that we've had a couple inches of ground cover, and then it's in the trees. So, like the evergreens all have a coat and it's in the branches and the sun was bright, so it was just
Speaker 1: It was a winter wonderland.
Speaker 2: It was unbelievable.
Speaker 1: You're reminding me that tomorrow, as I start my weekend, Sonny and I are going to need Thio, head up to stone and pick one of the trails to go on for for a winter height because it just is. It is so magical. It's the kind of thing that I mean clearly you can hear it in in Dan's and and my voice like we we it fills us up in the winter. It's the thing that makes for me the cold worth it, you know, It's like you put it all together and and it's that fresh, crisp air. And that's super strong sunlight that does actually feel warm. And then just that sparkle everywhere. And it just it's that it is magical, magical winter wonderland Up here we will stop gushing about where we are right now because we have a show to do, don't we? Although
Speaker 2: what I could do is play this back for you during mud season, and we could spend an equal amount of time talking about mud season.
Speaker 1: That's true. We could do that another time. Oh, the weather in Vermont, and I've got to admit there's something about
Speaker 2: this first snow arriving just right in the middle of the holiday season, a week before the Christmas holiday.
Speaker 1: It feels like another decoration. The other
Speaker 2: decorations air coming up the lights. The
Speaker 1: oh, that is a really beautiful way to put it. I like that. It's another decoration. It's like if I
Speaker 2: could dial it up. I want picture postcard perfect white snow framing my windows when I'm looking out. Please it just blow some on there. That'd be great.
Speaker 1: No, it does. It does make winter holidays all the more special, and we'll be celebrating Christmas at at my parents house this week, too. And I'm hoping the snow last in the valley. We didn't get quite nearly as much as you up in the mountains. Eso I'm hoping it sticks around that the weekend doesn't get to the curb. E hope so. I hope so. For us up in the Northeast, that beautiful, snow covered holiday is really is really nice to experience. Not that we can't handle a green Christmas, too, but it's it's fun to be the picture postcard. Okay, I'm just going to say it is fun to be that sometimes snow just lends to it so well rather than thin. All the kind of dead twigs, like a dead twig with the snow, is just so cool.
Speaker 1: Fine with snow, it's just more magical. And I say to
Speaker 2: myself, for our listeners that aren't somewhere where there's this seasonal rotation that
Speaker 1: or don't appreciate snow. Maybe it's just a mental departure. Maybe it's nice just to hear about it and hear
Speaker 2: about people that are enjoying
Speaker 1: it.
Speaker 1: Or you could say that we've got cabin fever and this is just kicking out on snow big time. But it is fun. This will be a fun filled holiday week. I know I'm excited. Thio celebrate. Dan, are you excited to celebrate with the girls this week? I mean, it's there. They're getting old enough like the kids are old enough. Christmas is really magical.
Speaker 2: I can't even tell you, Pooch and I were high fiving because she let Indonesia in on her plan to build a gingerbread house on Christmas Eve.
Speaker 1: And that's so cute.
Speaker 2: The idea is that she wants to kind of build this into a tradition, and we might leave it out to see if Santa takes a bite or something. On day, she got a little mad at her, didn't get mad at her, but kind of scolded her. I was like Mom, this is a surprise. That's supposed to happen at Christmas E to which I that that was what inspired the high five. Because I just we're doing it. It worked. She's loving the anticipation. She's loving the secrets on others. Behalf. It's just it's such a pleasure.
Speaker 1: Z really, You know, you guys are doing it wrong. It's a surprise. E love that, um Well, I've been having fun picturing you all getting ready for the holiday. I know that you are very
Speaker 2: proud of your Charlie Brown Christmas tree this year, which arias trying to disassemble every chance
Speaker 1: she gets. Eso itt's got decorations
Speaker 2: like about a foot and a half in the air up or 2 ft 2.5 of being the air
Speaker 1: up. That's really funny.
Speaker 1: Oh, well, even though we've got holiday and snow on the brain, do you think that we should get to the show so we could get to some questions? Let's do it. Awesome Etiquette is here to answer your questions. You can email them toe awesome etiquette and Emily post dot com. Leave us a voicemail or text at 802858 k i n d. That's 8028585463 Or you could reach us on social media on Twitter. Where at Emily Post inst on instagram We are at Emily Post Institute and on Facebook were awesome etiquette. Just use the hashtag awesome etiquette with your social media posts so that we know you want your question on the show.
Speaker 1: Our first
Speaker 2: question this week is about a co vid Christmas. Hi, Lizzie and Dan. I was wondering if you could help me out with a bit of a situation I'm facing. I worked at a talent agency and have very close working relationships with clients that I represent around this time of year. I typically send them a Christmas present on behalf of myself and the agency I work for. However, this year, because of the co vid pandemic and subsequent economic fallout, my company has decided to forgo gifts.
Speaker 1: It seems a
Speaker 2: bit Scrooge E, but considering the massive budget cuts we had to implement to stay afloat during this really hard time, it makes sense.
Speaker 2: My question is this. How
Speaker 1: would you
Speaker 2: recommend handling this? Do I acknowledge it with my clients and explain the reason, or does that make it even more awkward. Some of them typically give me a gift as well, which would make me feel so uncomfortable considering I'm not giving them anything this year. Any help you could offer would be so greatly appreciated. Sincerely. Co vid Christmas Crisis
Speaker 1: Co vid Christmas crisis I want to offer you respectfully and distance so a virtual reassurance hug like you don't gift giving is not doesn't have to be reciprocal. So if anyone gives you a gift this year, even if you typically would have done in exchange, focus on that gift that they are giving you and the generosity that's coming your way and that will be a beautiful exchange. But if you if you focus instead on what you don't have or how bad you feel about not having something and trust us, it's not easy. Like Dan and I have both been in this situation and heard the words come out of our mouth. Um, I just feel so bad. I don't have something for you, but I'm so grateful for what you've given me, You know, it's like we even slip it in from time to time because that feeling is so powerful in the pressure is there. But I also want to help relieve that pressure and let you know that it is okay. And this is a year where so many people have had hard times, whether it's a gift not being reciprocated or whether it's not sending something out that you typically dio, people generally understand this year that that happens. I say, Send cards if you can. Dan, I'm running away with this answer. Do you want to jump in before I just keep going? Tonto, I'm like I got this. We got you. It's okay, is gonna be it. Okay, Holiday. But if you can send cards if you can't, especially with clients that you care a lot about or that have had that you've had really close relationships with them, you could always just call and wish them well if cards aren't even an option, which for some companies, they are not this year. So I just want to give you all the reassurance in the world. It's funny you mentioned. Do I say anything? Do I not? And Dan, This is a place where we've been here before. When the recession hit a lot of companies and a lot of people had the same moment happened to them, a bad year or a couple of bad years, and they weren't able to do what they had done in the past. And when it came to service providers and holiday tips that you were giving out, that was a place where we suggested that you could make mention of it and just say, I know this isn't what I've been able to do in the past, but I want you to know your service was still so important to me this year and I did so appreciate it. But in this case, Dan, correct me if I'm wrong as a gift to your clients or others that you work with. I don't see it as much of a need to make mention that you're not giving a gift, that it's just a card or that it's just a phone call with well wishes this year. Yeah, for me, this was
Speaker 2: the one part of the question where there was some subtlety in terms of the way you might approach it, and I was parsing it out in my mind as that if the explanation
Speaker 2: functions to keep the focus on your good wishes and the message that you're wanting to deliver. E could work Well, um, but you don't want the message of I'm not giving you anything this year to be the totality of the message so I wouldn't make an effort to reach out just to let someone know not to expect anything. But in the course of a different conversation, I might mention it as a way toe. Give them some context and some understanding about why something might be a little different this year. But I wouldn't make that the main event. I would make that something that I would some information that I would get across as part of other holiday well wishes again, really paying attention to dosage. So that message doesn't overwhelm the genuine note of appreciation or thanks or a happy holiday wishes that you're trying to deliver
Speaker 1: Covad Christmas crisis. We hope that this helps give you a little reassurance and that you can celebrate this season with bells on Dear Mommy and Daddy. I have gone to help Santa. Don't worry, Rudolph. That's me, Hori Rudolph. It's very dark here. Our next question is a Christmas card condolence, Dear Lizzie and Dan. I need your help. Ah, beloved great aunt died a week ago, just before Christmas. We're so sorry to hear that I have condolence notes for her eight grown Children to put in today's mail. They're not near me. And I had called Children of the three cousins that I'm closer to. As soon as I heard our conversations were wonderful, I feel so close to them and so connected to them by their loving, wonderful mother. She was special. So loving. She was 98 at peace with her beautiful life and ready to die.
Speaker 1: Do I still send my cousins Christmas cards? We're all missing her. Is it callous to send a smiling photo of my family so soon after telling them I'm sorry about the loss of their mother? Although she was ready to die, we are all left missing her. I don't usually send all of these cousins a Christmas card, but I'm feeling a lot of love for them and wanting to keep connected. One of the reasons we send Christmas cards is to keep connected to the many friends and family we care about and don't interact with regularly. Is it better to send a card next year and not appear unfeeling while they're grieving. Thank you very much for considering this Best
Speaker 2: regards a loving cousin before I answer because by instinct was it's
Speaker 1: OK. I was gonna say like Dan and I will resoundingly say Send them, Send them all. Send a condolence notes to the cousins even though you've already had the conversation. If you feel compelled Thio, you don't have Thio, but send the Christmas card. What a not great opportunity but use that feeling of connection as that moment to now. Include them in your list each year. And honestly, during a time of grieving, it might be nice to see the smiling faces that have held your hand through it. Ah, loving
Speaker 2: cousin. Thank you so much for this question. You can feel the love for your great aunt coming through in terms of how you pose this to us. And
Speaker 2: I really appreciate the care you're taking with all of these relationships at this time and the thought that you're putting into doing this well, the big picture etiquette thought is it's okay. Send them. Send them all. Send the note of condolence that you're inspired to send and and send the holiday cards that you're inspired to send and remind yourself that they're different things and that they're gonna be arriving at the same time. But you're not putting them in the envelope together. Um, they really are cards that express different things. And they're both things that our beautiful, loving and potentially really important and maybe even uplifting for someone at a time that can be difficult.
Speaker 1: Absolutely. I Dan, I'm just in total agreement. And if you've had these wonderful conversations with the cousins, you might not need to send the condolence note unless you really feel like you want to do that as well. And it's it's perfectly fine to have the call and the card or just the phone call, if that felt more appropriate. I love that you're feeling like this has brought these cousins and you closer together and that they are people that you want to do things like send Christmas cards to or or send holiday cards, too, and I think that you wanna lean into that right now and imagine if you've had these great conversations. I think at least if I was your cousin. I would probably really love seeing your smiling face. And I'd remember that call that we had and it would warm my heart and it would make me really feel all the family that I have here who know and appreciate. You know, my mother, my aunt or whoever it is in the family and who remember them. It's it's like being more surrounded by family. I think it's much more likely that that would be the reaction you'd be receiving rather than someone you know, being upset. I can't speak for everyone in every opinion, but my guess is it would be a good thing, Dan. I don't know if we have anything else. I think we're just It's just always so nice. Thio, get to give the encouraging advice of Yes, yes, do it, Do it you know it is. My final
Speaker 2: thought was an extra layer of encouragement, which is that if for whatever reason, you end up not sending the holiday cards this year, remember that thought that I want to start a tradition with these people and absolutely do it next year when it feels right to you
Speaker 2: a loving cousin. We're so sorry to hear about your loss and really appreciate the question that you gave us today. You can feel the love in your family from
Speaker 1: here.
Speaker 1: All right. Thank you.
Speaker 1: Thank you.
Speaker 1: Yeah.
Speaker 1: Our next question is about American etiquette
Speaker 1: Lizzie and
Speaker 2: Dan. For a while now, my wife and I have playfully teased one another about how we hold our silverware. I learned from my American family while she learned from her Danish stepmother. However, now that she's got a job where she may have toe have meals with clients were wondering if she should use um or American style as we live in America. Audrey and Elissa,
Speaker 1: Audrey and Elissa. Thank you so much for writing in with this question. I am going to go out on a limb and venture a guess, but damn, I really want you to weigh in as the business seminar, etiquette expert or business etiquette seminar expert. I should say I think that at this stage, and given that there isn't a huge difference between the styles like, it's not like a jarring or confusing difference that I would just say eat is your most used to eating? Because you'll I'm imagining you'll be more elegant that way as a full adult who's been eating this way successfully for a long time. Am I wrong, Dan? I don't think so. And, okay, a few s. So this is
Speaker 2: where I'm going to confess. Um ah, certain degree of ignorance about the details and the specifics of Danish dining customs. That's true. And if we're talking about the difference between the American and the Continental style of dining, so they're the big distinction is in the continental or European style. Your fork is held in your left hand times down while you cut a bite of food with your knife in the right hand, and it stays in that hand in that orientation with the same grip to bring the bite to your mouth. And in the American style. Oftentimes the knife is set down on the plate. The fork transitions from the left hand to the right. The grip switches. The times we're now facing up the fork looks maybe more like a spoon would look in this orientation. And if if that's the difference, that
Speaker 2: is the major difference between the American and Danish style of eating. It matters not a wit. Uh, in fact, we tell people that it's OK to transition between those styles during the same meal within the same course to really use which everyone makes it Easiest. Eat your food because as you point out, it's that feeling of ease and comfort when you're eating. That puts other people of these and makes you feel confident. So,
Speaker 1: ladies and gentlemen, that is why we have Daniel Post sending doing seminars. I love the description. You've done that description so many times, it just rolls right out
Speaker 2: where I run into a question is, is there something about Danish table manners that I don't know? Do you hold your spoon with your fist? Or in a way that looks like an awkward grip to the eye of someone who's really used to seeing
Speaker 1: American dining or Western? But
Speaker 2: yeah, the American or the European style, where you hold the fork and spoon and knife a certain way. Alright, Lizzie Post. So can I get myself into a little bit of trouble here? Uh
Speaker 1: oh. You want to stir up trouble at the end of the question? Yes, because this isn't a netiquette
Speaker 2: answer. This is entirely, uh a preference thing. And it's something that I I sometimes suggest when I'm teaching dining etiquette. And that's that, if
Speaker 2: far from because I'm in America adopting the American style as universally as possible because it really is okay to transition back and forth between those two ways of using a knife and fork. I sometimes encourage people who aren't as familiar with the Continental style to give it a try because it gives you more options at the table. And for me, having more options is all to the good. That's to my benefit. If there's something that's easier for me to cut meat Continental style, I could do that. If there's something that's easier American style, I could do that so far from front of restrict it. This is one of those places where I'd say, and this is where I'm taking a little bit of a risk here, maybe put me down on the side that says, Don't put yourself in a box, but try both and get good practice to both.
Speaker 1: Broadening horizons is always a good idea. Audrey and Alyssa. We hope our answer helps. Let us know how it goes.
Speaker 1: Awesome etiquette audience. If you're looking for a great last minute gift. Don't forget that many of our books are available as digital downloads for your Kindle or E reader and as audiobooks happy last minute shopping.
Speaker 1: Our next question is titled Venmo on a Wedding Announcement.
Speaker 1: Dear Lizzie and Dan. My daughter is getting married the day before Valentine's Day. Congratulations to her. It will be a very small cove. It's safe wedding ceremony. We're planning on sending out announcements. Hopefully, we can have a party for extended family and friends in the summer or fall. I was talking to a friend today about the wedding and sending out the announcements, she said, Oh, please include a Venmo user name. That's my favorite thing that's come out of the pandemic. We have received two wedding announcements this year with a Venmo user name printed at the bottom of the announcement. My daughter and I feel like this is very tacky. It looks so greedy, but my friend says that she loves the ease of it. She sends them a little wedding greeting with the money, and they send her thank you right back and she's done. She suggested putting a Venmo user name on the wedding website. If we didn't want a printed on the announcement. My daughter doesn't want to do that either. What is the proper etiquette in this case? Best mother of the bride M O B.
Speaker 1: I love it when m o. B is right in there. Always good questions. This is a great question. This is
Speaker 2: a great question. And correct me if I'm wrong, because as I venture into wedding territory, But
Speaker 1: do it, do it. This doesn't sound
Speaker 2: good to me. I
Speaker 1: don't know. Did you? Are you kidding me? Did you hear your reaction? You
Speaker 2: know, I don't know about tacky or greedy, but I want to return to the etiquette concept that you really want the
Speaker 2: the news to be the news and the excitement to be about spreading that news. And we know that there are very, very firm prescriptions that say, you know, don't include registry information on the wedding invitation. And in this case, where the announcement is, really
Speaker 2: it's not an invitation, but it's serving toe to announce to tell everyone this good news.
Speaker 2: I want to apply that thinking that applies to the wedding invitation and treat this announcement with the same respect. And I like the follow up question because it lets us actually talk about something a little more detail, which is the idea of maybe putting that information on the wedding website. And that's a place where I would say Don't let that feeling of it feeling weird or awkward on the announcement prevent you from making it easy for people to get that information in ways that are appropriate. If they're seeking it out. So and oftentimes that wedding websites a great place to do that,
Speaker 1: you're absolutely right. But typically the wedding website is there as a plant, not a planning space. I mean sort of a planning space, but a resource for the guests and one of the big problems that I have with what mother of the bride's friend loves the other brides and couples doing. And
Speaker 2: this is why you write the wedding books cousins most.
Speaker 1: But this is this is the issue is that these people weren't guessed that your wedding and your fronting the idea that not only should they get you something, they should specifically send you money. Here's where to do it too, and we're assuming you use Venmo. There's just a whole lot going on there that is Rong from an etiquette, at least from an Emily Post etiquette perspective. And it's not not often that we do that where we're just straight up like that's just not good etiquette is that I think there are other ways to do what the recipient, the friend in this situation, has said she actually really appreciate it, because here we have someone telling us this thing, that whether you call it tacky or greedy or just inappropriate, um, it's something that we have someone saying I loved this. This was like, so great. Clearly, we have people that we want to celebrate, have the means to celebrate. But maybe we weren't a guest to that wedding, and I could see doing something where, instead of including your Venmo name or a registry link on an announcement, because you would never put it on the announcement. If if you were going to do it, you would do it on an enclosure with the announcement. But what I could see doing is putting an enclosure in that says, to see photos of the wedding or to see video of the wedding. Visit us at our wedding website once you're there, if they hop over to the registry section, that is totally up to them but giving them a reason to come to the wedding website to see some photos, see how everything went. I think that that's good. And, yes, they could probably go to a social media account. But if you know, if you wanted to create a space where a friend who hadn't been invited or family member who hadn't been invited had access to the ability to give something from the registry or to use a Venmo name, I think that's the way you would do it. And I'm not saying you have to, like, bribe them with photos of the website to get a gift out of them. That's not sort of the goal, but the goal is to not be straight upsetting. We got married. If you want to give us something, here's how to do it, which is exactly what that announcement with the Venmo user name does. OK, that's my rant. Just so you know Lizzie Post, I think that's a
Speaker 2: phenomenal answer, and I I so appreciate the distinction about a wedding website really being for guests, and it makes perfect sense when you start to map it out like that.
Speaker 2: And I'm also glad that you got into sort of the good etiquette of registries, how they're supposed to function, the idea really being that they're meant to be a resource for guests and that keeping that idea in mind, I think, helps you kind of modify and tinker with versions of that in a way that is appropriate and thinking about making things easier for people that want to do something is nice. It runs up against that risk of creating the wrong impression with that other subset of your guests who might not necessarily be looking for this particular kind of vehicle.
Speaker 1: Totally. I'm hoping this sort of work around We worked Thio come to the website to see the photos, and then that gives the guest an easy way toe to do a Venmo or something like that that might I'm hoping that that works. The other thing is that we should probably acknowledge that the bride herself has said she's not interested in doing any of this. You don't have to do any of this, even though you know that you have a guest who's saying, Oh, you're not a guest Even though, you know, you have announcement recipients saying Please do it. You don't have to lean into that unless you you know? Well, we shouldn't lean into it the way that she was suggesting. But if you did lean into it in the ways we suggested, we think it would be all right. But you also just don't have
Speaker 2: Thio, Mother of the bride. Thank you for this question. We really appreciate it. And good luck with the rest of the wedding planning.
Speaker 1: Thank you for your questions. Please send us updates or feedback on our answers. Toe awesome etiquette at Emily post dot com. You can leave a voicemail or text at 802858 kind That's 8028585463 Or you can reach us on social media on Twitter. We're at Emily Post inst on instagram where at Emily Post Institute and on Facebook were awesome etiquette. Just use the hashtag awesome etiquette with your social media posts, so we know you want your question on the show.
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Speaker 1: It's time for our feedback segment where we hear from you about the questions we answer and the topics we cover. And today we're hearing from Lubna. Hello,
Speaker 2: Lizzie and Dan. I just listened to episode number 3 27 and wanted to comment on the issue with the sweets. I have had a very similar issue during these covert times. Our family has restricted are socializing so we can regularly visit my in laws. They live a five hour drive away. On one such occasion, my father in law discovered I love Montreal bagels. Others don't even compare. These bagels are hard to find where I live, and he has found a place where he can get some. Since Covad times have started, I have gained a little with all the bread making and baking. I have come to see I need to cut back at home. I have limited my carbon take. However, every time we visit he buys me these bagels. I love eating them, but I know I need to stop. I didn't know how to say this to him because I can see he buys them just for me with so much love. So when we were heading home last time, I asked if I could put the remaining in the freezer instead of taking them home. As he was insisting, I told him, I'm trying to cut down on my carb intake and I will definitely enjoy them next time. But
Speaker 1: maybe not
Speaker 2: every day. Let's see. We're planning to head there next week. I think I might bring my protein powder and spinach for my smoothies. As another hint. I'm not quite sure how my situation can help the other listener, but I feel you warm. Regards, love.
Speaker 1: Thank you so much for writing in with that feedback. It a It makes me really want a Montreal bagel. We feel you were close to Montreal and the I think it's it is a good solution. I like that. I'm gonna put this in the freezer or help me portion this out a little bit. Not not a bad tactic to take. And I think I
Speaker 2: might have just heard Pooch's ears perk up somewhere when she heard protein powder in spinach E.
Speaker 2: Uh huh. Thank you so much for sending us your thoughts and updates. Please do keep them coming. You can send your next feedback update or salute awesome etiquette at Emily post dot com. Or you can leave us a voicemail or text at 8028 by the kind That's 8028585
Speaker 1: 463
Speaker 1: It's
Speaker 2: time for our post script segment, where we dive deeper into a topic of etiquette,
Speaker 1: and today we're continuing
Speaker 2: with Margaret Visser. But
Speaker 1: this time in a
Speaker 2: bit of a holiday mood are
Speaker 1: reading. Today is on feasts. It's true. It is. Uh, this could be found on Page 29 30 of visors. Book
Speaker 1: food is tradition, largely because a taste acquired is rarely lost and tastes and smells, which we have known in the past, recall for us as nothing else can the memories associated with um, Marcel Proust made remembrance of things past, one of the longest novels ever written arise out of a bit of cake, which one day he soaked in tea. Justus had been the custom in his childhood. Ah, shudder ran through him and an exquisite pleasure. He could not at first fathom, and then he understood.
Speaker 1: Quote, taste and smell alone. More fragile but more enduring, more substantial, more persistent, more faithful remain poised a long time like soles, remembering, waiting, hoping amid the ruins of all the rest. So in that moment, all the flowers in our garden and in M. Swan's park and the water lilies on the Viva and the good folk of the Village and their little dwellings and the parish church and the whole of calm bray and its surroundings taking shape and solidity sprang into being town and gardens alike. From my cup of tea
Speaker 1: end quote feasts by means of structure and ritual deliberately used the powerful connotations of food to recall origins and earlier times. They also attempt to be events in themselves, unforgettable in order to furnish recollections for the future.
Speaker 1: The food served at festivals is therefore not only richer and more splendid than what we usually eat, but also traditional inherited from the past and intended to be experienced as ancient custom. The recipes and the lower associated with it, are to be handed on by us for use again in ritual celebrations. Festive food is both out of the ordinary, and if the festival is a recurring one, always the same. English Christmas pudding and brandy soaked Christmas cake is heavy, sweet and rich. It is eaten in the depth of winter when we can permit ourselves dense food that quote unquote sticks to our ribs.
Speaker 1: Even then, in the context of the seasons, feasting a tiny bit suffices once we have recovered from Christmas, were quite happy to wait a year before. Trying the cake and putting again dried fruit mixes require long, hard work in the making and the maturing of them. Time taken in the preparation of festival food is part of the value attributed to them and focuses attention upon that value. There is a tendency also to associate very dark foods such as coffee, chocolate, truffles, caviar, kips as well as plum cake with excitement and luxury. We feel obscurity that such strange dark stuff must be meaningful. And ancient fruit puddings and cakes do have very old roots, but the modern forms of them are quite recent. Ritual adaptations were eating culinary history and value as well as family memories.
Speaker 1: I just loved that. Could we just keep going? Could we just keep
Speaker 2: going for a long time?
Speaker 1: It was like it made me so ready to fees. Well, what? I mean, she goes on into into weddings and the wedding cake itself, And that's why I decided to stop. But it did. It created all those feelings for me, and I don't know if that's, um, that's just like a pallet I like. Or if it's that cold North northern New England winter. But I just in my mind I was like this or this is so right on.
Speaker 2: I love her vision, and I love her specificity in her detail when she's talking about very particular things, but almost like this arm or when she pulls back a little bit and she thinks broadly about something like feasting and she gets poetic about it, and it really is, um, it's rich. What she's what she's describing, the way food is mawr than just the nourishment of our bodies, the way it functions culturally and sustains us on so many levels and becomes a vehicle for history and relationships and experiences. It's it's phenomenal. I I so appreciate her her vision on this
Speaker 1: and to start it all with that beautiful quote, you know that just that simple cup of tea could evoke someone's entire childhood. It was just such a great place to lead us off into the world of traditional feasts and the foods that comfort us, and and it's it's funny, I think about the foods that my family chooses to eat. Um, when we celebrate Christmas or Thanksgiving together, which are the two big ones that we come together for and it is so important there years we're trying to change it and hasn't worked, you know, or we've only been able to add in Mawr and not take away things that that we really love. But it's so a part of that particular in our house, our table, you know what I mean? And to to see those foods there. I
Speaker 2: found myself with a very similar reflection that with us spending this holiday sort of alone in our house, not attending some of the family gatherings. The last thing that occurred to me as I was doing my holiday planning was to get some of the specialty foods right that were often a part of those gatherings. And I it was It was sort of that what one of those last little puzzle pieces to trying to build versions of traditions that I've known my whole life that are gonna work right now. And it was that a component was a thing. Smoked pheasant, whatever it is,
Speaker 1: exactly. Oh, no, it's it is. It is true, and it was such a comfort to read it. I hope that it can help inspire Cem Cem good comfort and traditional feasting throughout the awesome etiquette audience, Whether you are celebrating on your own or whether you are celebrating with family and friends or celebrating with family and friends, virtually, we want to wish you a really, really happy holiday week
Speaker 1: towards the day before Christmas, and all through
Speaker 2: the hills, the reindeer were playing, enjoying the spills of skating
Speaker 1: and coasting and climbing the willows on hopscotch and leapfrog, protected by pillows on
Speaker 1: way like to end our show on a high note. So we turn to you to hear about the good etiquette you're seeing and experiencing out in the world, and that can come in so many forms. And today we hear from Alex.
Speaker 1: Dear
Speaker 2: Lizzie and Dan. I love the show and have been listening since the beginning. Thank you for all you dio the question and episode number 3 26 about sending a thank you note to someone's office when you're pretty sure they're working from home. Inspired me to submit this salute to the show. I am a museum educator in Washington, D. C. And the pandemic has had me working from home since March. In October, I hosted a virtual field trip for a second grade class in California. The kids were great. They were so curious about the story I had to tell the asked fantastic questions. It really was such a delight.
Speaker 2: Fast forward to December. I went into my office for just the second time in nine months to retrieve some supplies for my work from home. Set up on my desk were two thank you notes from this class dated back in October. The teacher had organized both sections of her students to sign these cards, thanking me for a wonderful virtual field trip. My heart grew three sizes that day. Great grand reverence. Working from home has been challenging and zoom fatigue is a real issue. These thank you notes reminded me why I love my job. So hats off to the teacher for modeling the good etiquette of hand written thank you notes Amidst a pandemic that has transformed classroom teaching and in spite of the challenges of remote and hybrid learning to the students for being awesome and to the whole class for being such a wonderful group in October and for spreading gratitude and joy across the miles many thanks, Alex.
Speaker 1: Alex, that is a fantastic salute. Thank you so much for sending it to us. It is exactly the kind of
Speaker 2: thing we want to hear about. And I'm just gonna have to insist that you send a link to this episode to whoever your contact person is at that school. Because I would love for the teacher and the class to hear what an impact their efforts made on you. Thank you so much for sharing this salute
Speaker 2: on. Thank you for listening and thank you to everyone who sent us something and thank you to everyone who supports us on Patryan.
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Speaker 1: Our show is edited by Chris Albertine and assistant produced by Brigitte Dowd. Thanks Kristen. Frigid