Author Archive
Foodways

Taco Caserole

Title: Taco Caserole

Category: Recipe/Food

Informant: Lisa L. Gabbard

Nationality: American, caucasian

Age: 58

Occupation: Housewife

Residence: 5031 Mead Drive/ Doylestown PA, 18902 (Suburban Home)

Date of Collection: 4/8/18

Description:

Ingredients:

– 1 -1 1/2 lbs ground beef

– 1 pkg taco seasoning

– 1 can stewed tomatoes

– 1 can sliced mushrooms

– 1 med. onion, chopped fine

– Shredded Mexican cheese

– 1 can cut green beans

– 1 can wax beans

– 1 can kidney beans

– Tortilla chips

– Cottage cheese or sour cream

– Sliced or whole black olives

Directions

– Cook meat and onion together until meat is brown and onions are opaque. Drain well. Add taco seasoning, simmer several minutes until well blended (10-15min). Drain all beans well— removing as much moisture as possible. Add all remaining ingredients to meat mixture, except cheeses, and mix well. Place casserole in a pre-heated 350 degree oven until very hot and bubbly. Remove from oven and cover with Mexican cheese. Return to oven until melted. Crush tortillas in plate. Cover with casserole mixture. Add cottage cheese or sour cream to garnish.

Context/Significance:

Lisa L. Gabbard was in a relationship with a man by the name of James Weathersby in her late twenties/early thirties (1980s). As she grew closer to this man she began attending dinner at his family’s home along with James’s brother Brad Weathersby and mother. During this time The Weathersby Family lived in Columbus Mississippi. Mrs. Weathersby introduced the recipe to Lisa L. Gabbard where she then introduced the recipe to her own mother, Gladys R. Lewis. After the conclusion of Lisa L. Gabbard and James Weathersby’s relationship, Gladys R. Lewis then took the recipe and claimed ownership in her Pilot’s Club annual recipe book without Lisa L. Gabbard’s knowledge.

The recipe has existed and altered throughout the past 30-40 years. Lisa L. Gabbard then introduced the recipe to her current spouse Kurt A. Gabbard and their three children Hunter A Gabbard, Mallory A. Gabbard, and Schuyler A. Gabbard. At one time the recipe included “bacos” as garnish— this garnish has not existed in the Gabbard Family recipe for the past 21 years. The recipe has been shared with houseguests and friends of The Gabbard Family.

This recipe has become a staple of The Gabbard Family household. The children have been unaware of the origin of the recipe with the exception of Mallory A. Gabbard after questioning her mother for information regarding prior relationships before her eventual marriage to Kurt A. Gabbard. This recipe is often served on busy weeknights because of its speedy and easy preparation or on hispanic inspired holidays such as Cinco De Mayo. This recipe is either served on a plate or in a bowl and is often accompanied by queso and tortilla chips.

Personal Thoughts:

Taco Casserole has been a favorite of mine since childhood. The recipe includes a variety of vegetables that come canned, making it relatively cheap and somewhat healthy in moderation. It’s easy to make and I’ve personally altered the recipe: I do not include bacos, or kidney beans. Instead of draining the pot between steps, I create a faux stew that infuses the vegetables with the meat juices and taco seasoning. I do not bake the final product and instead serve the cheese on the side to be placed on an individual’s serving at their own discretion. I only ever use whole black olives.

Childhood
Gestation, birth, and infancy
Holidays
Life cycle
Material
Rituals, festivals, holidays

The Birthday Tablecloth

Title: The Birthday Tablecloth

Category: Ceremonial Object

Informant: Lisa L. Gabbard

Nationality: American, caucasian

Age: 58

Occupation: Housewife

Residence: 5031 Mead Drive/ Doylestown PA, 18902 (Suburban Home)

Date of Collection: 4/8/18

Description:

The Birthday Tablecloth is a white cotton blend table cloth belonging to the child whose birthday is taking place. The tablecloth is taken out of storage annually for the person’s birthday. Beginning when they are an infant and ending around the age of 18, usually when the person stops having organized childhood birthday parties, the tablecloth only makes an appearance once a year for the party itself. Guests arrive to the birthday party, sign-in to the event on a piece of paper or book placed on a table near the front entry, and then approach the cloth on a table immediately next-to the sign-in. The guest then places their hand on the tablecloth and their hand is outlined with a fabric marker by the adult manning the sign-in process. After having their hand traced, the participant then signs their own name on the tablecloth on or around where their handprint falls. The guest is then allowed into the party with the other guests. After the party has concluded, the tablecloth is taken to the sewing room for additional steps.

The party title, aka age of child whose birthday has taken place or theme of the event, is catalogued on the side of the tapestry in a small colored font that represents the theme of the party that occurred. The handprints for that event are then sewn over and embroidered by machine in the same color. The signature of the party-goer is also embroidered in the same color, permanently sealing their handwriting at that stage of life.

Context/Significance:

The Birthday Tablecloth is taken out each year for the child’s progressive birthdays. The table cloth will evolve into having a collection of handprints all overlapping each other, in different colors, and progressive sizes until the birthday table cloth is no longer used at the birthday celebration. The tablecloth shows the progression of the child’s age (size of handprints), friendships (which guests are invited from year to year), and interests (theme of birthday party thrown). Each child has their own birthday tablecloth. Sometimes the parents of children attending birthday parties will sign the tablecloth as well and adult handprints and signatures are visible. The tablecloth is the property of the child and it is able to be used whenever the child desires, however, the cloth is primarily only seen during birthday celebrations.

Personal Thoughts:

This has been my favorite birthday tradition. I loved getting to see my best friend’s name and handprint on the table cloth from years prior and having a record of the types of parties I’ve been thrown. Friends and family think that the tablecloth is super cool and a fun special way to remember a celebration. The whereabouts of all three of The Gabbard Family birthday tablecloths are unknown at this point (We’ve moved several times and each move things just get burred deeper and deeper within cardboard boxes and tubber-ware).

Adulthood
Folk Beliefs
Initiations
Life cycle
Material
Rituals, festivals, holidays

The Zeta Tau Alpha Belt/Sash

Title: The Zeta Tau Alpha Belt/Sash

Category: Ceremonial Object

Informant: Lisa L. Gabbard

Nationality: American, caucasian

Age: 58

Occupation: Housewife

Residence: 5031 Mead Drive/ Doylestown PA, 18902 (Suburban Home)

Date of Collection: 4/8/18

Description:

The sash/belt is made by the member being intimated into the Panhellenic sorority Zeta Tau Alpha (ZTA). The sash is composed of nine alternating ribbons in the ZTA colors: turquoise blue and steel grey. The sash is worn around the waist and over a white petticoat. The ZTA sash is only worn during two occasions of a woman’s life: ZTA initiation and the woman’s wedding day.

Context/Significance:

Zeta Tau Alpha is a Panhellenic social and philanthropic sorority. They are best known for founding the “Think Pink” breast cancer awareness campaign. The ZTA sash is hand made during a woman’s initiation ceremony and is worn over an all-white petticoat. After the woman is initiated into the sorority the woman will keep the sash in her possession until their wedding day. On their wedding day, the woman will wear the sash once more underneath her wedding gown and over the white petticoat (if applicable) beneath the dress’s fabric. The woman will generally make a point of letting the sorority sisters present at her wedding know that she is wearing it and show them prior to the ceremony.

Personal Thoughts:

It is interesting to gather this sorority tradition from my mother since there is no record of ZTA ever being present on USC’s campus and very few of my friends would know about their traditions. Traditionally, as a member of a Panhellenic sorority, female members are required by secret oath to withhold all secrets and traditions of their respective sororities to death and never tell others of their secrets. Luckily, my mother and I do not hold these secrets between each other and she shared this story with me. I understand this ritual to be a “full circle” sort of deal from initiation (innocence) to marriage (maturity). She explained to me that this was a way for her to share her wedding with her “sisters” and still keep them close as she moved on to the next phase of her life.

Customs
Festival
Foodways
Game
Life cycle
Magic
Material
Signs

Wedding Cake Charms

Title: Wedding Cake Charms

Category: Charms/Magic

Informant: Lisa L. Gabbard

Nationality: American, caucasian

Age: 58

Occupation: Housewife

Residence: 5031 Mead Drive/ Doylestown PA, 18902 (Suburban Home)

Date of Collection: 4/8/18

Description:

Wedding Cake charms are served in a woman’s bridal shower cake. The charms may include: A baby, plane, ring, etc. These charms are attached to ribbons and pushed into the cake before being iced. At the bridal shower, each woman attending, or bridesmaids in particular, will stand around the cake during the specified time and grab ahold of a ribbon at random. When instructed to do so, each woman will pull on their ribbons to unveil the charm attached to their ribbon.

Context/Significance:

Wedding charms are placed into the cake by whoever makes it, in this case, the bride in particular. The cake charms are pulled out by the bridesmaids or women close to the bride-to-be. The symbols of the cake charms are meant to represent what a woman will experience in her future. If a woman pulls out a baby it means that she will be expecting a child soon, a plane symbolizes future travel, and a ring may symbolize that the individual will be getting married soon. Each of these symbols represents something that will happen in future events.

Personal Thoughts:

I believe that wedding charms are a fun and interesting way to incorporate your friends and loved ones into your wedding ceremony. The charms themselves are used as magic token that have the ability to read your future. Because they are hidden in the cake, they are representative of how no one knows what their future may hold. The charms themselves also only seem to include optimistic and ideal situations of future events. This seems appropriate since the occasion they are used at is a celebration in preparation of joyous occasion. Marriage itself is a milestone and each of the charms also represent milestones (Marriage is even represented in the charms via a ring symbol). The charms give the bride a sense of control over the unpredicted future post marriage and allow for her friends to be both involved in the celebration of her union while also having something to look forward to in their personal lives.

Festival
Foodways
Material

Bridal Punch

Title: Bridal Punch

Category: Food/Recipe

Informant: Lisa L. Gabbard

Nationality: American, caucasian

Age: 58

Occupation: Housewife

Residence: 5031 Mead Drive/ Doylestown PA, 18902 (Suburban Home)

Date of Collection: 4/8/18

Description:

Ingredients:

– Ginger-ale/Seven-Up

– Pastel Sherbet Ice-cream in Wedding Colors

– Alcohol (Clear Consistency)

– Ice

Directions

– Combine Ginger-ale and alcohol in a large punch bowl or serving container. Add sherbet ice-cream to the combination and then ice.

Context/Significance:

Bridal Punch is served during the wedding reception of a couple. The bridal punch is based primarily on the colors of the ceremony, but specifically the color of the bridesmaids dresses. The punch can be served as either an alcoholic or non-alcoholic beverage. Bridal punch is greenly served alongside cake and cocktails. Bridal punch is allowed to all guests in attendance alongside the bridal party specifically.

Personal Thoughts:

Bridal punch reiterates the theme/colors of the wedding and promotes social drinking amongst guests/patrons to the couple. Bridal punch seems to honor the bridesmaids specifically during the wedding reception; As an almost “thank-you” to their involvement in the ceremony.

Game
Gestures
Life cycle
Magic
Material
Rituals, festivals, holidays

Turning of the Class Ring

Title: Turning of the Class Ring

Category: Ceremonial Object

Informant: Lisa L. Gabbard

Nationality: American, caucasian

Age: 58

Occupation: Housewife

Residence: 5031 Mead Drive/ Doylestown PA, 18902 (Suburban Home)

Date of Collection: 4/8/18

Description:

High School class rings are ordered in the fall of Junior year of high school and delivered to the individual in the spring semester. Class rings are worn exclusively by either Junior or Senior class standing individuals of the institution. Class rings generally tend to include: The individual’s year of graduation, a colored jewel, the institution’s name, the individual’s last name, and/or a significant activity important to the individual ordering the ring.

Once the class ring is delivered to the student, the student must then go around the school getting other students to “turn” their class ring. When turning the class ring, the individual asked will rotate the ring clock-wise in a full circle on the owner’s finger. The owner of the ring will then ask the participant to give their signature on a list in a notebook (or other recording device) with the other individuals who have turned their ring.

The number of times that the ring must be turned is indicated by the last two digits in the year of the student’s graduation. Example: Class of 2019 must get their ring turned 19 times. Class of 1977 must get their ring turned 77 times. The last person who should turn the ring is the student them-self.

Context/Significance:

Turning of the class ring is meant to bring the individual good luck and prosperity their senior year of high school as they round-out their high school education. The people who may be asked to turn someone’s class ring mostly include close friends, relatives, or significant teachers. Students in other grade levels are invited to turn people’s class rings since they the pool of people allowed to turn class rings is not exclusive to the Junior class alone. The names are meant to be collected and held on-to by the individual gathering the information.

Personal Thoughts:

The turning of the class ring is symbolic of a variety of things. The turning of the ring is representative of the end of a cycle. As these Juniors are in the late spring semester of the year, they are preparing for the final year of their pre-college education. It symbolizes the end of a significant part of their lives and the number of times it is turned is specific to the year of their graduation and the year that everything will change. This experience can be backed up by the phrase “coming full circle.”

The people who turn their rings is significant as well. These are the people who have generally held significant roles in the individuals life and have helped shape their character up to this stage of life. Of course, the last person turning the ring is the student them-self as they are acknowledging this change and recognizing the end of their informal education.

Childhood
Game

“Beanie-Baby” Safari

Title: “Beanie-Baby” Safari

Category: Children’s Game

Informant: Kurt A. Gabbard

Nationality: American, caucasian

Age: Upper 50s

Occupation: Princeton Seminary—Vice President of Business Affairs/Financial Consultant/CPA/CFO

Residence: 5031 Mead Drive/ Doylestown PA, 18902 (Suburban Home)

Date of Collection: 4/8/18

Description:

This is a game played between a child and their parent/guardian either in the evening or at night. The parent/guardian will take possession of the child’s “beanie baby”/stuffed animal toys. The child will then go to a separate area of the home where the game is not being played. The parent will then hide the child’s stuffed animals throughout the area of play. The lights are then turned off and parent brings the child a flashlight. The parent and child then embark on a “Safari” to find the stuffed animals hidden. The game is finished once all stuffed animals are found.

Context/Significance:

The “beanie-Baby” safari was a game my brothers and I played regularly throughout our childhood. Slight alterations have been made in the steps leading up to, during, and after the game has concluded. The child participants of the game will often times dress up in “safari” clothes before beginning the game and the parent will wear a “safari” hat. This game was played exclusively with our father, Kurt A. Gabbard, and it was played as a competition between siblings instead of a team oriented event. After ending the game, our father would assemble a camping tent in our front living room and the children would pile in pillows and blankets along with the stuffed animals before being read a story and being allowed to spend the night in the tent.

Personal Thoughts:

I enjoyed this game tremendously when playing with my brothers. We didn’t get to play this game on a regular basis as our father worked a nine-to-five job and often was dis-inclined to play after coming home late in the evening. Getting to play this game was a special activity as it requires a time-consuming set-up/deconstruction.

Folk Beliefs
Gestures
Magic
Material

St. Joseph Figurine

Title: St. Joseph Figurine

Category: Folk Object/ Ritual

Informant: Kurt A. Gabbard

Nationality: American, caucasian

Age: Upper 50s

Occupation: Princeton Seminary—Vice President of Business Affairs/Financial Consultant/CPA/CFO

Residence: 5031 Mead Drive/ Doylestown PA, 18902 (Suburban Home)

Date of Collection: 4/08/18

Description:

The St. Joseph figurine is used primarily by Catholic home owners when looking to sell their house. The figurine is buried at the corner of the property and must be buried upside down facing the entrance to the home. The figurine is often sold along with a prayer card which the user must say the prayer on the card after burying the figure and then everyday after until the home is sold.

The figurine is meant to bring good luck and will help to sell the property faster if used correctly. After the property sells, the miniature sculpture is dug up and placed on the mantle of the next home the person moves into. The figurine should be kept on the mantle until the next home is meant to be sold and the ritual repeated.

Context/Significance:

The Saint. Joseph figurine is a Catholic saint that is known in the religion as the patron saint of workers. Saint Joseph figurines (approximately the size of 3” tall) are sold in St. Joseph home-selling kits and are sometimes even included by realtors along with “for sale” signs and newspaper ads.

The figurine and ritual grew in popularity in the late 1980s and 1990s due to the housing crisis and re-arose in popularity during the 2008 housing crisis as well. People who participate in the ritual claim that their house that had previously been on the market for months or years, sold within weeks or even days after burying the saint.

Personal Thoughts:

My family has participated in the St. Joseph figurine ritual in every occasion where we’ve sold our house. My family is Catholic Christian and my father is the main family member who instills our religious traditions and practices. During my lifetime, my family has sold two houses, but moved six times. In both of the times that we’ve sold houses, my father has planted St. Joseph figurines and our properties sold within a month or two of the figurine being buried. My father and mother both believe strongly in the ritual and we have the figurine sitting on our mantle beside our family clock and horseshoe.

Annotation:

For another version of this practice, see:

https://www.catholiccompany.com/getfed/mystery-st-joseph-home-selling-kit/

MLA Citation:

Rabiipour, Nick, et al. “The Mystery of the St. Joseph Home Selling Kit.” Get Fed, 6 Aug. 2015, www.catholiccompany.com/getfed/mystery-st-joseph-home-selling-kit/.

Childhood
Customs
Game
Holidays
Material
Rituals, festivals, holidays

The Christmas Pickle

Title: The Christmas Pickle

Category: Ceremonial Object

Informant: Kurt A. Gabbard

Nationality: American, caucasian

Age: Upper 50s

Occupation: Princeton Seminary—Vice President of Business Affairs/Financial Consultant/CPA/CFO

Residence: 5031 Mead Drive/ Doylestown PA, 18902 (Suburban Home)

Date of Collection: 4/08/18

Description:

The Christmas Pickle is a tradition that takes place on the eve of Christmas. After returning from Christmas eve mass, the children are sent upstairs while the parents hide the pickle within the branches of the Christmas tree. The ornament in the shape and color of a normal pickle. After the pickle has been hidden in the tree, the children are then called downstairs to search for it. The first child to discover the pickle is then granted the first gift of Christmas.

Context/Significance:

The Christmas pickle is believed to be a German Christmas tradition but has recently been proven to have originated in the United States sometime around the late nineteenth century. The tradition is for a specific child to win the first gift of Christmas. The gift is usually a smaller preemptive Christmas gift that can usually be shared between children (i.e. a coloring book, or family board game). The tradition was passed down from my Father’s side of the family and our family has participated in the tradition for at least the past twenty four years.

Personal Thoughts:

My family has been involved with the tradition ever since my eldest brother’s birth and has evolved with our ages. When we were younger, the pickle was usually on the lower branches of the Christmas tree and was more easily located. As my brothers and I have gotten older, and since my family did not want to abandon the tradition, my parents have begun to hide the pickle more strategically to make the game more difficult to win. In recent years, the pickle has been found in the Christmas tree, in both indoor/outdoor wreaths, outdoor trees/bushes, and hidden within Christmas garland or within our Department 56 Christmas village.

Additionally, the Christmas gift has evolved into more adult items that we would like, for example: a gift card, a DVD, etc.

Image: 

Unknown

Childhood
Folk Beliefs
Foodways
Game
Holidays
Legends
Magic
Narrative
Rituals, festivals, holidays

The Great Pumpkin

Title: The Great Pumpkin

Category: Legend

Informant: Kurt A. Gabbard

Nationality: American, caucasian

Age: Upper 50s

Occupation: Princeton Seminary—Vice President of Business Affairs/Financial Consultant/CPA/CFO

Residence: 5031 Mead Drive/ Doylestown PA, 18902 (Suburban Home)

Date of Collection: 4/8/18

Description:

The night of halloween after trick-or-treating and the children have collected candy from neighboring houses, the great-pumpkin visits the house in the middle of the night after the children have gone to bed. Before going to bed, the children are instructed to give up about 1/4 of the candy they’ve collected that evening. The candy donated is a diverse collection from the children’s loot, but what gets donated is generally the candy least preferred by the children. The donated candy is put into it’s own candy bucket (in the shape of an orange pumpkin) and left on the doorstep with a note from the children. When the children wake up in the morning, the candy bucket is replaced by small gifts that the children can then play with.

Context/Significance:

The Great Pumpkin is a holiday entity similar to “Santa” or “The Easter Bunny” and visits a family’s house on the night of Halloween after the children have gone trick-or-treating. The Great Pumpkin comes to collect candy from the children of house so that he can take it to children in need who don’t get to go trick-or-treating. The Great Pumpkin teaches the children the importance of penance and giving back while also giving the children something to look forward to because of their donation.

Personal Thoughts:

In my family, the Great Pumpkin was used in a similar way with a few alterations. The Great Pumpkin came to take about 1/4 of each of our candy collections each Halloween. My parents made sure that we sacrificed candy that included some of our favorites as well as the candy we didn’t like as much. We didn’t know at the time, but my parents would then take this candy and re-use it in the piñatas for our birthday parties. As a small reward for donating some of our candy, my parents would then leave small gifts for us the next day as if the Great Pumpkin had brought them for us. An example of these gifts might be: a pack pf baseball cards, some barbie clothes, or a small lego set.

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