Foodways
Holidays
Rituals, festivals, holidays

Oyster stew on Christmas

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INFORMANT: We had a nasty tradition growing up that I absolutely hated.

 

ME: What was it?

 

INFORMANT: Well papa was really German and, I guess, proud of his German heritage, and it’s an old German tradition to eat oyster stew at big meals, so he made us all eat the stew at Christmas dinner even though none of us liked it. I don’t even think he liked it at the end of the day.

 

Background

The informant’s father’s grandparents were the ones who raised him and were from Germany. This close line to Germany made the informant’s father extremely proud of his heritage, especially because of the immense respect he had for his grandparents.

 

Context

The informant currently lives in Dallas but grew up in the small town of Garner, Iowa (population: 2,000 people).

 

Thoughts

Tradition plays a crucial part in how one identifies one’s self. The informant’s father clearly identifies heavily with his german heritage, and wants to hold onto all German traditions, even if he does not necessarily like the tradition itself. These traditions give him some sense of being apart of a group and, therefore, being apart of something bigger than himself.

 

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