CONTEXT: MM is a third year student at USC, originally from Pennsylvania. He describes a tradition he learned from his grandmother of eating spaghetti and meatballs on Christmas. This tradition is very important to him and he reflects positively on it.
MM: We had to eat spaghetti and meatballs on Christmas. We’ve done it as long as I’ve been alive. I don’t know if we did it until we moved to Pennsylvania. I don’t know. It’s associated with family. It used to be my grandma always did it, but she’s not quite able to anymore; she’s pretty old. So my aunt took over, usually. But someone has to do it, but it’s fine whoever does it. I’ll probably continue to do it, it’s the celebration meal. It’s a special thing.
ANALYSIS: This is a foodway and a way of marking a religious holiday, Christmas. It is a traditional food for MM’s family and is associated with family all being together. MM indicates that there is no hierarchy of who is allowed or who should make the meal, but one person is in charge of it. It is possible that that person is a responsible party, and seems to be typically an older member of the family. MM associates the meal with celebration and his grandmother. It has to be homemade, indicating that the time and effort put into the dish is important, potentially due to the fact that it means more time spent together as a family. Christmas is a major holiday for MM’s family, so this dish is for special occasions. MM plans to continue this tradition.