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.
Richard L Cuthbert was born in Savannah, Georgia. His father was in the United States Air Force and Richard ending being raised by his paternal grandmother. He moved to Compton, California with his relatives from his father’s side of the family. It is here where he met his high school sweetheart, Twesa Cuthbert. They had two children together. Richard (now widowed) currently lives in Rialto, California with his daughter, Keesha Cuthbert.
One thing that I have a hard time eating from any other woman is spaghetti. I know that it is probably just a silly superstition, and I wouldn’t exactly say that I am a superstitious man, but every time I see a plate of spaghetti that I didn’t prepare I get a weird feeling. As the story goes, women, especially from the South, that are islanders in any way … I’m talking Jamaican or those women that practice voodoo, sometime put blood from their women’s cycle into the sauce. Supposedly this is to make the mean that eat it fall under some sort of spell and be in love with them. I personally think that this is disgusting and I cannot imagine any woman doing something that nasty. I also can’t figure why, if they did do this, that they wouldn’t put it in a more Creole dish, like gumbo or jumbalaya. A dish that has more to do with their heritage. Spaghetti has nothing to do with them, so in a lot of ways I don’t believe it. But … women ARE crazy so I don’t know.