We all come from different walks of life, but In my own experiences, I have seen that "It is food and our experiences brings us all together". Everyone comes from different cultures and backgrounds, yet we all seem to come with memories and fondness for our own childhood recipes. Whether that is the perfect Apple Pie or something as simple as Macaroni and Cheese, our family holiday recipes and food experiences are what links us all together. I had the privilege for this story of interviewing my friend Alex. His family tradition growing up was making pies. It was more than just a ritual, but a family tradition and gathering.

For my friend Alex’s family, that tradition happened on Pie Day. His family would gather on that day every year, and hold a party where his various family members would bring pies of many varieties. One of the most popular pies at his gatherings was a Mud Pie. According to Alex, the Mud Pie was an “Oreo Pudding Pie with Gummy Worms.” One of his favorite memories growing up was mashing up Oreo cookies for this pie. He had fond memories of eating all the cream from the oreos with his brother. He also said what was fun too was just getting to smash all the oreos.

Food and Family

What's funny is as I talked to Alex and heard this story, I was reminded of my own childhood memory of making an Oreo Ice Cream Pie with my Mom and twin sister, Holly. Like Alex, I also grew up loving smashing the Oreos for making this pie. I think Alex said it perfectly when he asked me to imagine, “Three little kids just having their way, and just smashing things”. It was pure liberation, and a chance for us to release our hyper energy that we all had as children. It is funny how Alex and I came from different families, yet we still share mutual cooking memories.

Another fond memory of Alex’s growing up, was making one of his first Apple Pies with his grandmother. It was for a class project where he had to make a dish of some sort and bring it in to share with his fellow classmates. The pie was a mouthwatering confection with “cinnamon apples, a crushed graham cracker crust and drizzled caramel on top.” The pie was so delicious that his Grandfather actually ate most of the pie on his own. Alex said the old proverb is usually, “The dog will eat your homework,” but for his case, it was “In a cooking class, your family eats your homework.” So his family had a good laugh about it, and started the whole pie making process again. It was a story he will never forget. The last pie story Alex shared with me was when he made Pumpkin Pie with his family. This specific time though, his family decided to use real fresh pumpkin instead of “preserved canned pumpkin”. He said “It was a soupy pie” and didn’t solidify well. He did say the pie was delicious, but there was so much extra pie filling that some of it went into the actual pie, and some got turned into a pumpkin pudding. It may not have been the cleanest pie, but it was a specific and special moment for Alex and his family.

I know one of the special moments for me growing up was making Peppermint Bark every year with my Mom, Dad, sister, and my Grandma. She would come every year on a chilly winter day, and for a couple of hours together we would work as a team making this delicious treat. We worked as an assembly line almost, and it was actually really relaxing. As we cooked, we would share stories and just catch up. After the Peppermint Bark was done, my sister and I would deliver it like little Christmas elves to teachers, neighbors, and those who were important to us in our lives. It was a sweet little gesture that I look back at with much fondness. Some years, my Grandpa and Uncle Augusto would help as well.

These are memories that I will forever cherish. Especially after last year when my grandpa sadly passed away, it reminded me how fleeting these times we have are. For that reason, we have to embrace these little moments of bonding and warmth that we get with our family. Whether that is baking a pie or breaking pieces of Peppermint Bark, cooking is a rare form of bonding that manages to be incredibly personal yet also universal. I think Alex described it perfectly when he said that “So much entanglement of these memories.. and it just holds a lot of nostalgia.” It is food and experiences that brings us all together. It is important as we go on in our busy hectic lives to hold onto those memories, and most importantly to embrace those we love and cherish.