GUEST POST! The Magic of Food, Family & Tradition by Julia R. Barrett

My friend Julia is a great author, nurse, and super mom! She has written a lot of  books (see her on Amazon).  I’ve known her since my first few weeks of blogging so, wow, almost 6 years!

I like how Julia mixes tradition, food, love, and intimacy into her stories.  The tradition makes the relationships and intimacy stronger.  I asked her to write about that and her love of food.

Her latest short story (I enjoyed it a lot):

A Hanukkah Miracle

Pubilshed by Julia Barrett 
51 pages

Leah has had to listen to her mother’s nagging for months. It’s getting so much worse now that the holidays are approaching. Her mother seems bound and determined to find her a husband.

Leah, on the other hand, is determined to live life on her own terms. But it’s that time crazy of the year, a time for menorahs and candles, latkes, big family gatherings, cute guys, bad blind dates, and old-fashioned holiday fun.

Mix together a sexy Jewish delivery man, a dental chair, a sudden snowstorm and a latke competition and you get, just maybe, a Hanukkah miracle.

Guest Post Label Oblong


From Julia R. Barrett

I’m three people at once, a painter, a writer and a cook. We aren’t all that different, we three. We combine forces to create art. The writer in me creates art with words. The painter in me creates art with acrylics. The cook in me creates art with food. What do these activities have in common? They come from the heart. Each is a way, not only of creating something from nothing, or from disparate ingredients, but a way of giving back, of contributing to the family, friends, and society.
Art and food bring folks together.
I’m fortunate to have been born into a world where food and cooking mean family time. Yes, my grandparents were poor, my parents were poor, but poverty taught each generation in my family to be creative, to use every ingredient available, to waste nothing.
I’m also lucky enough to have come from a long line of cooks.

One of my mother’s great grandmothers had been a cook for the Hungarian Royal Family. (Which is pretty cool!) He passed his secrets on to his daughter. She, in turn, passed those secrets on to her daughter-in-law, my grandmother, who taught my mother hands-on cooking. My mother went on to get a college degree in Nutrition.

On the other side of my family, my great-grandmother, Mary, she of indeterminate ethnicity, was an amazing baker. She had no professional training whatsoever, yet she made everything from scratch. She was such a purist that when she came to live with my grandparents, my grandfather built her an outdoor wood-burning brick oven. Bubba Mary refused to cook indoors, regardless of weather. My father still talks about her cinnamon rolls. Of course none of us has been able to recreate these cinnamon rolls as Bubba Mary was illiterate and measured by the handful and the pinch.

I was exposed to these outstanding home cooks from birth. We made nearly everything from scratch, from breads to pickles to sauerkraut to jams and jellies to desserts. We always had an enormous garden and two freezers, so any produce we didn’t can went into the freezer. To this day my father is opposed to what he calls ‘store bought’.

My most cherished childhood memories are of mealtime– All of us, both extended families, gathered around my grandmother’s enormous maple table, chatting, laughing, passing  tasty dishes. Usually my grandfather provided the meat, either from his butcher shop or from a fishing or hunting trip.

My memories of holiday meals are especially precious.

My sisters and I have continued the tradition, passing on recipes and cooking techniques to the next generation, making more precious memories.

I often include my love of food- flavors, textures, colors, aromas, in my writing. The written word, the painted image, and a great meal are sensual treasures.

Happy Holidays! Julia



Julia’s website