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Today is Blog Action Day 2011. It is also World Food Day. This year's theme for Blog Action Day is Food. Bloggers all over the world are writing about this one theme, from their own unique perspective. To find out more, visit the Blog Action Day website. Read more of our Blog Action Day posts on Heifer Blog here

The following post is by Kim Nixon, assistant to the senior director of Branding and Communications at Heifer International. 

This is just about myfavorite time of the year. The holidays are almost here and for most peoplethis is when things start to get a little crazy – Halloween trick-or-treating,planning Thanksgiving, Christmas shopping, making sure Santa still exists toyour children, etc. For me, this is a time for family and food.   

I’m sure you’re thinking“Halloween is a time for family and food?” My best memories of Halloween arewearing costumes with my brothers and walking door to door asking for candy. Ilove the question “trick or treat.” As a kid I always wanted the treat becauseI loved having a big bag of candy. When I got home, I would always sort thecandy. I only realized later that my parents were checking the candy foranything to suggest that it may have been tampered with. For me, it was alwaysabout what kinds of candy I received – chocolate, suckers, hard candy, chewycandy, candy corn, etc. Finding pictures of us dressed up like vampires andangels remind me of a simpler time.

Thanksgiving is always afun time of the year. Apart from it being celebrated on or around my birthday,it’s a time for my extended family to get together. My dad is one of ninechildren. Every Thanksgiving, we all get together for the weekend – aunts,uncles, cousins, grandkids. We’re a growing bunch. For three days we laugh,play and cook together. Thanksgiving Day is particularly enticing. You wake upto the smell of chocolate gravy, biscuits, eggs, sausage, bacon and coffee.You’ve seen the cartoons where the main character is lifted from their bedfollowing the aroma of whatever is cooking. That’s my family. And it doesn’tstop there. As soon as breakfast is over, it’s time to start the Thanksgivingmeal which is somewhere between lunch and dinner. (I’d like to call it ‘lunner’or ‘dinch’ but it doesn’t have the same ring that ‘brunch’ has for the breakfast/lunchcombination.) With everyone in or around the kitchen, it’s fun to watch auntstelling cousins how to make the stuffing (which is a family secret) or kidsrunning in between everyone cooking. It’s a little crazy at times, but I’mthankful for my wonderful family. They truly make the meal with love. You wouldthink that Thanksgiving day is where it ends, but for my family this cooking andeating together continues until Sunday.

This brings us toChristmas. Christmas in my house is full of goodies. My mom cooks all of ourfavorite sweets – peanut butter balls, humdingers, and more. These are thingswe only make once or twice a year. Growing up, we made cookies for Santa. EachChristmas, I’d place them out and go to sleep with visions of sugar plumsdancing in my head. Well, it may not have been sugar plums but it wassomething. Each Christmas Day, Santa would have eaten a cookie or two and drankhis milk. And I would usually get something from my Christmas list under theChristmas tree. As you get older, some of these traditions stop…although Istill took pictures with Santa until I was well into my 20s. With atwo-year-old niece, we’ll be making cookies for Santa again.

Food has always been a wayto bring our family together whether it’s the joy of cooking our meal togetherin a cramped kitchen or enjoying the food prepared with conversation andlaughter. Most people think of Paula Deen when they think of Southern food –butter, butter and more butter. For me, Southern food is about family. It’s thememories you create that last long after the food is gone.


Heifer International

Heifer International is a nonprofit, non-governmental organization working with communities to end hunger and poverty while caring for the Earth.