Keepers Of Tradition
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Enjoying lunch after prayers and chanting at Trairatanaram Temple in N. Chelmsford, MA. Photo by Maggie Holtzberg.
Dottie Naruszewicz Flanagan about to boil pierogi she has just made, Lowell, MA. Photo by Maggie Holtzberg.
Freshly baked bagels at Rosenfeld's in Newton Centre, MA. Photo by Maggie Holtzberg.
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A region’s foodways, (e.g., Boston baked beans and the ubiquitous cod), emerge out of both its cultural resources (the people who live there) and its natural resources.

Ethnic identify, the meaning of family, and the significance of religious beliefs can all expressed through food. Home cooks are de facto keepers of traditions. Special occasion foods are customarily prepared for religious and secular holidays, and rites of passage. On Christmas Eve, Italian families sit down to a feast of seven fishes, while

Polish families serve their pierogi. Southeast Asians prepare special rice balls as offerings to the monks during Cambodian Ancestor’s Day, Pchum Ben.

"They look like Italian ravioli, Chinese pot stickers, empanadas — every culture has its version of the same thing," says Carol Matyka of Polish pierogi.

Foodways have holding power; immigrants bring with them traditions and memories associated with their native foodways. Long after adapting their dress, work, and ways of speaking to American ways, their notions about old-country foodways endure within the family and in public and private events and celebrations.