September 21, 2022
November’s beauty radiates from within as the colder days draw us inside to gather together, find rest, and be nourished. We make time to linger around the table under warm candlelight, sharing conversation and meals that become memories.
Our holiday gatherings rotated between houses, the collective family favorite being “The Ojai, ” my Noni’s house. Growing up in a large Italian family, the table wasn’t just another piece of furniture. It was the heart of the home. Mealtime meant quality time, and all hands were on deck to make the event happen. My Noni began the ritual of setting the table days in advance. Polishing the silver, choosing the china pattern, arranging flowers from the garden, all these details created a beautiful space with intention.
The care poured into the food we shared was an effort that started long before it got to the table. My family grew vegetables and raised animals, living out a true farm-to-fork experience. Creativity and grit were values passed down through generations, and getting your hands dirty was a sure thing. My dad was great in the kitchen and passed on his passion for cooking to us. My grandmother and her sisters handed down a thoughtful way to share some homegrown goodness with their tradition of gifting canned goods or fresh cookies to our neighbors and friends.
Dinner would be followed by long, meandering walks on the east end, putput rides, a round of leftovers, and a cozy nap before dessert. We’d wind down the day to the rhythm of soapy dishes and laughter until everyone would leave, satisfied with full hearts and bellies.
At Rincon Road, tradition explores how we can honor our families and journeys, cultivating gratitude for the rich history that shaped us. Preparing a meal and setting the table is therapeutic for me – it’s an art that connects me to my roots, and it’s an act of love for all who share in it. Family holidays spent at Noni’s were magic, and that magic remains in the gatherings I now create with my kids, keeping alive the stories that brought me here.