Leave it to the holiday season to make us nostalgic and thoughtful. A few weekends ago, Jill (my wife) and I celebrated one of my family’s longtime traditions with our kids – Brunswick stew.
When I was growing up, my grandmother held a yearly event where she made a huge cauldron of Brunswick stew. If you’ve never had it, it’s a Southern dish that’s made with a tomato base, beans, and meat. The secret is to let it simmer for hours; it’s delicious! She would invite the whole neighborhood to her backyard, dish each person up a bowl of stew, and welcome them to stay and socialize. It became a community event that we all looked forward to. I have loved introducing my kids to it over the past several years – it means so much to pass on to them something I enjoyed with her.
It’s funny; something as simple as a bowl of stew gets me thinking about other things my family instilled in me, and more importantly, principles I want to pass on to my children. I think this time of year is a perfect time to create an ethical will because it is so reflective. Looking back allows us to understand what we want to take with us into the future, and that is a huge start to passing on your values, convictions, and legacy.
I encourage you to take advantage of this meaningful time of year to think about and start writing down what values you want to leave behind for your children or other loved ones. As you consider your family stories, what you are grateful for, and the principles people in your life have instilled in you, it will bring more clarity and focus to your own life, too.
I hope you have a Happy Thanksgiving. If you’re ready to start working on your ethical will, here’s a link to a How-To Guide our team created: Ethical Will How-To Guide.
P.S. If you want to try to make my family’s Brunswick stew, I’ve included the recipe below! If you look at the recipe card, you’ll see we’ve had to adapt my grandmother’s original; hers was designed to feed the whole neighborhood and more!
1 lbs. ground beef
1 lbs. chicken
1 medium onion, diced
1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes
2 potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 (15 oz) cans corn, drained well
1 (15 oz) can northern beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15 oz) can pinto beans, undrained
5 cups beef broth or stock
In a large stockpot, brown and crumble ground beef along with diced onions over medium heat. When the ground beef is cooked, drain the excess grease.
Put ground beef back into a large pot.
Add in a can of crushed tomatoes, pinto beans, drained northern beans, and corn.
Next, add 5 cups of beef broth along with diced potatoes.
Give it all a good stir.
Cover the pot and simmer for several hours to let the flavors blend together.