This year for Christmas, my son and I decided to take a road trip from Atlanta to Chicago. Over the river and through the cornfields to grandmother’s house we went. We decided to make family a focus, and with everybody vaccinated, boostered and healthy, it was worth the 2-day, 12-hour trek. Plus, my 10-year-old baseball nut got to visit the Louisville Slugger baseball museum and hold a Babe Ruth game-used bat!

The family holiday dinner has always been a special event, whether it’s my family or my wife’s family. The centerpiece of every meal is usually a turkey or a ham. This year, Christmas dinner will be a beef roast, with a ham to eat a couple of days later. Meat inevitably is the main course – we just can’t make a salad or a reformulated pile of pea protein an entrée, at least not on a special occasion meal like this one.

Last year, with COVID in full force, many people kept their celebrations small. This year, with more of the U.S. population vaccinated, dinners will be larger, and the holidays will hopefully be happier. Those show-stopping hams, turkeys or roasts will be the perfect centerpiece of the meal.

Most of the time, people don’t get the opportunity to thank the people who make it – unless they visit a meat market. So on behalf of the general public, thank you for those meals that helped make memories. You’ve made our holiday dinners, our backyard barbecues and our catered meals special. The holidays will be better because of your work and your diligence to food safety and quality.

On behalf of the staff of Independent Processor and The National Provisioner, we wish you a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and wonderful holiday season.

Sam Gazdziak