This holiday season is likely to be pretty different for many of us.  We will all need to come up with alternative and safe ways to be together.

Jack Bishop, Creative Director at America’s Test Kitchen, has authored a beautifully written and illustrated book for kids about making peace with “change”.   In Peyton Picks the Perfect Pie, Peyton, a picky eater, realizes that she is ready to broaden her food horizons.  Peyton decides to embrace change by tasting all kinds of pie – a food she did not think she liked – until she learned that she could add ice cream! (Nice workaround, Peyton!)

At the end of the book, Peyton shares with the reader her recipe for her favorite: apple pie.  Reading this recipe reminded me of my first memories around baking with my family – and how the experience shaped my future self.

The power of choices

As many of you know by now, I grew up on the southside of Chicago in a two-story “A-frame”.  We lived in the downstairs apartment and my grandmother lived in the upstairs apartment.  My grandmother’s 8 sisters and one brother lived either within walking distance, or just a short drive away from us.  I learned to bake and cook over the years by working with and watching these accomplished women in our kitchen.

I still have a vivid memory of the donuts we made with my grandmother’s best friend, Mary Dasher – deep fried and, while still hot, rolled in sugar.

Grandma’s apartment had little-to-no counter space.  But somehow, we created a production line and produced hundreds of donuts in one day.  We packed them in bags of 12, ate some, gave many away and kept some in the deep freeze in the basement to enjoy later.

Sounds a bit like the Money Savvy Pig money choices that came to me in a dream almost 21 years ago – save some, eat some now (spend), donate some to others and freeze some (invest) for the future!

Love = food

There’s just something about baking and cooking that comforts me.

Love, in my family, is spelled “F-O-O-D”. My own girls are now 29 and 27 years old and gluten-free as they each have celiac disease.  Talk about embracing change!  They had to become experts in creating gluten-free comfort food.  In fact, my youngest, Amanda, was just like Peyton – particular!

Allison and Amanda embraced change and today enjoy a rich, gluten-free lifestyle.  Just this past weekend, both girls were in the kitchen creating gluten-free naan and butter masala.  Allison later told me it made her heart full watching her sister and her boyfriend cooking side-by-side in the kitchen. Yeah, I get that.

Embracing change

As we follow Peyton on her Thanksgiving journey of self-discovery and reflection, I am reminded that we will all be on that journey this year as we approach this holiday season.  It will be different.  We might be putting people at our tables via “Zoom” or “FaceTime”.  It will take an openness to change for this year to make the magic happen.

But like Peyton, as well as Allison and Amanda, change has a silver lining to it.  It helps us grow in ways we never imagined possible.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!  We are so grateful for you and yours here at Money Savvy Generation.

Check out America’s Test Kitchen resources for kids at

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Written by Susan Beacham
Susan Beacham founded Money Savvy Generation in 1999 after almost two decades in private banking and investment management complemented by considerable time teaching at the elementary level.

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