We have always done it this way

There is a story about a lady who cut the end off the piece of ham before she cooked it. She did this because her mother did. One day she asked her mother why she did this and she said my mother did this so I do it because she did it.

The lady went to see her grandmother and said why do you cut the end of the ham of before you cook it. Her grandmother said that when she first started cooking ham that the tin she used was too small to cook a whole joint of ham so she cut a piece off it to make it fit.

The lady went back to her mother and told her what her grandmother said. Her mother then realised that she had done this many years because she thought it was the right thing to do. Yet she had used a bigger tin so it had not been necessary. The lady and her mother now knew that they did not have to prepare the ham this way any more.

We need to know why they did it that way

Tradition can be a helpful guide at times. On other occasions, following traditional practises can mean that we avoid doing something for the wrong reason.

Some things look as if they are traditional but are not what they seem. For example, the ploughman’s lunch was an idea developed in the 1960s. It was a way of marketing a cheap meal that used cheese that was developed by people who wanted to sell more cheese.

Just because something has always been done that way does not mean that we have to continue doing it the same way or that indeed everything is what it seems.

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