Thursday, June 6, 2019

Come To The Table!

"Sunday night suppers have a charm all of their own - a warm, informal intimacy that sets them apart from all the other meals of the week.  Six and half days of serious menu labors are out of the way. Now is the perfect time for a bit of frivolity.

The whole family can be included in the casual preparation of Sunday night suppers. Tie an apron on Pop.  Let Sis stir up a batch of cookies or a quick bead.  Invite a couple of guests or a whole roomful.  Everything is easier, simpler, more friendly in the relaxed pace of a quiet Sunday evening."

- from The Culinary Institute's Sunday Suppers Cookbook

Moving is, at least for me, a fresh start.  Everything is clean and bright and fresh. Rooms present like a blank canvas upon which to paint lovely scenes of home. As the flow of our days takes shape and we become familiar with our new space, daily routines and tasks may need to be adjusted. For instance, in our new apartment I'll have a dishwasher, a luxury I've been without for four years now. And, a nearby community dumpster will eliminate weekly trips to the city dump, for which we are most grateful!

As I've contemplated these changes, I've realized that one of the things we've become lax on is coming together for meals. With both Bill and Kate working retail jobs, this has become more of a challenge in recent months, and I'm afraid I haven't given it the attention it deserves.

Thinking ahead, and assuming things remain as they are, I considered that we are all home most Sunday afternoons, although Bill has to work one Sunday a month, Kate typically doesn't go in until later in the day. Bill is also home almost every evening, and while Kate's plans are a little unknown, I know that if I am intentional in setting aside a specific day, she will do her best to be there. With that, I'm thinking Sunday's and Wednesday's will be our primary days for gathering around the table together.  I'll be more intentional with the menu and presentation on these days. As there are only the three of us at home now, it isn't necessary for me to cook a different meal every night, as most meals feed us the next day, as well.  But Sunday and Wednesday's and possibly Friday's will become the days when I'll plan on serving up something special.

Families coming together to share meals is a tradition that has fallen out of fashion over the past decade, at least on a daily basis. When the children were younger we ate together almost every night. But as each one of our girls grew up and became involved in outside activities and outings with friends, it became less of a priority, primarily because it became difficult for me to keep up with all the conflicting schedules. But even then, I did make sure we managed to make it happen at least a couple of times a week, and it's high time we got back into the routine.

If you're like me, and planning family meals has become challenging, there are a number of books that speak to this and to the importance of gathering around the table, especially if your children are young.  But to be honest, I don't think it ever loses its importance, regardless of what stage of life you find yourself in. Here are a few of my favorites!

 - Come to the Table - The Kindle edition is just $1.99
by Doris Christopher, founder of The Pampered Chef

- Dinner: A Love Story
by Jenny Rosenstrach

- Dinner: The Playbook: A 30 Day Plan For Mastering The Art Of The Family Meal
by Jenny Rosenstrach

- How to Celebrate Anything:
Recipes and Rituals for Birthdays, Holidays, Family Dinners and Every Day In Between
by Jenny Rosenstrach

- The Family Dinner: Great Ways To Connect With Your Kids One Meal At A Time
by Laurie David

In closing, I want to share a poem I've had in my collection for several years now, by one of my favorite authors and poets, Grace Noll Crowell.  I hope that it will inspire you, as well!

The preparation of the evening meal
By any woman, anywhere, may be
A ceremony, beautiful to see,

Recalling clear, sweet evenings long ago
At Emmaus, or Bethany, when One
Beloved guest had come at set of sun.

And oh, that other quiet evening meal
Within an upper room - the grace He said
Above the scarlet wine, the broken bread!

An evening meal is such a gracious thing,
It matters not how plain may be the fare
So long as love and loyalty are there.

The supper hour - a magnet drawing home
The ones who have the need of food and rest!
All women know this hour of the day is best.

~ Grace Noll Crowell

I just love these sweet sentiments, and the recollection of the meals I shared with my family as a child.  It's time we got back to memory building once again!  What about you?

Until then, friends, gather around!

- Kim

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