A Table and 4 Chairs

I was sitting at the dinner table the other night with my family. We had made paella, and all we did during dinner was talk about the paella, Spanish food, and how my we loved food. That seems to be all my family does; either talking what we’re making for dinner that night, thinking about that amazing meal we had in Walnut Creek, or actually eating. Now, I think it’s safe to classify my family as extreme foodies. If there were to be a scale from 1-10, our foodie level would be about a 17. I don’t quite understand how or why, but I never really gave it much thought. When I think about my friends and other people around me, I notice that nobody has the same love for food that I do, or even than my HS freshman sister does. So we were eating our paella (which was so good btw, recipe coming soon), and as we began to wrap up our long food conversation, I started a new conversation. This conversation was still about food, but a little different than normal. I started talking about how different I was from my friends for loving food so much. I mean seriously, I was so confused. There isn’t much difference between us. We all come from different but similar cultural backgrounds, but we all have lived as a TCK, we all go to the same school, and we all eat at basically the same restaurants. So what was so different. My dad finally came to a conclusion that it was all about one simple piece of furniture in our house. It didn’t have magical powers, in fact I’m sure other families have this exact same piece of furniture in their house, but it was the way my family used it that made it so impactful. This piece of furniture was our dinner table. As soon as my dad said that, it all came back to me. I remembered all of those times I had told my parents that my friends usually eat dinner by themselves in their room doing homework, or that their parents go out every Saturday night, so they rarely have a meal together. At that moment I knew why I was so different from others. My family has always prioritized each other, and made it a rule to eat every meal we could together. It’s something I’m sure my parents have been doing since they were little, and so have I. I never thought twice about it. We would get home from swim practice, we would finish making dinner, and we would all sit down at the same time and spend about an hour eating dinner and talking about our day. In the morning, although it is early and rushed, the four of us spend at least 10 minutes together at the table and talk about what we have coming up that day. We don’t eat our meals at different times, if my dad has a conference call, we start our homework first, then eat with him after. If I have a really late practice on evening, my family waits for me to come home before we eat. Every single day, even if it’s just for one meal, my family will sit at that table all together and talk. So how does this really affect how much we love food? Well the answer to that is pretty straight-forward. Simply by taking the time to sit at a table (with no devices!) and take our time to eat and talk about our days and the food were eating allows us to appreciate what we are eating. We talk about the food we just made; what should we add next time, were the carrots too sweet, did we over cook the steak? We have this conversation at least once every meal. We think about the food were eating and what we like and don’t like about it. We prioritize family time to sit there and talk to each other about how our days went, what we have going on. Everything is connected. We use food as a source to bring us together, through shopping, cooking and eventually eating, we do it all together. Food is the simplest way to bring your family together. It all comes back to the table; take time to sit there and look and talk to each other. Talk about your day, talk about your food and eat. I promise it’s all worth it.


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