At The Table

51 posts
Dinnertime Discussions at Our Lifegiving Table

“Here’s what I think . . .”
It was a night just like any other, which is to say it was another evening of rousing discussion. Soup spoons suspended in midair, quizzical brows, the thumping of a printed-out article on the table. The article in question had been the source of that evening’s discussion. I can’t recall the exact topic of debate, but it likely had something to do with a...

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Finding Your Welcome Again And How Tomato Soup Can Heal

We spent the summer mostly by the pool. Those plastic loungers acted as a cradle of respite for me, a safe, uninterruptible space for me to wrestle with my angst related to community and a wound that oozed far longer than seemed reasonable. I was near militant about our pool going. Mostly, the kids were on board, but even on days when they turned their toes in and sighed, again?!...

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Finding Our Place

It was just a few weeks before Thanksgiving and we didn’t have a table. Well, technically we did have table. An old one we had bought through Craig’s List that fit the small space in our old house perfectly. It was distressed cream and snuggly seated six. But we’d moved into a blessing: a spacious house that boasted a huge dining room. We were hosting our first Thanksgiving and were...

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When a Meal Is a Masterpiece

This year, I gave my husband the gift of an Italian cuisine cooking class at a local cooking school for his birthday. We spent the evening creating a meal of white bean tapenade smeared on crostini, porcini roasted beef, and bianco risotto cooked in saffron and vermouth. Together we sliced and diced vegetables for the radicchio fritelle, and quartered strawberries for the crowning glory of the meal, a mascarpone torte...

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The Art We Make at the Table

This is a story of two tables. The first is round. The wood is dark, and the square pedestal is cracked. We bought the table as newlyweds. We spent weeks hunting for chairs to match. The six chairs we found were always a little wobbly, but the warm, wood color was just right. It needed sixteen years, but we did, eventually, grow to fill those chairs. Jonathan and myself. Two...

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Storied Dishes

After we got engaged I couldn't wait to finally get to choose an everyday china pattern and register for gifts. (How in the world was that almost 30 years ago?) I didn't need to choose fine china; I had inherited my mother's Malden by Oxford, simple, rimmed in gold, and stunning. I'm one of those who believes kitchen art begins with pretty dishes. A spectacularly set table doesn't necessarily have to...

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Parties, Porcelain, and Giving My Best

For years, I strived to host perfect holiday parties, as if they were an exam to pass. Hours before guests arrived, I dressed the table with my porcelain best, each item set precisely in its place. Thin lines of shimmering silver bordered its delicate rose pattern. Folded linen napkins bloomed on the plate. My china, a wedding gift from 1980, held not a single chip or scratch. I’d stand on...

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Come Saturday Morning

“Come and have breakfast.” It’s the resurrected Jesus inviting St. Peter to enjoy a morning meal. The sentiment frames my Saturday morning story, about a wild but winning neighbor girl with special needs—as impetuous as Peter—who barged into my life and heart. About five years ago, our breakfast routine started with her kicking at the door and yelling “Senorita!” through the mail slot, her plate in hand—tortillas and crème fraiche—persuasively...

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The Bountiful Feast

“Is anyone joining us tonight?” she asks as she counts the plates for dinner. The fact that she doesn’t know this answer points to the varying numbers that gather around our little faux wood dining set. “Just us tonight,” I say, and flip another tortilla in the cast iron pan. There’s a stack of 15 tortillas on the plate and I’ve rolled out the last one. We won’t eat 16...

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In Which A Meal Is My Only Goal

Life has been a little weird for me. Maybe weird is a bad description? Maybe unstable is better. Maybe for the first time in my life I am truly grappling with those old words from Paul, “For I do not understand what I am doing, because I do not practice what I want to do, but I do what I hate.” Romans 7:15 (HCSB). Is the visceral understanding of these...

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