At The Table

49 posts
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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Let You Be Enough

Let you be enough.   There are enough others, people who have skill sets you might wish you held. But, sister, let you be enough.   There are voices in our heads, competing, telling us to become bigger, set a larger table, make more food, do more so they love you more. But, mother, let you be enough.   There are those who say they welcome you to the table; yet, it...

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New In Town

I realized I’d never find the salad tongs. Surrounded by boxes, I flung the thin white paper we’d used to pack our dishes across the kitchen, digging into every tight corner of cardboard to find the missing utensils. This was to be the first night serving dinner on real plates since we’d moved after two weeks of only paper and plastic. I’d bought new taper candles and arranged a fresh...

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