Dining: Table or no table?

dining tableThe dining table is a sight of immense satisfaction to me. Some of my earliest childhood memories involve staring over my sippie cup at all the faces around the table. In time I grew to recognize the faces: my dad, my mom, my older sister.

Better still, amazing food could be found at the dining table. We could only eat if we were sitting down at the table, and mealtimes were always more or less at the same time: 7 a.m. breakfast, noon lunch, 6 p.m. dinner. Of course, these times might vary half an hour or so if there was a special appointment, but these came few and far between.

Being late to the dinner table was one of the cardinal sins of the household. Not only were you letting the food grow cold, but you also made everyone else wait for you and their food grew cold too.

Fast forward several years or so to when I was considering getting married. Somehow I always assumed that as a married couple, we would eat breakfast, lunch and dinner together at the dining room table.

That assumption quickly evaporated. My husband sometimes skipped breakfast or lunch, nibbled heartily in-between mealtimes, and didn’t have a set meal schedule at all!

More so, I quickly learned that the two of us could demolish meals meant to serve 4-6 people. Those serving sizes on pasta or rice boxes, I unhappily concluded, were either made for midgets or just not right for us.

Recently my sister-in-law came to stay with us, and I prepared lunch for the three of us. “Where would you like to sit?” I asked, looking toward the dining table.

She looked confused for a moment. “Oh! I really don’t mind. We don’t usually sit at the table when we eat, anyway …”

I halted, my brain trying to process such alien information. Not sit down? To eat a family meal without a dining table was momentarily unthinkable for me.

But no, it was true. She blithely explained that most of the time they didn’t eat together anyways, so the children would just take food from the fridge or wherever and eat right there in the kitchen.

Light bulb! So now my husband’s peculiar eating habits made sense to me – the lack of scheduled mealtimes, grabbing food at random from the fridge, and original surprise at my requests that we sit down together whenever eating lunch or dinner.

What’s your family dining table like? Is it a regular fixture, an occasional support, or nonexistent? 🙂

About multiculturalmarriage

I'm glad to be part of a multicultural marriage! I grew up in the U.S. but am married to an African husband. This makes life challenging, creative and cool - all at the same time!
This entry was posted in Communicating/Relating techniques, Family matters, Food/Cuisine, Ways of life and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Dining: Table or no table?

  1. William Hatter says:

    We deal with the same diversity in our family. My wife’s family are from Jamaica, and my roots are Virginia,USA via Germany and Israel. I am still mildly repulsed by the “disrespect” of taking meals in any other setting than the dining room (at the table). My wife came from a more relaxed random environment. We have gained a healthy level of respect and tolerance for our many diversities. I have grown to immensely appreciate the refreshment of developing our own culture “together”.

    May the One who had the foresight to create diversity in skin, and culture bless and keep you two always. Shalom.

    • So glad to hear from you, and congratulations on your own multicultural marriage. It’s fascinating to hear different perspectives about dining, since I had often taken it for granted. And that is a very insightful point – the opportunity to develop one’s “own culture” within cultures. I hadn’t thought of it that way before, but it makes perfect sense.

      Shalom, and many thanks!

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