Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Come to the Table: A Celebration of Family Life

I try to read a few books each year that enhance my homemaking skills, since scripture mandates that I be the manager of my home (Titus 2:5). It is so easy to get into a rut, isn't it? Fresh inspiration is a must for me. My friend Peregrina has some wonderful thoughts and quotes on this subject in her recent post, Housekeeping 101.

Happily, I picked up another source of fresh encouragement for a song at a 2nd hand bookstore. Entitled Come to the Table, it is written by Doris Christopher, the president and founder of the Pampered Chef, Ltd. This gifted woman will give you a perspective that goes far beyond the here-and-now.

Here is a sample quote that I especially like:

"Savor the moments you spend at the table surrounded by people you love. Commit them to memory-- store them deep in your archives--so that you can relive them at will, because these special days are the jewels in life's crown And while we may not fully appreciate them at the time, racing back and forth with our platters and bowls, we look back on them later through the softening filter of time as the very best days of our live."

This book is more inspiration than how-to, although there are plenty of practical suggestions, too. The chapter titles are:

  • Celebrations
  • Sundays~ she is very realistic here. Many of us have difficulty attaining to the chicken and mashed potatoes Sunday dinners we remember from a bygone era. (Boy, can I relate to this one. As a pastor's wife, we are often the last ones out of the church door, and we arrive home ravenous, long after the usual lunch hour has passed). Doris makes the point that even if it is take-out pizza, the tradition of sitting down together is not negotiable. Make it mandatory. Food is really just a prop; the important thing is the family togetherness.
  • Teenagers and the Table~ another great chapter. One of the most important and fragile areas to be preserved in the teen years is communication. Doris argues that the meal time tradition needs to become a deeply-ingrained habit in the years prior to adolescence. In her words, " If nothing else, adolescence is a humbling time for most parents, who need every conceivable advantage. In our experience, the most effective of these was the family table, and others I've talked with agree."
  • Winter Comforts
  • Communities, Neighbors, and Friends
  • Holidays
  • The Children's Hour
  • Summer Pleasures~ grow tomatoes. Have a picnic. Make jam. Barbecue. Bring out the colorful tablecloths and plates.
  • Family Reunions
  • Reaching Out ~ how the act of providing and preparing food for people in crisis provides sustenance for the soul.

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