I have decided to turn my mind to think about issues I have been brushing against this week.
Not the core things, but the light wafts of thought and feeling that have danced through the days
and that seem to have come together now.
I read this
down where Jessica Raya is examining costs, she mentions one price paid is ‘The four-hour meals’.
This bought to mind a public private conversation I had with Margaret Fulton. She was a guest at the Somerset Literary Festival a few years ago. We were in the school hall for a presentation as well as Q & A session with this wonderful Australian Cook. Thus we were in public. I stood to ask a question. She and I engaged in a discussion on the value of kitchen tables, of eating at them. It was commented to me afterwards that MF and I had in essence been having a private conversation whilst in a public forum. I concur. And it was great.
Jessica raya’s observation ‘we have never been more connected or more lonely’ while not original resonates with a greater intensity in the context of her post, and in the context of the things I am thinking about.
I look at the small food stain on my chair from a meal the other day, and I think about the dining table I don’t have.
I think about the 6 foot long table we were given from someone’s garage when we lived in another city. I think about the times gathered around it: plain and simple, beautifully dressed and adorned – the table not us. Though perhaps us as well.
I thought about how we missed that table when we relocated. About how we made a family decision to turn the phone off so that we could save the money for a new table. I thought about the seven layers of sanding and varnishing that was undertaken and the signatures of the workers inscribed underneath. I wondered where that table is now.
This of course bought me to thoughts of family gatherings. Real and dreamed of.
Evening meals with friends. Special dinners, and in our home breakfasts with family.
About creative table settings.
I thought about Sunday planning Brunches.
Boys that cut all the white off an egg and put the whole yolk in their mouth in one go.
I thought about the things I learnt at my parents table; the things I taught at mine.
I thought about last Tuesday night watching 5 little girls all sitting around a table eating a wonderful tasty healthy dinner. Their skills and their interactions. A thoughtful Aunt who asked each niece ‘do you like potato, pumpkin, carrot, etc whilst already knowing what her girls would eat.
I thought about the unification that food brings: its planning, purchasing, preparation as well as its consumption.
I thought about dogs, cats, children, parents, grandmothers, homes, apartments, tables, food, and family.
Togetherness. Being-there-ness. Belonging.
I don’t think we need iPhones or wePhones.
We need kitchen tables (whatever room they are in) where iPhones/all mobile-cell phones are banned. Indeed turned off, or at the very least to silent and checked into a kitchen drawer for several hours.
We need Voice mail that tells a caller “I am having a meal with my family, don’t expect to hear from me for a few hours. If it’s life & death call 000/911 but everything else can wait. It will have to my phone is locked in a drawer and my mother has the key on a chain around her neck.”