One of the things that I would like to get back to is to make every meal that our family eats special. I recently read the play, Our Town, by Thorton Wilder. The main theme of the play is to appreciate every day life. As a busy mom of little ones, it is so tempting to rip a paper towel off the roll, plop a bit of food onto a paper plate, and shove it in the general direction of a hungry kid. There are times when this is appropriate (such as right now while I am supposed to be taking it easy and Fr John is in charge of dish washing and ninety million other things). However, when I make this a habit, what does that say to my husband and children? I think that it says "I have to feed you and I want to get it over with as soon as possible, so eat."
When I take the time to set a lovely table for our meals together, it shows that I care about what I am doing. It tells my husband that I appreciate the work that he is doing to put food on our table. It shows my children that I love them and enjoy being their mother. It helps me remember that making food for my family three or more times a day is not a monotonous chore that I can't stand, it is part of my calling in life. Setting a pretty table is a little more work for me. There are napkins to wash, dry, and fold and a few more dishes to wash. But you know what? I wash, dry, and fold laundry every day. What is a few more pieces of cloth? I rinse, load the dishwasher, and put dishes away every day. What does it matter if I add a couple more things to the pile?
Here are some of the things that I like to use when I set a pretty table:
- A centerpiece - flowers, a plant, candles, or even a pretty basket are nice choices
- Pyrex containers - these are great because leftovers can stay in the containers and a lid can be added to keep things fresh
- Ramekins and pitchers - excellent for condiments, dressings, milk, etc.
- Cloth napkins - so much nicer than paper! I like dark napkins to hide stains
- Napkin Rings - If every family member has their own, napkins can be used for the day rather than just one meal (as long as they aren't too messy)
- Fresh Herbs - These are great for cooking, but don't forget garnishing the finished dishes with them
- Tablecloths, runners, chargers, and/or placemats - linens for the table add so much
- Coasters - essential if your table is made of wood
Do you try to make mealtimes special? What are your tips?