Comfort · Family life · refreshment at home · Tablescapes

Mealtime Is What YOU Make It

Every Monday I share a recipe or two with you because I love to cook good food for my family and those I serve in my home. I enjoy it because of what a good meal does for a family. It makes memories and traditions. It binds us together. As our stomachs are nourished, so are our hearts. But there’s a whole other dimension to food that plays into each of those blessings. It’s the whole presentation.

At Christmas, Thanksgiving or Easter our dinner tables look like they’re competing for front cover of Southern Living Magazine. The tablecloth is spread out with careful, smoothing strokes. Everyone gets a matching napkin and the centerpiece is well thought out and gorgeous. But what did your lunch look like this past Saturday? Maybe it was just the leftover pizza from your family time the night before, but how was it served? Or even think about Sunday dinner…

  • Did everyone have a real plate?
  • Were there napkins for messy fingers?
  • Where did you sit?
  • If you sat at the table, did you have any kind of covering on it, like a placemat or tablecloth?
  • Was the blessing said?
  • Did you use glasses?
    In regards to the evening meal…
  • Did you add anything special to the dinner table like candles or flowers?
  • Did you all eat at the same time?
  • How was the conversation during the meal?

Good, nourishing, healthy, delicious food is important, but just as important is the way we share it together. I’m not talking about the Pinterest Perfect Presentation of holiday meals – I’m just speaking about making it obvious to the ones we’re serving that we put thought into it. It’s doesn’t have to be fancy or fussy. We don’t have to pull out the china for Sloppy Joes, but I’d encourage you to consider…

  • Plates – Give everyone a real plate – not paper, not a paper towel, but a plate. It doesn’t take that much more effort to wash the plate and they’re more economical, as well as easier to cut on. Pull out those pretty dishes! Use them, rather than saving them for special events. Make today special by putting them on the table for your family!
  • Silverware – For supper, put out a knife, fork and spoon. At lunch you can just make sure the adequate silverware is out.
  • Napkins – I love to use cloth napkins at every meal. One reason is because they’re so much sturdier! They’re also pretty AND economical. I have a collection I’ve gathered over the years, but you can make them easily if you have a machine, or find good deals at places like TJ Maxx.
  • Table cloth or place mats – Eating on a bare table feels cold, in my opinion. You can add a cute place mat or a cloth tablecloth to add a layer of decor and warmth to the table.
  • Centerpiece – For something pretty in the center of the table, you could add fresh flowers from the grocery store in a simple white pitcher or make a seasonal display on a tiered stand.
I have a base platter and outdoor greens from my yard on it, then a small cake stand and a lit candle for a simple centerpiece for a recent Sunday dinner.
  • Glasses – Call me snobbish, but I prefer to use glasses on the table, rather than water bottles. There is one exception, and that’s our favorite carbonated beverage that tastes best in glass bottles! So, everyone has their own preferences, but if I want the table to be a little more special, I like everyone to have a pretty glass.
  • Serving bowls – Putting the food into bowls, rather than setting pots and pans on the dinner table is another way to keep things a little more special.
  • Atmosphere – Playing some soft music in the background is a way to set the tone. Keep conversation pleasant and encouraging. Maybe a “Please leave your phone on the counter” rule would help. 😉 Call everyone to the meal by giving them a heads-up about ten minutes beforehand so they can finish what they’re doing, get washed and to the table.
  • Blessing – We have so much to thank the Lord for! My grandsons pray for the meal by telling God thank you for what they see on their plates. It’s so sweet. Every meal should start with our gratitude for God’s provisions.

Mealtime is a time to gather, to nourish hungry hearts as well as hungry bellies. In this unsettling, strange time, how blessed is the family who can look forward to a simple, yet special time together at your table. The atmosphere is truly up to us, ladies. It will be what we make it. Let’s take the high road and the extra work to create a place where people are thankful to gather for yet another meal.

What area challenges you the most?

Refresh others at your table,

4 thoughts on “Mealtime Is What YOU Make It

  1. My husband and family prefer a more simple plan. When I try to do more, they fuss about the fuss I’ve made. I guess every family has to do what’s best for them. I do appreciate the suggestions you’ve given! I’m sure I can do better to make ME feel better and not have them feel like I’m going overboard.

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    1. Yes, every family indeed has their own way. My mom taught us as we were growing up that she wanted to prepare us for any situation that we might face when we were adults. I’m so glad she put us out of our comfort zone so, if nothing else, I knew how to respond at tables that were a little more “complicated” than a normal dinner. Just a thought. =) Thanks for your input, Stephanie.

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