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Women Who Win

Dining Table



Life at home revolves around the dining table. It is a very important place for the family. A lovely place! An exotic centre! The family gathers around it and chats and laughs and jokes and eats and our family is in one piece here and that’s our most precious gift in this rough and tumble world. How can we receive maximum thrill from this sanctuary?

1. Cook Efficiently.

Even though it is the woman of the house who generally cooks, I know many homes where the husband cooks expertly. Whoever cooks, let it be a healthy and tasty cooking. Plan a balanced diet. One third of your daily diet should be reserved for fruits and vegetables. Another third goes to starchy foods such as rice, potatoes, chappathis etc. One sixth should be proteins like meat, fish, eggs, pulses and beans. Another one sixth should be milk, curd and other dairy products. High fat and sugary foods should be minimal.

Make the meal as colourful as possible. Decorate each item. Sprinkle a few fresh coriander leaves on rasam or curry. Instead of frying the fish and dropping them in a vessel, arrange them nicely in a glass dish and strew fried bay leaves on top or decorate with slices of onion and tomato. Make dosa, sprinke dosaipodi on the facing surface and serve. Make a rose out of tomato skin and plant it on top of the rice. Use your creative imagination. Learn cooking and try to put some novelty on the table now and then.

2. Eat Enjoyably.

Sometimes the atmosphere around the table feels alarmingly funeral. Make it a time of bliss and joy. Never be in a hurry to gobble up your food and run. Don’t take calls. Your children’s eyes will lose their sparkle if you do. Relax, smile, serve happily and leisurely. Chew your food well. Share jokes and laugh aloud. Let children shreik and giggle. Regale old time stories and funny memoirs that lighten the heart. Appreciate the food and congratulate whoever cooked the food. Take what you want and eat what you take. Never waste food. Whenever possible have guests. But whenever there are guests offer help in the kitchen. Avoid criticizing the food. Let it be reserved for some other time, if it is a must.

3. Act Politely.

Dining table is not the place for corrections and discipline. And no preaching please. It is a place where the members of the family must be able to let down their hair.   If you are used to driving your children bonkers with your niggling complaints about haircut and dress over the dining table, get off the treadmill. If there arises a need to discipline, do it with firmness and finesse. Table manners must be taught to children lovingly and gently in a velvet voice, never rudely. Avoid talking about serious matters and office problems. Let children share their school or college experience. Let them feel relaxed and comfortable. Atleast once a month, serve your food and go with your plate to a different place — may be the terrace on a the fullmoon day. Why not enjoy a candlelight dinner once a month or for every occasion in the family? Don’t push away any dish (except for health reasons when you can apologetically explain). It is an insult to the one who cooked. Take a little of everything.

Jesus cooked for His disciples and called them children (Jn 21:5,9). What a contrast to Saul who came to the dining table boiling and poured acid on his son Jonathan. Jonathan got up and  left angrily. Saul should have remembered how lovingly Samuel served him a big roast and blessed him. Ruth and Naomi ate a simple food of gathered barley but with peace and contentment. Probably they sat on the floor and ate, which is a very healthy habit.

It will be good to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner as a family. If that is not possible, atleast have one or two meals together. Have a fixed time convenient for everyone and rush to the table at the set time. Start with saying Grace. By turn, each member can say Grace. If you know the song —

Thank you for the world so sweet,

Thank you for the food we eat,

Thank you for the birds that sing,

Thank you Lord for everything,

you can sing it. Say a big thank you to the lady of the house, before you get up and go.

Don’t make the dining table a dumpingyard, throwing your specks, pen, letters, snacks, used teaspoons and a whole lot of things. The housewife has to make umpteen number of trips to replace these items before setting the table. Let not  the one who cooks set the table also. Others can help set the table. Set it up attractively. Make sure to give a helping hand to clear the table after each meal.

What a happy family we will be to have a happy meal!


   Address for Correspondence & Contributions:

Lilian Stanley
13 Church Colony
Vellore 632006, India
Tel: +91 9843511943
Email: lilianstanley@gmail.com