Sunday, April 22, 2007

Where do you eat dinner these days?

No, this is not a question about your favorite restaurants. I'm talking about the dining habits of those of us who started out in a two-person household, then were invaded by some hangers on (= kids), and now are back to two again (at least sometimes).

When the Man Who Cooks and I met all those years ago, the preparation and consumption of food was a shared interest, dare I say, mania. Because we were students we lived in a small apartment, with a table in the tiny kitchen to serve as a dining table. Occasionally we would turn the tiny "living room" into a pretend dining room. Oh, for the day when we'd have our own house which would of course have a separate dining room.

That eventuated, and we always set the table nicely, including candles, a ritual that has even become a habit with our sons when they were old enough to understand. Dinner was the time when everyone was present, none of this trend of each person heating up their own meal at various times (our household is one of the last holdouts in the developed world NOT TO HAVE A MICROWAVE). There was always conversation, catching up with everyone's day, maintaining that family togetherness. (Sidetrack: recent research has pointed to decreasing time children spend talking with adults as a possible reason behind the fall in children's language development and that the fact that modern families often don't eat meals together means less opportunity for adult conversation).

Now things are changing in our household, especially the first half of this year with Techie Son studying overseas. Number One Son is now in a job with odd hours which often has him working from late afternoon to midnight, so he too is often missing from the dining table. That dining table, and the dining room, now appear way too large and lonely! And although I would have never thought this would happen, the two of us find ourselves gravitating back to our comfy and cosy kitchen for the evening meal.

I guess a lot of people have gone through this...

Some photos from our student days in our apartment. This must have been a special occasion. A tablecloth on a card table does wonders! (I've just figured it out: These first two photos were taken in August 1973, so that was probably my 28th birthday)

My sister made my dress, with a beautiful appliqued animal (?) on the front. Unfortunately I outgrew this dress years ago.
An early photo of the Bread Nazi!!
We still have that bread board, made by my brother in his high school workworking class.


Alice said...

You naughty girl - I loved those photos so much that I've had to stop and comment even though I have wet paint brushes and sponges in the bedroom waiting for more paint. I hope they don't stiffen up before I finish.

Those photos are such a priceless reminder of the past - such a handsome couple (at least that hasn't changed).

I won't go into all the details here of our eating arrangements with four children, but before Shelly was born, Richard and I would sit at opposite sides of the table, with the tablecloth folded in half across the table - after all, we didn't need a whole cloth. Gradually the cloth was unfolded as the family expanded, and then disappeared entirely for a few years.

Now we're back to just the two of us sharing a large table.

Thanks for the memories, Val.

Susie said...

What a lovely peek at your past. I love posts like this!!
Bill and I have a large table in the dining room. We enjoy sitting in there, because it looks out to the deck and pond. Sometimes though, we eat in front of the TV. Don't tell our kids, though, because when there were four of us, we ate dinner together around a table every night!!
PS when I respond to your comments with an email, it's bouncing back to me every time. Are there probs with your email??

Val said...

Blogger or my ISP are not communicating and I am not getting email notification, although all the comments are appearing. So please do keep commenting and hopefully this will be fixed soon.

Cris said...

Great pictures of you two. We still try to make at least once a month our romantic dinner (just hubby and me), kids are sent to bed! And I think when we spend time with each other it helps the relationship last, at least it has worked for both of us. Have a nice weekend!

Sonia said...

What a nice post and so real, Val!
Love the way you write your stories! I love your photos! And what a beautiful hair!!

John Cowart said...

After years and years of cooking for six to ten people for every meal, not that Ginny and I are down to just us two, we find it hard to cook small portions. It's like learning how to cook all over again. How do you make a small pot of chilli?

Merle said...

Hi Val ~~ Great post and photos are
really nice. Good memories to look back on. Gad you liked the Baby Boomers Hit Parade. It was clever.
The footy was not good to watch, so now look forwad to watching next week against Brisbane at Telstra.
Matty Lappin played well, and Scotland and Bryce Gibbs and it was good to see Lance get some kicks. Brendan had an awful day !! Our per-
centage is woeful. Take care, Val,
Love, Merle.

"Early Bird" said...

mmmm...I could almost smell that bread!
Loved the pics!!

Annette said...

I remember that little apartment, Val. Heather looked at the photo of Mel and said, "Well, considering it was 'that' time, I can see how you would find him handsome." Hmmmph. Children.

LOL, Annette

lindsaylobe said...

Nice photos. Now we tend to all eat together in the dining room only when we meet as a family with all of the grand children. Otherwise it’s a meal on the kitchen table, but sometimes I eat while catching up on the news or checking for messages.

Val.....when I retire I was thinking of investing time in cooking!!

Best wishes

Merle said...

Hi again Val ~~ Thanks for your comments. I had to lagh at you hearing your Mum's smoke alarm all the way from California.
Hope we can get back to the winner's list this weekend. Take care, Love,

Jeanette said...

Hi Val.Thank You for your best wishes on my health, Iam slowly improving had the tummy bug since easter Tuesday.
Great photo's of your student days.
When all the family were still home 4 kids and always had there friends in for meals, we always sat at set dinning table for dinner, then all got married left home and then when only the 2 of us was home we sat at the kitchen table to eat, now its only me I tend to eat in front of the tv for company and watch the news. when family come to visit its back to the table.

Merle said...

Hi Val ~~ Thanks for your concern for my eyesight and if the Specialist thinks the cataracts need to be removed, then I will go for it, as our eyesight is one of the most important senses we have. Thanks for the encouraging story of your Dad's
experience. Take care Val,Love, Merle.

Kerri said...

I just love these old photos Val. It's such fun to look back on those early days. How sweet that you both got all dressed up for your birthday dinner.
Your dress is pretty. I made myself a dress that was a very similar style.
I see the bread nazi has been at it a very long time! :)
We ate together as a family too, but almost always at the kitchen table. We had a big kitchen, with a good sized table. The dining room table was, and is, only used when we have company.
Did you get much rain? Frances says it's raining in Canberra right now!

Gwen said...

HI Val.
Nice to look back and remember,once
the family moves out it's not easy
to ajust your cooking habits.
Now there is only two of us there is no set time for meals.

Sandy said...

You are so cute...I love the photos and the man who cooks wasn't bad either, wink wink.

Sandy said...

I forgot...we eat at our breakfast bar now. The dining room is for company only. When the kids were at home we always ate breakfast and supper together...lunch was at school. I prided myself in cooking a good nutritious breakfast and a made from scratch supper complete with homemade dessert.

It seems that now days most meals are eaten out or microwaved and everyone is toooo busy to stop and eat together.