Category Archives: Table Report

Still Eatin’

Table No. 16

Table No. 16

As friend and former co-experimenter, Elizabeth, told me yesterday… I need to blog more.  (So I am.)

Allison and I have enjoyed 21 meals together in a row, with the exception of last Friday when she (wisely) made a quesadilla before heading to the Pinhook where word-on-the-street was that the taco truck was remarkably anti-vegetarian (and it was).  Even that night, though, we were together while we ate our separate meals.

Tonight was our last table together until the 25th.  Over salads at Jason’s Deli, we talked about ways we’ve changed so far:

  • We have more thoughtful conversations than normal. One of the things I’ve always loved about my relationship with Allison is that every once in a while we’ll engage in a really satisfying, intellectually stimulating conversation.  With Twenty-eight Tables, we’ve had several of those types of conversations each week.  It’s great.
  • We’ve tried new foods. At least four of our tables we’ve cooked something completely new.  Considering how routine we are with our meals, four new meals in three weeks is significant.
  • We watch way less TV. With the exception of Futurama lulling us to sleep each night, I don’t think we’ve watched much TV at all this month.  I can only think of one (weeknight) evening when I’ve watched TV.
  • I work less in the evenings. I decided a week ago to not take my laptop out of my bag until after dinner.  I’ve also been reading more.
  • We’re doing this together. Allison and I are all about personal goals, but we don’t have joint ones too often.  It’s been neat to be aiming for the same thing.  I like her on my team.

So far, so good.  This has been an easy and rewarding experiment.  I look forward to seeing if it changes our habits after the 28 days are up.

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Have a Happier Birthday!

By Erin H.

Warning: This starts out a little sad, and I’m sorry for it, but I promise that the ending is happy.

Last year on February 10th, my brother Adam was in a very bad car wreck.  He was on his way home to meet my dad for a dinner event later that night and the Michigan roads were horrible.  My Mom was out of town, and so it was my dad who got “the call” and had to deal with the first 24 hours alone.  Looooong, awful story short, Adam was in the ICU for over a week and there were some very critical nights.  But, on the 18th he came to – he wasn’t truly aware of what was happening, but he was awake, talking and his body was functioning.  That day was also my dad’s birthday.  And while we may not have celebrated had the outcome been different, we made sure to have a small celebration that night because we knew Adam was going to be okay.  For the next three weeks, Adam went through serious rehabilitation and brain tests. 

So it’s been a year since that time.  In that year, Adam got married to a Ukranian woman named Olga and they have been living in the same city as my parents.  My youngest brother Ben just moved back home as a temporary spot before his new job starts.  And I’ve moved from NC to Indianapolis – much closer.  I think the accident has all been on our minds the past few days.  So with my dad’s birthday coming around again, and me being so close, I made sure to drive home and surprise him so that this year he could have all of his family (+new daughter in law) home to celebrate. 

We all gathered, very gratefully, around the table Wednesday night.  We enjoyed homemade lasagna, garlic bread that  Ben made and an amazing banana/carmel cake made by Olga.    I  “impressed” Olga with the new Russian words I’ve been learning.  We talked about Ben’s upcoming trip to Calfornia and Adam and Olga’s work plans for the summer.  We talked about everything but the accident and it was lovely.

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Family Birthday Breakfast of Four Layer Cake

Posted by Morbo

Today my oldest son turned eight! My mother came down to visit for the weekend and made him a four layer cake. Tomorrow I have three exams and anticipating missing dinner we all enjoyed a big family breakfast of cake and other sugary sundries before presents. My son said, “It’s like something out of Garfield.” It was, indeed, an indulgent morning.

Pictures to follow of cake taller than my head when my eyes regain their ability to focus.

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Dating Myself

Submitted by Erin H.

Goal 1: Eat dinner with Evan every night? Check.  Goal 2: Eat  a meal with someone else at least once a week?  Check.  Goal 3: Eat weekday breakfast and lunch at the table me, myself and I with no distractions…ummm

I was doing great that first week. I made a date with myself twice every weekday and stuck to it.  I can’t say I thought about anything particularly life-changing, as I had hoped.  It was mostly about the things that I had to do or wondering why I couldn’t think of something profound – this was the time to really be able to focus on me and nothing else, right?  But I found these meals to be a little boring (what does that say about my company?).  I wasn’t savoring my food but simply mowing through to get back to work.

This week, with the official purchase of the new house and all the utility canceling, address changing, realtor calling that goes with it, I practically forgot about my breakfast and lunch dates.  I stood myself up all but one time.  The emotions are conflicting: Am I embarassed/angry that my meal date didn’t show up? Or do I have valid excuses for not being in the dating mood?

Next week, I would love to start getting back in the  game.  I think my date would be forgiving.  Unlike last time, I plan on going into this date thing with no expectations and see where it goes from there.  Isn’t that how the best relationships are formed anyway?

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I Don’t Eat Eyeballs.

Submitted by Erin H.

We had out first “entertaining at home” dinner for the month.  All of my questions about cooking dinner for another person were answered and laid to rest last night.  We had a great time.

On the menu:

  • warmed spinach salad with homemade dressing and fried egg (makes for an interesting  topper to a salad)
  • white chicken chili
  • whole wheat cornbread with honey
  • flourless chocolate cake
  • beer and tomato ranch veggie chips brought by Ross

The chili and salad were familiar to me, but the cornbread and cake were experiments and if my tongue and the other empty glasses/plates/bowls around me are any indication, I’d have to say that it was a pretty good meal.

I was also nice to hang out with our friend, Ross, and converse without distractions.  The bonus to having dinner at home is that it is not an activity which requires your attention to be elsewhere (like going to a museum or a play, as we’ve done in the past) and you don’t have a waiter interrupting you.  It can go at the pace that everyone dictates.  Conversation abounded.  Initially we talked about food (what else?) and how it’s always a little gamble to cook for people because you don’t really know their tastes.  Ross assured me that as long as it didn’t have his three “dislikes” he would eat it.  That quickly turned into listing things that he assumed I would take for granted that he didn’t eat.  “I don’t eat eyeballs.  I don’t eat glass”, etc.  We did find out, though, that he has tried cow tongue before. Apparently it is really chewy.  Little snippets of conversation from the rest of the evening included: “Remember when you bought that throwing star?” , books we’ve read – from one, we learned people make bad decisions when sexually aroused…really?, Evan’s mad temper when it comes to washing dishes, our scary-as-hell physics teacher from high school (Ross: “I got a 14% on my first test”, Erin” “Me, too!”, Evan remained conspicuously quiet)…  It was a great time with lots of laughter and a wonderful treat on a weekday night. 

Ross and Evan with a fabulous cake

Ross and Evan with a fabulous cake

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2nd week table dinners

Submitted by Erin H.

menu-2

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What do you get when you seat 5 1/2 Pollacks (and two spouses) at a table?

Submitted by Erin H.

We went away for the weekend and sitting at the table was NOT a problem.  Evan and I met a couple (J and M) we knew from college at a  state “park” in northern Indiana.  Friday night was spent catching up in the hotel room. While filling each other in on the months gone by, we pulled out a side table and adorned it with homemade guacamole, chips, pita chips, two kinds of hummus, clementines (a leftover snack from my raw days), chocolate chip cookies and beer. 

Saturday.  Among other events planned for the day, the biggest was the arrival of M’s parents and their friends for brunch.  This would add another four Pollacks to the 1 (M) and 1/2 (me) from the night before, bringing the total to 5 1/2.   They would be bringing the food for brunch and J (a doctor-to-be) was sure to warn us that they always bring too much.  Familiar with how my Polish side of the family deals with food, I had an inkling that she would be right.  Then they arrived.  To say J’s prediction was an understatement would be an understatement.  M’s parents alone had to use a luggage rack – stacked halfway up its height – to shuttle their goodies to the common room where we would be eating…umm, feasting.  And their friends followed behind us with two coolers of their own. 

Once it was all spread out on three tables the food (for 8 people, mind you) included: at least two pounds of cut cheese, two large serving platters of vegetables, 2 sliced pineapples, a sizable container of grapes (red and green), croissants, rolls, crackers, zucchini bread, a huge bowl of chicken salad, a very large container of cookies, bagels (too many to count), at least two kinds of cream cheese, full-sized doughnuts, tea, orange juice…and this is just the stuff I remember.  People passing in the hallways looked on in envy.  M’s mom prodded us to “eat more”, “try this”, “have some of that”.  M’s dad handed out the doughnuts.  The friends made sure we had a least one (no, take two) cookies.  Food was all around and we ate, and ate, and ate.  J complained that they were always bringing too much food.  I reminded her that we did the very same thing the night before.  And, when we broke up up and went our separate ways what did the “kids” do not 30 minutes later?  While sitting around playing games we broke out the second round of guacamole, some trail mix, and the remaining cookies and clementines.  M’s mom made a brief stop by the table before their walk and Evan tried to talk her in to eating a cookie, but strangely enough she was immune the the food-pushing techniques that she herself employs on others.

Oh, my friends, it does not stop there…because you must go to dinner, too.  Where do Pollacks like to eat?  At a type of restaurant that serves the food of a culture also famous for their large appetites.  At first, eating out was thought to be a problem for, as it has always astounded my grandmother, so, too the question “What is the vegetariangoing to eat?” also stumped these new dining companions.  After I assured them that the Italian restaurant they chose would most definitely have food I could eat, we headed out.  You can only imagine what was consumed here as many of you are experienced in the ways of Italian restaurants so I won’t get into the details.  But, I will share one interesting exchange that occurred:  upon the arrival of the bread sticks J and I were the first to notice the 1/2 inch thick pool of butter (really, no joking)  in the bottom of serving dish.  I think both of our arteries shuddered a bit at the sight.  Recognizing that these two girls had a “problem” with the butter, M’s dad was nice enough to offer us the two bread sticks at the top because the he said “the rest of us can handle the buttery ones”.

Ooof, it’s time to get back home and detox.  I love my Pollacks and I love me some food…but I think I have to take both in small servings.

And just because I can’t resist: A man walked into a bar and asked the bartender, “Hey, have you heard the latest Pollack joke?” The bartender replied, coldly, “No. And I’ll have you know I’m Polish.” That’s O.K.,” said the man, “I’ll talk slow.”

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