Every Sunday morning for as long as I can remember my Dad has made pancakes for everyone. It is the only thing he knows how to cook (besides bacon) and he takes great pride in it. I’ve spent evenings with him when my stepmother has been out of town and he would be like…” so i can make us some pancakes for dinner”. It’s really sorta sweet.
At some point along the way I started doing the same thing for my own family, a nice sit-down pancake breakfast. Sunday lunch and dinner are usually conducted as an in-house pot luck, eating whatever we end up bringing to the table. I look forward to our Sunday breakfasts. It’s the only meal 0f the week that I dont have to plan for. I know exactly what we are having and I enjoy making it. It is also the only day of the week that we can do breakfast together. The extent of our conversation depends on how long each of us has been up and how much coffee has been consumed beforehand. Even when we eat our pancakes in silence it’s just nice to be starting our day together, at the table.
This week has been a pretty strong 28 tables week. I mentioned in my deal-io that we as a family wouldn’t be able to eat dinner together on Tuesdays, so this Tuesday I went over to co-experimenter Robeeno‘s house for pizza with her fam. It was quite delightful. When you mix pineapple pizza, good conversation, and a three year old (with a fondness for other people’s drinks), then you’re bound to have a good time. Wednesday was num num num, Thursday I could not eat with the family which was super unfortunate. Family from New York called late Wednesday night and let us know that they would be passing thorough. I had to work at 7, and they literally were turning into our street as I was turning out of our street to go to work. I was super bummed out. Though, that day I really needed a nap and that freed up some nap-time. And, after dinner they all stopped by my work to get some free ice cream (and to say hello, I’m sure). Friday night my dad returned from out of town and we all got pizza right before I worked. That brings us to tonight.
Tonight we had pancakes. I said in one of my last posts that pancakes are redemptive. I still hold this to be true, however, my big brother was eating with us tonight, and dinner ended with me angrily getting up from the table early, storming upstairs muttering foul words under my breath, and leaving for work without saying goodbye. He can be so infuriating, and the pancakes could not redeem him. Not tonight.
Next week we leave for our cruise where we will have happy and lovely dinners together every night. I will sadly have to skip out on dinner Monday because I will be shopping for clothes for said cruise.
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.
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.
Posted by Erin B.
My mom texted me midday today. “Dinner at 6?”
“Sure”, I replied.
“Peanut noodles ok?” she texted back. I replied with an enthusiastic “Hell yeah!”, and for the rest of the day was super excited for dinner. I’m a sucker for noodles.
They were totally yum. She free-balled it and added red onion and baby bok choy, which was quite well played. Bravo mother, bravo. And! Served with a side of strawberries!
The cruise is a week away and more than the beautiful tropical locals, I’m looking forward to our dinners together. We went on a family cruise 2 years ago, and dinner together every night was one of the major highlights. That and pure cream in our coffee every night. You know, the important things in life.
Posted by Erin B.
This week has been a blur of animal poop, dairy desserts, constant interaction with the public, warm weather jubilance, and consistent meals with the fam. A very excellent blur, as blurs go. Last Monday it was lovely and warm so my dad busted out the grill. Tuesday was my little brother’s 12th birthday so we had family friends over for pizza, chocolate coconut cream cake, and loud every-body-picks-their-own tune Happy Birthday song singing. Wednesday we all ate dinner at the Broad Street Café so I could take part in the open mic night they do. Thursday we ate together, but the details of our meal have gotten lost in the blur. Friday I was not in a good mood, and we were having leftovers. Our conversation was sparse and I left early for work. Saturday redeemed us: we had pancakes for dinner, and our conversation was interesting. Dinner felt too short and I left for work late. Pancakes, I’ve decided, are a redemptive thing. Sunday we had a bunch o’ peeps over for dinner (and hey—if you’re reading this, then you’re invited next week. Do come, and stay to watch the Oscars if you wish). Tonight I had to work until 6, and my dad had to leave for the airport by 6:30, so they went to a restaurant right near my work, and I rushed over as soon as I finished and we had a quick but lovely dinner together. We talked about 28 tables and how unexpectedly nice it is to have a set dinner time every day, but also how committing to a set time displaces things like social time and last minute dinner invites.
Outside of dinners with my family, I’ve been more conscious of how meals spent with people are way more satisfying than those spent without. On Sunday I had brunch at Parker and Otis in Durham with good friends, and it was the perfect kind of meal. We had no other agenda, so we ate without hurry, sat outside, and our conversation long outlasted our food. We had many laughs over empty plates and lukewarm coffee. Also: eating a salad in front of a computer for lunch doesn’t seem to change the workday up enough to feel like I actually got a break. It’s kind of my unexpressed goal (well, until now) to do something interesting for my lunches. My lunch hour is a sacred and full of potential, I like to spend it eating on the roof with co-workers, or at a restaurant with co-workers, or geocaching with co-workers, or sitting outside on benches with co-workers, instead of eating in the office or in front of the computer alone.
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.