Tag Archives: dinner at the table

When Pancakes Can’t Redeem You

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.


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A Week in a Blur(b)

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.


Filed under Conversation Topics, family

Spice is the variety of cooking! Uhm, or something like that.

Posted by Erin B.

Sooooo…I’m totally diggin’ this experimentation. It’s definitely much easier than last month’s, and requires much less sacrifice–though sacrifices aplenty have been made so far, in the form of cutting work hours, missing parties, and getting much less/no time with non-work friends, it’s all for a worthwhile pay-off. Which got me thinking about applications and takeaways, because the hope of an experimentation is that you glean some life lessons over the course of it, and I’m not sure what I’m gonna get. I already know I love hanging out with my family, and while my normal routine has fallen into a place where I hardly ever get to eat dinner with them, I feel like my life is the way it is right now for a good reason and purpose, and therefore am not going to continue cutting my work hours back after February. I’ve also realized how many meals I eat with people as a part of my normal routine. This concept is not one that rocks my world–I’m totally a people person and have long valued the magic of conversations that happen over long meals with good people. Once a week I meet with friends over breakfast to talk about how our weeks went, I rarely eat lunch at work alone, and when dinner isn’t on the fly due to job#2, I am most of the time eating it with somebody (usually a friend) at a table face to face, engaged in conversation–and absolutely with the T.V. off. So I’m not learning the value of conversation over meals, or the concept of People as entertainment (no other forms necessary!).

But I am defintely getting something out of this, even if I can’t put my finger on it quite yet. Every day around 2pm, I start looking forward to dinner. Maybe it’s the comfort of knowing something wonderful is consistently happening at the end of each day, that I’ll get home and the house will be filled with something delicious smelling, and the family will all converge at the same time like our table is a magnet. Part of my dinnertime excitement is enhanced by not asking what we are having. I am a sucker for variety and very much enjoy being surprised. Last night we went out for a celebratory dinner and I purposefully didn’t ask where we were going until I arrived home, and then when we got to the restaurant (Micheal Deans), I did something I’ve always wanted to do. When the waitress came around, I told her to just pick something for me and tell me what it was when it came out (it could be seafood but no other meat). My meal was only so-so, but I’m definitely going to do that more often. Variety is the spice of life, as they say.

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Five Six Seven Eight! tell me you still think I’m great!

posted by Allison (even if she forgot to say so)

Thanks, Jules, for the title inspiration! I’m not familiar with your Feist song, but I can dig on rhyming with counting.

So I have NOT been good about posting regularly. Sorry about that. Seeing as how it’s Sunday night, though, and I’m trying to squeeze in as much “weekend” as I possibly can in the twenty-four minutes before my workweek officially starts again? Now’s as good a time as any for a recap. I’ll tackle our last four days’ worth of tables, the Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, and Eighthin part because I don’t want my titular rhyming to be completely superficial. Depth means it’s sincere, right?

Our Table No. Five was more hot dogs. The thing about hot dogs is that we like this one kind of hot dog bun the best (really, they’re just the best), and you can’t let ’em sit around too long or they’ll get tough. Three or four days is about the most we’ll wait in between hot dog dinner night, and this week was no exception: Tables Number Two and Five, both, met with hot dogs.

Our Table No. Six, which Beck already wrote about, was a nice low-key kind of Friday night of apperitifs at Pinhook and super tasty soup ‘n’ sandwiches from Toast. I have to say, I think I make a pretty good grilled cheese sandwich; the trick is medium-low heat to make sure the cheese is evenly melted and a slight mixture of butter (for flavor) and a nice fruity olive oil (for burn-resistance). I think pepper jack and sharp cheddar are fantastic on a jewish rye, and a slice of ripe tomato can do wonders for your lunch and, I’m almost positive, the betterment of the world at large. But Toast? Man, that’s a nice three-cheese they offer and their homemade soups make me want to stay home and perfect the art of italian bean with chard. They’re just great. Eating dinner at Toast makes me want to increase my abilities in the world of Soup, and that’s something I don’t say all too often.

Table No. Seven was enjoyed in two parts: breakfast and dinner. Weekend breakfast often has Beck and I eating at the table, and it’s usually too early to start watching television so we default to talking with one another (and trying to keep the cats out of our biscuits).We had a breakfast that we used to have all the time: cheesey bagels, veggie sausage, KK donuts and coffee; but this was the first time in probably a year or so. I think it stemmed originally from KK changing up their jelly donut (it’s still not as good as it used to be…), but eventually was more due to Beck switching to a more eggs-and-toast kind of routine and just getting tired of consuming a half a pound of sugar in a single meal. That, and I started getting pretty good at baking a from-scratch buttermilk biscuit. The dinner-half involved some experimentation, which was met with brimming forkfuls of tastiness. And also me unintentionally hacking at my thumb with a gigantic knife.

I was being a wanker about removing the pit from the avocado; that’s all. It did, however, afford me sitting out of doing the after-dinner dishes, and Beck lovingly offered to finish making the guacamole if I’d just tell her what to add. I forgot to mention the garlic, but it was pretty damn tasty even without it. Beck hopped on the Adventurous Bus and put together a version of sopa seca that, we hoped, would slightly resemble a tasty dish she likes to get (and I like to eat a couple bites of) from Margaret’s Cantina in Chapel Hill. The verdict was that, in terms of similarity? we probably don’t need to bake it, just broil it for a few minutes or so; but it turned out nicely. It was a little like eating bean dip casserole for dinner, but honestly? How could I possibly complain about that. MMM.

This Sunday night, being the second Sunday of Twenty-Eight Tables, we wanted some continuity from last Sunday’s Table of new recipe and fancy wine. We attempted a mock-up of the signature dish from pretty much our favorite place to eat in Asheville, NC, a happening little nook called Rosetta’s Kitchen: peanut butter-baked tofu, sauteed kale, and mashed potatoes. And I couldn’t let an opportunity pass to bake some biscuits (especially because I slept in late this morning and didn’t make ’em for breakfast). We cracked open a bottle of sparkling wine left over from our New Year’s Eve fun time party house and sat down to a lovely dinner. We got a chance to talk about some things we never had before, and one of the things I cherish the most about Beck is that I can spend an hour with her and still find new things. We’ve had approximately two thousand, one hundred, forty-eight conversations since we’ve met, and I’m still so humbled by what she has yet to teach me, or just tell me. Thanks 28 Tables.


Filed under Conversation Topics, Table Report

Five 4 Table Six

Posted by Beck Tench

Dinner at Toast with Elizabeth, Howard and Brad

Dinner at Toast with Elizabeth, Allison, Howard, me and Brad

Several years ago, I was in the habit of going to the downtown bar, Joe and Jo’s, every Friday night.  I would have a Red Oak or two and share wings with the best wing-eating partner, ever, Rachelle.  Friends would stop by and a joyous time was had by all.  When JJ’s closed, no other establishment could provide the same balance of good beer, diverse people and grit, so our crowd dispersed and the habit fizzled.

With the opening of The Pinhook, a more-than-suitable JJ’s replacement, I have reclaimed my former happy hour habit.  Last night, after a sufficient stay, we walked down to Toast, shoved three tables into one and had delicious soup and sammies*.  You may recognize Howard from this post on Another HCI Blog, Elizabeth from A Month in the Raw fame and Brad from his video vignette on The Smartwool Experiment.  Allison and I both had the three cheese grilled cheese (so sharp and savory).  I had the cauliflower purée soup (a personal favorite) and Allison had the Ribollita, which she said was super tasty.

We talked excitedly about current, future and past Experimonth projects.  Both Elizabeth and I are surprised at how much we’re looking forward to May (Walk a Mile) and June (Wake up at 5am).  Howard suggested “Do a favor for someone everyday” and I realized that could easily be done in December (Give up and give). A highlight for me was when I asked the owner to snap this picture because we were going to blog about it and she said that she read about us in the Indy.  So cool.

*That one’s just for you, Brad.


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Name That Dinner Club!

Posted by Beck Tench

In September of 2007, the above motley crew of physical therapists, library folk and techies started eating dinners together every first Wednesday of the month.  This past Wednesday, we met at The Mint, an Indian restaurant on Franklin Street.  The food and service were fantastic.

We started with appetizers (pakora, samosa, fried potato and fried cheese with chutney and tamarind sauce) and then each ordered a dish to share.  There were five veggie dishes (palak paneer, subz, a mushroom dish, an eggplant dish, and something I can’t remember) and three meat dishes (prawns, chicken kabobs, lamb curry).  We had inordinate amounts of garlic naan and were too stuffed (for the first time, I believe) to order dessert.

We decided that our group needs a name and ask you to help us decide:


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Scenes from the dinner table, and in turn, my life

Posted by Erin B.

Last night like magic the family all converged at 6pm in the kitchen. I had come home from work at 10 ’til, and had just come downstairs from changing when my dad walked in the door. My little brother and sister cleared and set the table while my mom cooked and my dad gave us a visual run through of his workout that day which, if viewed through the window without context, would have looked like a large muscular man doing an interpretive dance. On the stove was one of my favorite soups ever that is a regular at my family’s table, but that I haven’t had in a long time due to my frequent food experimentation and busy schedule. At dinner, among other things, we discussed food and my theories of food being magically delicious. See, I have this theory that if something is magically delicious, not just delicious but a level above delicious, to the point where it is inexplicable, then it contains: cream, butter, and/or fish sauce (I’m debating whether or not cream cheese should be its own category or a sub-category of “cream”). My family agreed with my theory, and we shared anecdotes about when we’ve found this to be true. Dinner lasted about 45 minutes, and I rushed off to job#2 feeling like my day was suddenly well-balanced.

Tonight was the same. We all magically converged in the kitchen at 6. There was no interpretive dancing, but dinner was delicious again and we spent it laughing and talking about our plans for the rest of the week. I find myself really looking forward to dinner during the middle of my day. I haven’t even been asking what my mom is making because I like the surprise, and these days I like just about anything. I’m in it for the company anyway.

After a long full day, I again feel well balanced. A break in between jobs, even just an hour, is strangely rejuvenating. But now I am tired, and I will leave you with quote that my dad just now said, and the disturbing mental image that goes along with it: “I have to go suckle on the teat of sleep.”


Filed under Conversation Topics, family, Recipe