Meals. They occupy a big part of our lives. Three times a day they show up – morning, midday and again at evening time. We have to plan for them. Shop for them. Prepare them. (Or pick up the phone and order them.) Eat them. Clean up after them. Often our kitchen can feel like a 24-hour diner, and we’re the short-order cook, waitress and bus boy rolled into one.
Given how much time they take up day after day, we thought it might be useful to have a conversation about meals. What is the significance of mealtime? How can I make delicious food for my family (or myself!) with less effort? What are tips for a peaceful, memorable mealtime?
We’d also like to invite you to our homes for dinner. Not literally of course. Although we’d love to have you visit, our houses are not quite big enough to accomodate everyone. But we will give you a peek into dinnertime at the Whitacre, Chesemore, Bradshaw and Mahaney households as this discussion unfolds. We hope you will accept our invitation.
To answer the question: “What is the significance of mealtime?” I’ve solicited the help of Edith Schaeffer from her book The Hidden Art of Homemaking. She writes:
There is no occasion when meals should become totally unimportant. Meals can be very small indeed, very inexpensive, short times taken in the midst of a big push of work, but they should be always more than just food. Relaxation, communication and a measure of beauty and pleasure should be part of even the shortest meal breaks. Of course you celebrate special occasions—successes of various members of the family, birthdays, good news, answered prayer, happy moments—with special attention to meal preparation and serving. But we should be just as careful to make the meal interesting and appealing when the day is grey, and the news is disappointing…. Food cannot take care of spiritual, psychological and emotional problems, but the feeling of being loved and cared for, the actual comfort of the beauty and flavor of food, the increase of blood sugar and physical well-being, help one to go on during the next hours better equipped to meet the problems.
Food can’t solve our problems, but it is a gift from God to help us meet our problems. Whether small or big, for a large family or just for you, meals should always be more than just food.