Friday, May 4, 2012

A Formal Dinner

White Hall Dining-Room, Near Charleston South Carolina, 1818

The Dinner hour is one of the most happiest times for the family. They eagerly look forward to homemade cooking and spending time with everyone. Many linger over rolls and mashed potatoes while chatting.

Mother tidies up the dining room, or kitchen table, and makes it look pleasant.   Children help set the table and start serving.  Dinner preparations were often begun a few hours before the meal. Cleaning and cooking and baking were a pleasant process for the proud housewife. She wanted the evening meal to be a lovely family gathering.  

 It was common for every member of the family to have assigned seating. This was expected and familiar. Father was at the head of the table, and led the prayer.

The formal dinner at home, was where many learned their manners. They "passed the salt," or the butter, to the person beside them. Someone might get up to get that second platter of bread for the center of the table.  But one of the nicest things about dinner is that it was formal. No one grabbed a plate to eat in front of the television. They wanted to be with the family and loved the special food.

Like many Mothers of today, I have been slacking in this area.  I have forgotten how precious a formal dinner can be.   I will start cooking and cleaning around 3 p.m. this afternoon. I will take my time and enjoy the process. I will not wear myself out all morning doing other things.  There will be no rushing about at the last minute.  There will be no quick trip to the grocery store for a forgotten item. I will be unhurried and peaceful. I will set the table and get out my serving bowls for a simple meal of baked ziti with bread and butter. We will have glasses of iced lemonade and have a precious time.

Right after dinner, I will rush out the door to take the children to youth group. But at least we will enjoy the leisure pace, of a lovely dinner time.

Mrs. White

Cheer up! When you are - Despairing over the Household Allowance.

If only they understood - No one Respects Homemaking Anymore.

The Virtuous woman - A Wife Who Does Not Complain.

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Deanna said...

Hello, Mrs. White. Sweet Spring Blessings to you!
A slow paced evening meal is getting to be a lost art.
I always feel better when I have an unhurried day.

I believe I need to slow day and prepare a nice meal and sit at the dining room table with family and take in all the news from family.

God bless and have a refreshing week-end,
d from home haven

Mrs. Mordecai said...

I like this thought and I love your writing style.

I have been trying to be more intentional lately as I set the table, because it seems I have to get up five times a meal to get something I forgot.

Cathy said...

Yes, the more forethought that goes into the table setting, the more relaxing and enjoyable a sit-down dinner is. I love when everything we need is already on the table, so there's not the extra commotion of getting up and down. I'm still trying to get my two youngest daughters (15 and 19) to think this way.

Anonymous said...

Dinner with the family is, for us, one of the most enjoyable times of the day. It doesn't matter if the food is humble or a bit more expensive, it's so important to have a time set aside to enjoy a meal with those we love best. I'm convinced a good many of our health issues we experience as a culture today could be alleviated, at least somewhat, by sitting down to a proper meal together. Nothing beats it! :o)


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