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Posts Tagged ‘Stories’

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On New Year’s Day I hosted a brunch for my family. In addition to an overwhelming need to have a party, I extended the invite for other reasons too: my nieces were in town and we hadn’t seen them at Christmas; Barbara, one of my sisters, leaves in mid-January for a 10 week sabbatical at Oxford; and another sister, Theresa, had extended her visit from New York to help my mother get her house ready to sell.

Mom still lives in our family home. After 37 years, the time has come to sell the place. Back in the day we were a family of 10 and, as you can imagine, the red brick home on Summit Drive buzzed with activity. As it stands now, Dad has been gone for almost 5 years and other than a few nights around Thanksgiving and Christmas, Mom spends most nights alone in that house. I don’t anticipate this transition being particularly easy for Mom, but I hope this move allows her to forge ahead without the expense and burden of a large house.

So, on New Year’s Day we sat around my kitchen table and chatted about many things – our cousin who had surgery for prostate cancer, our niece who’s off studying abroad in France, and the odds of UK beating U of L in basketball. This scene is pretty typical. When we get together we have a lot of catching up to do, and more than likely we sit at a kitchen table. Sure, we share a meal first and then we, well, talk. Sometimes my sister Anne multi-tasks, crocheting while talking, but for the most part we just sit and talk.

As Mom packed up her stuff to get ready to leave my house she commented, “Well, when I move I guess all I need is a kitchen table.” And you know, after further reflection, I think she’s probably correct. A fancily decorated living room, or a roaring fire in the fireplace, can’t keep us out of the kitchen or away from sitting together at the table. As a family, a table has brought us together for many reasons and at various locations to share meals and stories, laughter and tears.

After Mom moves, and no matter where we gather, we’ll continue to make our way to a kitchen table and pick up where we left off this past New Year’s Day. We’ll listen to Barbara’s tales about Oxford, and Anne might discuss the pros and cons of campgrounds she visited over the summer, and of course we’ll discuss our plans for the fall, Christmas, and 2010. It’s inevitable – time marches on. We grow, change, and live our lives. But one place remains – our kitchen table. It patiently waits for us to return and talk about days gone by or our future plans. For you see nourishment at our kitchen table comes not only from what we eat, but also, if not more importantly, from whom we meet.

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I’m Not At My Table

For the next several days, my kitchen table will be filled with food, laughter, spilled milk, and stories about the weekend and school – but not me. The table is short one person. This is all for good reason. I’m in Chicago, attending the FNCE (Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo) of the American Dietetic Association. This annual gathering of food and nutrition experts is quite impressive and I never leave feeling uninspired. Dietitians from every walk of life, keeping abreast of hot nutrition topics. It’s so fun. The biggest give aways at the trade show, from what I can tell, are reusable grocery bags. There’s a lot of “green” talk this weekend. Frito-Lay is causing quite a stir for their talk of sustainability, but some wonder if they really espouse the tenants of the organic movement in the potatoes they use in their chips. Much to chew on, so to speak.

I’m so excited for another reason.  I just attended a session about Healthy Kitchens, an initiative where cooking (YES, my beloved cooking), mindfulness, sharing food and good nutrition was presented as an all-encompassing way to prevent and treat chronic disease. I thought I’d died and gone to heaven. More to come on this topic. I might just have to open a healthy kitchen of my own where I teach some real life cooking skills to those at the most risk (children and college students).

I just finished looking for some lunch. The $10.00 tuna sandwich at Au Bon Pain wasn’t doing it for me, so I think I’ll head into the trade show and down a cup of yogurt. Probiotics are all the rage.  Then I’ll look for a chair, relax a bit, and think about a time when more kitchens become the focus of treating and preventing chronic illness.

I’ll be honest. I miss my kitchen at home, but know all young eaters there are in the hands of the best male cook I know. I even heard that last night there was a marshmallow roast after dinner in that said kitchen. Now those are some good times. Making memories with food. I hope the stars were out.

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