We all know the saying, “If these walls could talk,” but if my family’s kitchen table could speak, boy, could it tell some stories. I’m fortunate enough to have been raised eating around the family table, and every day I’m thankful my parents made it a priority. In homes across the world, the kitchen table, much like the front porch, is an iconic, central hub, especially in the American South.
Formal dining rooms are different. I’m talking about the tables in our eat-in kitchens — the ones we cook just steps away from, where we stack our bills at the end of the day, where kids complete their homework, where the family pet begs for that taste of human food.
When I think about the people in my family who’ve sat around that same oak, oval-shaped table year after year — even the loved ones who are no longer with us — and all the abundant food that’s been presented there, along with the memories it holds, the conversations it keeps and the prayers it’s heard, I consider that togetherness a real blessing. Those moments make a house a home.
Around the kitchen table, we’ve celebrated birthday after birthday, eaten holiday meals, opened Mother’s Day cards and decorated Christmas cookies. It’s there every time I visit home. Like an old friend, it’s the one constant that’s part of the family, too, ready to welcome us, inviting us to sit for a spell and stay a while. There, I eat my mom’s homemade chocolate-chip muffin with one candle for birthday breakfast each year and introduce new friends to the family. It’s the ultimate place boyfriends are bring-home-to-Mama-and-Daddy tested. We set it with our everyday dishes and fine china. We adorn it with fresh flowers and fruit. There, we hold hands and bow our heads to pray.
Without it, home would not be the same.
Sure, I’m one to curl up on the couch with a bowl of cereal now and then in front of my TV, but nothing beats sitting down to a home-cooked meal and a place set just for you to share good food with the people you know and who know you and where you came from.
So much of my life has taken place at the family table, and often, it’s the memories associated with that central element that have created the values and traditions I cherish today.
So, here’s to you, table — and thanks.
What’s your take on the family table? Can you relate?
Rebekah Faulk is a local food writer and blogger at Some Kinda Good, a Southern, coastal food blog highlighting East coast restaurant reviews and Lowcountry-inspired recipes. Email her at SKGFoodBlog@gmail.com.