“One cannot think well, love well, sleep well unless one has dined well.“
Remember Maslow’s needs hierarchy? Food, along with shelter, clothing, and security, is fundamental- a need and a want. While there are many who lack adequate food, I’m pretty sure that no one reading this can make that claim. We are not only fed, but maybe overfed and undernourished- the antitheses of well-fed.
Dining well doesn’t mean dining fancy. Simple, well-seasoned staples with fresh accompaniments embody dining well. It’s real food, prepared at home. Fine, not fancy.
Ideally, eaten at a table! Bar stools in the kitchen might be part of the problem. Actually, the tray table, sofa and car might be too if they make your dining room lonely. We had a lovely but lonely dining room for a number of years. But in our current home, the only fit place to eat is at the dining room table, so that’s what we do. Our dining room is happy to have the company. Sitting down at the table helps us dine well. Some would say two diners at a table for twelve is absurd, but it suits us just fine.
A formal dining room isn’t obligatory. Fine dining can happen in the kitchen or breakfast room. The common denominator is a table. It’s not called ‘farm to barstool’ for a reason. Remembering that any meal is a worthy occasion, we use our nice things. That’s part of dining well. Nice doesn’t mean fussy. When you use your nice things everyday, it de-mystifies them. They are familiar and comfortable. And when something breaks, at least you have the satisfaction of knowing it didn’t die without every having lived. And very little is irreplaceable.
Many in my generation regret that their children don’t want china, silver and linens. But if you’ve seldom used them, you really can’t blame youthful indifference. It’s no wonder the next generation would rather skip it if they’ve mostly heard grousing about how much trouble it is to hand wash the china and launder the linens after they’ve made their rare appearance.
So as the Feast of the Fowl approaches, you’ll probably be pulling out your nice things and dining well. What’s good for Thanksgiving is good for lot of other meals too. Set your harvest table. Prepare a fine meal with delicious fixing. Your thinking, loving and sleeping will thank you. And even if Woolf was wrong on these counts, at the very least, you will have dined well!
Note: This fine gobbler was strutting down the street in Cambridge early one recent Sunday. He exuded an air of confidence knowing that all the hungry Pilgrims were at Plymouth Rock and the folks in his neck of the woods were asleep in their dorms. And even if a few happened to be awake, they’d be hunting coffee, not turkey.