I burned the homemade Italian meatballs. I experiment every time with meatball recipes, still not sure I have found the perfect recipe. I was really excited about this batch. But they came out of the oven like brown golf balls. So much for writing and cooking at the same time. My dinner plan was foiled but dinner time wasn’t. It offers families time for healing, reconciliation and sharing; time at table to recollect in the heart of family life. The table is a bridge to connection.
When I saw the sad state of the meatballs, I saw dinner time in a new way (or supper, depending on your part of the country). It really is more than a task or a meal. The research tells us there are benefits to family dinner time.
Our need for belonging is nearly as important as food. Gathering for dinner helps family to reconnect and reclaim belonging. Of course, busy schedules do not always permit it and there are many distractions. We are made to enjoy meals and the company of each other (even when we are not such good company or the kids are testing the tensile strength of spaghetti noodles).
Still, the kitchen table is the place of spiritual and physical sustenance. At the table, we can feed an appetite we don’t know we have. We hunger for affirmation more than food, many days. Our hearts sometimes ache even when our belly is full. There is a difference between eating and sharing a meal. We gain new perspective, when we sit at the table. We change the world.
Well, my family was thankful that I threw out the burned meatballs because no amount of marinara would make them edible. The alternative meal was less hearty but still satisfying. The laughter, wise-cracks, teen-aged sibling rivalry, and meal sharing lasted barely six minutes. But it was worth every minute because we were together.