Submitted by: Deborah Tomasetti Perham
Some of my earliest memories throughout the ’60s and ’70s are of sitting around the dinner table with my mom, dad, and sister. Dinner was at 5 o’clock prompt. Mom cooked every night. It was just something we did. Didn’t everyone? When I began working in New York City and not getting off the train until 7:15 p.m., I have a distinct recollections of walking in the door at home and hearing the ding from the microwave…dinner heated for me. Did my mom actually time my steps from the car to the door? The funny thing is, it was important to me to carry on that tradition when I got married.
I was so proud of the first meal I cooked for my new husband. Day 1 of our marriage. Hubby was a cop, working 4 p.m. to midnight. So there I waited, the good wife, at 1:00 in the morning (albeit having to take a 7:15 a.m. train to work that morning), our first dinner together ready…pork chops, a vegetable, and potatoes. So proud of the first meal I made. Well, needless to say we were sick the whole night and couldn’t sleep from having eaten such a heavy meal at that hour. We laugh about it to this day.
It’s still important to me to sit down to dinner with my family…now my hubby and our three kids. So with very busy schedules, what do we do…we look at our calendars and firm up times in advance that we’ll sit together for dinner, all of us. Somehow the New York Times daily newspaper heard about my family dinner table, and called me asking to include us in a story about family time. The journalist wanted to join us on our next dinner “appointment.” Sure. We had plans a few days later to all meet at a restaurant in Port Jefferson. We got to the restaurant. There was the journalist, camera in hand. Along with all the other diners. “Act natural.” We could barely keep our composure as we ate; we felt like reality show stars with the photographer taking pictures of us, in a crowded eatery. Our fifteen minutes of fame (three minutes each?).
We still make family time with all three kids being away at college. We recently celebrated the girls’ birthdays, 18 and 21, born on the same day three years apart (true story). We ate birthday cake together, by Skype, previously scheduled! We each had a piece of cake at our respective locations. And sang happy birthday…together.
Here’s a link to the New York Times Article (entitled “Guilt Trip Casserole”)…our fifteen minutes of fame: www.nytimes.com/2009/10/04/fashion/04dinner.html?pagewanted=all
I’ve compiled our special family recipes into gorgeous bound recipe books complete with pictures and kitchen table stories, giving a copy to each family member. Preserve your family recipes…and make time to eat dinner…together.
“Americans, more than any other culture on earth, are cookbook cooks; we learn to make our meals not from oral tradition, but from a text. The just-wed cook brings to the new household no carefully-copied collection of the family’s cherished recipes, but a spanking new edition of the Fannie Farmer, or The Joy of Cooking” –John Thorne, American food writer