At Home Dining – We Up our Game

The Eating Bar in the Kitchen: every day dishes; cutlery we got as a wedding present (51 years ago); mismatched drinking glasses. In the background on the right – the box with the new kitchen taps act as a reminder that The Car Guy has to either install them or call the plumber…

For most of the last 270 days, our evening meal has been consumed, in our home, at the kitchen island Eating Bar,  by a Party of Two.

What with Lockdowns; Mandates of how big our social bubble can be; living in a rural setting (a bad mosquito season this summer); general caution by others for (and by) people in our age group; the threat of  Fines for non-compliance; and Snitch call lines – well lets just say our social life has been very ‘quiet’.

Christmas Day Dinner was no different and when I asked The Car Guy if he wanted to ‘up our game’ for dinner for two, maybe use the ‘good dishes’ and newer cutlery, he gave me that look that said “We’re having left over ham from Christmas Eve’s Dinner…”

So I imagined left-over ham on the good dishes on place mats and newer cutlery and Canadian Festive napkins – and said “Yeah, it doesn’t make much difference does it…”

The next holiday dinner is today – Boxing Day. At this point in time,  we have eaten left-over ham at two dinners, two breakfasts and two lunches (because a ham of any size is the definition of eternity). Boxing Day we are serving what we affectionately call New Food.

To celebrate, we invited a guest and I set the table in the Dining Room. (How many of you have Dining Rooms? How many times a year do you use that room? We travel through ours many times every day because it is the only way to get to the kitchen from the rest of the house.)

Boxing Day Table set; guest is already here.

The good plates, the good cutlery, the good crystal glasses, a centre piece and Bruce the Moose as our guest. We are all set to ‘Up’ our Dining Game!

(To be honest, this post was inspired by some truly awesome photos of Christmas Dinner posted by friends and family. By virtue of extremely good taste in decorating and/or more people in their family bubble, they had what looked to be a festive and fun Christmas Day.

The reality for many seniors (like us in Alberta and maybe elsewhere) Christmas was somewhat more subdued. Maybe this is because as Covid time passes, it is getting harder and harder to emotionally ‘kick it up a notch’. We are surrounded by a society where government is ruling by keeping people in a blind, perpetual fear.

We are asked to put ‘safety first’ but ignore the inner voice that asks, “what about the collateral damage?” So, we do things as safe as we can, we keep the people near us as safe as we can, but it is a task beyond our ability to make sure everyone else and everything we do is absolutely safe.

Many of us seniors have lived through two pandemics already. Some served in a war or two. We learned to drive before seat belts and air bags. We rode our bikes without helmets. We got chicken pox, measles and mumps. Between 95 to 99.9% of us seniors will chalk up another win in the pandemic column!

So, this year is different, and we can live with that in good humour and good grace. But next year I hope we’ll see a full complement of people at our ‘turkey or ham’ table!

 

 

 

15 thoughts on “At Home Dining – We Up our Game

  1. Oh, I can relate to this post. Husband and I dine alone and don’t go to restaurants even though we could – waiters in masks, table apart & customers’ masks taken off when eating. It is just not the same! Your dining room table looks great. May next year you have more talkative guests.

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    1. Yes, Bruce the Moose is a very silent dude! Hopefully the lockdown will end soon and we can go back to enjoying the company of people in a bubble bigger than two.

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  2. We were also a twosome for Christmas – the first time in 51 years of marriage. We did the leftovers on Christmas Eve and did it up as usual on Christmas Day – turkey and all the trimmings in the dining room, good dishes, cutlery, centrepiece and candles! I wasn’t letting Covid win. We will be eating leftovers for a few days !

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  3. It was just the two of us as well, along with the 3 dogs. We ordered Chinese food, a first for Christmas Day. For the first time in years, I’m excited about New Year’s Eve and intend to see the New Year in. More importantly, I will see the Old Year out! What a nightmare it’s been. I enjoyed your post and the lovely pictures, and I hope your guest is well-mannered, pleasant company.

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  4. When the boys were little (i.e., in my previous life), we always ate dinner in the dining room, as did my family of origin when I was growing up. It was “how things are done”. The house my (second) husband and I bought was an open concept plan, with the “dining room” as an “L” from the living room (next to the kitchen); we used it as an office space (two desks, back to back), as we were both teaching at the time and it was a pleasantly sunny and accessible space; we ate at a table at the far end of the kitchen. Our retirement house has a “great room” that is supposed to be a living/dining space, but we filled it with furniture and bookcases and put a large-ish round table and 4 chairs in the kitchen (there was lots of space). I eat breakfast and lunch at the kitchen counter; we eat dinner at the table every night (using our “regular” [i.e., only set of] dishes and cutlery). I occasionally spice things up with fancy (paper) napkins, but that’s about it. The table extends to seat six, so when the boys and their wives (and granddaughter) visit (i.e., pre-2020), we can accommodate them. I like the idea of “formality” on special occasions, but enjoy the simplicity of my day-to-day routines.

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    1. There is a lot to be said for day-to-day routines!

      It is always interesting to see which people can ‘break the mold’ when it comes to how a room is used!

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  5. I like Bruce the Moose Margy – I should have invited my little Marcella the Reindeer with the plaid scarf to join me at the table since it was just me (but it’s always just me); she’s a cutie and my only decoration put out this year. That is the problem with having a ham at the holidays – you start to oink when there’s just two of you eating it day after day, the same fate Mom and I had back in the day.

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    1. There is no such thing as a really small ham, is there! We like ham, but normally it is something we serve when we have a larger crowd. Everyone takes some of the left-over ham home for sandwiches, etc. There have been times after the guests have gone home that I’ve discovered all the ham is gone!

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      1. That is funny – everyone took you up on your offer to help yourself! My next-door neighbor always had BBQ get-togethers with her three kids and their families for all the long holidays. One time she called and said “we’re having a BBQ, I’ll fix you both a plate and I’ll call and Linda can run over or just come to the fence to get it, so don’t cook okay?” So we didn’t make dinner and she forgot. Perhaps everyone ate it up – she never mentioned it, but it was funny nonetheless. She never mentioned it and we of course didn’t either.

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  6. I’ve also thought that governments are going too far in “ruling by fear” and concentrating solely on Covid and not the collateral damage caused by the ever-lasting lock downs. But it’s almost considered impolite to actually say that! The vaccine can’t come soon enough. Meanwhile, we just cope as best we can. It sounds as if you did the best you could for Christmas!

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    1. Yes – impolite – but we need more people to be impolite.

      I’ve just read a couple of recently released papers:

      The first study (by Drs and Profs in California) concluded that they did not find significant benefits in decreasing case growth with more restrictive non-pharmaceutical interventions and that similar reductions could be achieved with less restrictive interventions.

      A paper on Lockdown Groupthink for Alberta lists emerging data on the amount of collateral damage due to lockdowns.

      Other papers and studies show that one of the most vulnerable populations have been those in elder-care facilites. Why governments didn’t choose to maximize efforts to identify and stop covid carriers who work in or visit those facilities – is a mystery to me… no, I take that back. It isn’t a mystery. We live in a society that puts ‘safety first’ for everybody ahead of identifying and managing risk. It is a subtle difference of philosophy, but it is why ‘we are all in this together’, ‘be safe’, ‘be kind’ were the buzzwords. If some brave souls had said, ‘this group of people, doing these jobs need the most training, the best equipment, the most rigorous standards’ – then maybe not so many seniors would have died.

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