Father Leo Patalinghug’s book Grace Before Meals is much more than a cookbook. Yes, there are recipes–interesting ones! But more important than that, there is encouragement. And that’s why I’ll probably be giving away my copy.
Last night we had dinner guests: a mom and her little boy. Her husband works second shift, and I lost count of how many times she told me how nice it was to enjoy a family dinner. We had spaghetti, nothing fancy, but she said that she doesn’t do a whole lot of cooking when it’s just her and her son.
I want to find a way to tell her that she needs to make a point of having a family mealtime even if the whole family can’t be there. No matter how simple the meal–whether it’s a bowl of Cheerios or (shudder) Spaghetti-Os or a gourmet treat, where two or more are gathered for a meal, it’s a family meal. You’re all together at the table. Ideally, the TV is off. You give thanks for the food and the time to be together, and you enjoy your food.
I will say that everyone behaved themselves for company. Middle Sister refrained from regaling us with some disgusting tale in the middle of the meal. (She has a knack for making everyone else lose their appetites.) Little Brother showed our guest how to use the rotary cheese grater. That was fun for the boys, who delighted in making mountains of Romano.
But I want to encourage our dinner guest to have family mealtime. Her son is little now, and she’s with him a lot, so it might not seem so important to her. But she does notice something missing–for her. And as her little boy grows up, she will want him to know what family dinnertime is all about. She will want him to be nourished, not just by the food, but by the shared prayer, conversation, and love at the table. She will want him to have what she is missing now.
I hope Father Leo’s cookbook will help her get there, and that it’s not rude of me to offer it.