Here is a wonderful article, written by a dear friend, regarding her experiences with the Japanese ritual of eating at the table.
I have a confession to make. I am only beginning on my journey of reclaiming my home as a true Hestia and of reclaiming a civilized femininity. It is a slow process, and there is a wide gap from where I have come from to where I am trying to go. Change is hard, and I believe that it takes time to make lasting changes. I have a spouse, who takes time to adjust to change. Furthermore, I will freely admit that I am much, much better at talking about the philosophy of the Hestia than I am on the practical application of this philosophy.
One of the changes that I am trying to make is to cook dinner and to eat dinner with my spouse at the dinner table on a regular, if not a daily, basis. There was a time in my life when I ate two to three meals in the car in between work, school, and home. There were other times in my life where I ate out, mostly fast food, several times a week. The nights I did not eat, I ordered pizza. Even when my spouse or I cooked a meal, we often ate it in front of the television. Eating dinner at the table was a rare occasion and a special treat. We do not have children. If we did have children, I would like to think that we would have done a better job in this respect, but I am not so sure about that. Nowadays, children are as busy as their parents, with extracurricular activities and such, so I do not know whether we really would do any better.
It is amazing what a difference it makes to eat at the dinner table. Yesterday, my spouse came home from work stressed and tense. Usually, when this happens, she really wants to eat at the television, but I had already had dinner prepared and the table set. As dinner went on, she started to calm down and relax. It was rather amazing.
After dinner, we had dessert, a jello pie that my spouse made the day before. I served the pie with tea, served with our nice teacups, which were passed down from my grandmother. When my spouse saw the pie and the tea in the nice cups, she smiled more broadly than she had all evening.
Yesterday, my spouse said that she wanted pizza today. Generally that means ordering pizza, usually from Domino’s and eating in front of the television. Today, I decided to try something different. I decided to make a pizza and not a frozen one. I had already intended on grocery shopping. I bought a fresh multi-grain flatbread crust, pizza sauce, a four cheese Italian shredded cheese mix, and some pepperoni. I also found some tasty looking little French bread rolls to make garlic bread and salad in a bag. Just to make things seem a little nicer, I also bought some sparkling grape juice.
I also have the good fortune of a grandmother living upstairs, who is an amazing gardener. She has a little herb garden, where she grows basil, oregano, and parsley (among other herbs). I picked some of these fresh herbs to doctor up the pizza sauce and to add to the garlic bread. I also set the table, and we ate at the dinner table. It is amazing how much more civilized this felt than ordering Domino’s and eating it at the television.
Previously, I had made some other changes in my kitchen and dining room. My grandmother gave me a lovely china set passed down from my great grandmother. My grandmother wanted me to use them every day. I did use them for regular dinners for a while, but I found that they became a little less special that way.
Our everyday dishes were an old scatched-up set that was passed down to us from my mother-in-law, so we had a little extra money one month, and we decided to get some new dishes. I found a very nice set at Walmart of all places. The set does have mugs rather than cups with saucers; however, this is still a step up from the mugs with silly writing and pictures that we previously had.
Oh yes, one last thing. During the month that we had a little extra money, we purchased a new coffee maker. Our old coffee maker was on its last legs. Look at the lovely coffee maker we found. My spouse grumbled a little about the pink coffee maker, but I think she really likes it.