What's the point?

This blog is inspired by my recent reading of Julie Powell and her blog-inspired book documenting her quest to replicate all of the recipes in Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking. I was overwhelmed with her tenacity and distracted from everything by her humor. I kept thinking if I had ever made anything out of that book, although it and it's companion (vol. 2) have sat on my shelf for over 20 years. My cooking challenges are much more mundane, trying to get a good dinner on the table before 7:30 pm.

I have a neurotic's relationship with sitting down to dinner as a family. I think in some ways it's about control because it's the one thing I can orchestrate where we all have to pay attention to each other. In 1999 I was pregnant, though very few people knew yet. I was a middle school teacher at Friends Seminary in Manhattan meeting the parents of the students in my advisory for the regular conferences. Of course I was supposed to convey all that I knew about their child and how we could all work together to make their child a better learner, but my true agenda was to find out about what makes a good parent. Ramon Guitierrez was one of my favorite students. He was a bright, reflective, thoughtful young man, and I wanted to know anything his father could tell me about how to parent such a fine kid. "We have dinner together every night. Everyone comes home for dinner," his dad said through Ramon's sister's translation. "Every night we have dinner." Those words stuck with me. The advice from the mom who said to go on mother/daughter vacations and took her daughter to Egypt over spring break stayed with me too, but dinner was in the realm of possibility for me. Dinner I could do!

I'm not so sure about why I want to document this mission on a blog. My plan is to put it out there as both a commitment to and record of my family dinners.

No comments: