My husband and I have been retired for more than fifteen years. Our children (one boy, one girl, in chronological order) are married, middle-aged and have children of their own. We have one grandson who is twenty and a university student; four granddaughters who are all teenagers. We have always made a family habit of eating together. We are accustomed to eating with children.
Twice a year we travel to the Midwest to visit children and grandchildren. This past Christmas and New Year we visited both our children and their families, and this time it struck me: whatever our grandchildren know about their grandparents comes from the fact that we always sit down together for the evening meal. Mom has decided what to eat, though sometimes preparation is shared. Every now and then we modify what we eat depending on schedules, but we’re all on the same wave length. When grandparents visit we still sit down together. The whole idea of the dinner hour is being passed down through the ages. We value eating with children.
But food has changed. Our older grandchildren and their parents are various forms of “Vegan.” I’m not sure what that means, except if you’re used to milk, eggs, cheese and meat you won’t find that stuff in the refrigerator. Our younger grandchildren eat everything and anything and their refrigerator is stuffed to capacity; an extra refrigerator/freezer, also full, is in their garage. None of our grandchildren, Vegan or otherwise, would attempt to create an evening meal.
This year I received a gift of a smart phone, from my son and daughter-in-law. Having survived this long without one, I asked “What do I do with this?” The answer: Take pictures, make reservations, download maps, call (or text!) somebody.
I have a camera for normal pictures, and when I’m traveling someone else makes the dinner reservations. But this time, my daughter-in-law baked a wonderful apple and pear strudel that required no refined sugar, just honey. She’s a serious Vegan and a trained nutritionist. I asked for the recipe and she held up the cookbook, saying “Take a picture!” I did that with my new smart phone.
I’ve since baked the strudel, though I didn’t follow the recipe exactly. After all, no smart phone is going to tell me what to do, any more than I told my children how to behave at the dinner table. Some things require faith. I trust my grandchildren to develop normal eating habits and preserve the evening meal. I also trust that I’ll be eating with children and grandchildren again. I liked the strudel and plan new modifications. Food like that will get everyone to sit down together and eat. I suppose I’ll find something else to do with the smart phone.