• family,  ramble

    Dinner at the Nelson Table


    I’ve cooked thousands of dinners. Most of them have been pretty good. My grandmother was the very best cook in the world, so having watched her cook thousands of meals, I had to develop a bit of skill.


    Night after night, I put dinner on the table. The kids dive in with their oh-so-polite manners and then we clean up. I’ve never been one to handle routine too well for too long.


    So every once in a while, I do something different, something, maybe a little silly. It started when Jason and I were first married. My cooking skills were still coming along, but I had grown tired of making the same dishes. That’s when I decided to have Caribbean Night.


    We don’t live in the Caribbean. We don’t even live in the South. I had absolutely no idea what okra was or how to find it. But, with the help of the guy at the grocery store and my Missouri-raised grandmother, I found my ingredients.


    I worked all day on dishes that smelled funny and tasted unusual. My husband was kind, but I’ve forever canceled any plans to move to the Caribbean. He’s sure he’d starve to death there.


    Last Friday I’d come to a point of boredom again. So we had Seafood Night! Not your normal seafood, we had oysters, clams, shrimp…and baby octopus.


    The challenge? The first two kids to take a big bite and get it down won the privilege of choosing a meal for the next week.


    My youngest bit right in. That girls has no fear. She chewed it up, swallowed and proceeded to eat more.


    Next to the challenge was my oldest (the middle two would have none of this game). His eyes watered. Strange sounds erupted from his belly. We all sat watching with a touch of humor and an ample dose of fear. That one bite stayed in his mouth for at least five minutes before he finally coaxed it down his throat.


    It was fun, but I noticed the kiddos went back to the kitchen a little later and enjoyed the lasagna leftovers.


    Two days later, it was time for Friend’s Thanksgiving.


    For twelve years now, we’ve invited our friend over for a Thanksgiving meal before Thanksgiving. Numbers have always been high, but as the years increase so has the number of children. I think our total was around sixty. There were a few that had to cancel due to illness.


    Though Friend’s Thanksgiving is a crazy amount of chaos, I love that moment when we all sit down at the huge table that fills my living room and takes a turn into the hallway. Looking out and seeing all the friends who have become family it a special sight. I took a picture so you could get the idea, but it really doesn’t do it justice.


    Happy Thanksgiving! How will you spend the holiday?