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Calming Rhythm in the Storm – The Dinner Table

May 29, 2020
Greg Georgaklis

I am thankful that so many of you, our Farmers To You families, have reached out to share how you are faring during uncertain times.  You have shared your ups and downs, but one thing is clear — your home cooked, family meals are the silver lining of this pandemic. When our lives get busy again, you say you will be reluctant to give up the feeling of warmth and security from the time spent at the dinner table.

This week I was thinking back to my youth and my early sit-down dinners in the kitchen of my grandparents’ home in Lynn, Massachusetts.  Their kitchen was a light-filled and cavernous room in their lovely house just three blocks from the beach on Atlantic Avenue.  As I write this, I can see it, feel it, and smell it.

My Yaya (grandmother in Greek) was a fantastic cook and gardener.  I rely on many of her comfort food recipes for our weekly dinners we share here at the Farmers To You hub.  My Papou (grandfather in Greek) was kind, wise and my favorite person on the planet.  The two of them shared a quiet thoughtfulness I greatly admired. Sitting between them, at their table, along with my sisters and brother, felt like the safest place in the world.
Before our meals together, my siblings and I each had a job to do. My job was to take the small glass pitcher and descend into the very dark, creepy cellar to fill it with my Papou’s homemade wine. Back then I never admitted how scared I was, but years later my sisters both confided in me that they were so glad I had that task! They shared that they would have died of fright going down to get the wine!

Dinner was a family affair.  My Yaya cooked with our help and my Papou did the shopping. He selected the best vegetables, meat, and fruits he could find at the local grocers. We sat for dinner, with excitement and anticipation, and waited for Yaya and Papou to settle at the table and lead us in sharing our gratitude for our good fortune and delicious food. Then we’d dig in.  These dinners were some of our favorite times as children.

I will always remember is how it felt to be sitting between these two remarkable people who made a beautiful life from very modest beginnings but never lost their appreciation for the simple and important things in life.  It would have been unthinkable to them to not have a family dinner at the end of the day, to share good company and home cooked food. I deeply miss these times and my grandparents.

During this pandemic, I know that many of us are not able to be with children, parents, or grandparents because of the health risks.  That situation is exceedingly difficult.  My heart goes out to you.

I know you look forward to adding chairs to your table, even as you enjoy your close-knit family meals. Perhaps you are creating that same feeling I am writing about with your own children as they help you with tasks such as setting the table or preparing the meal.

When I created Farmers To You, with help from a wonderful staff and farmer partners, I relished the idea of bestowing upon others the feelings of sharing a delicious, healthy meal. I am truly delighted when I hear from you that you are consistently finding comfort and security in sharing a meal, even in our changing world.  It is a dream come true.

Blessings on our food and the Earth that provides,