My grandmother made sure that all of us were present for dinner together. Today we cherish those moments and value the tradition as we realize that food holds the family together.
I have always seen my mother do the shopping and as I grew up I used to accompany her to the malls. I used to be amazed at the way she knew exactly what was required for the kitchen and in what quantities! She took care of the personal food habits of all of us in the family and till date I admire this quality in her. If only a few things were required, she would buy them from the street vendor occasionally.
As children, we were expected to go to bed early but we were given the privilege of sitting down together for dinner. Ours was a closely knit family and my parents and grandmother used to have an early meal with us. After we went to bed, they lazed around over coffee and clearing the table. Meals were always sat at the dinner table and never in front of the television. Today when I see the distractions that the television causes, I realize and value the teachings and the discipline during food. We learned to value food, we learned to taste food and we learned to enjoy food. Food eaten while watching a television show is merely “eaten” and not enjoyed. We enjoyed food and the food time.
We were taught the table etiquettes which included saying the prayers before starting the meal. We also waited for our grandmother to start first and then we followed. We were not allowed to talk while munching on food and once I remember, when I was just about three years old, I made a gurgling noise as the soup was too hot! My mom immediately corrected me and said this was indecent. What I liked about my family was that we were never scolded but given reasons for doing or not doing something. That made it easier to remember it the next time and we seldom repeated it. At the end of the meal we again said a thanksgiving prayer. Oh, and we had to