How din­ner time serves up more than just food

Sunday Star-Times - Sunday Magazine - - FOOD WITH SAM MANNERING - WithNa­di­aLim­di­aLimCooks

While I spend lots time think­ing and talk­ing about what goes on the din­ner ta­ble, I’ve al­ways be­lieved that what goes on around the ta­ble is just as im­por­tant.

When I think back to my child­hood, I can trace back so many mem­o­ries and sto­ries my mum, dad and grand­par­ents told us about their lives grow­ing up while we were shar­ing some kind of meal around the din­ner ta­ble.

When I was younger I didn’t nec­es­sar­ily ap­pre­ci­ate the fact that we HAD to eat din­ner around the ta­ble ev­ery night. My fa­ther was Malaysian Chi­nese and it was a very strong cul­tural thing for the whole fam­ily to eat to­gether ev­ery sin­gle night. I used to think it was un­fair that we had to stop and come to the ta­ble when ‘The Simp­sons’ were on or I was chat­ting to some­one on the phone. But, you know what, I’m so glad that we made such an ef­fort to eat to­gether as a fam­ily when­ever we could. We’ll never get that time back!

When we’ve been at work and day­care all day, it’s lovely to pause and re­con­nect. At home now, we al­ways start our meal by do­ing cheers with our wa­ter glasses (Bodhi looks for­ward to this!), and chat and share sto­ries about our day. Some­times it doesn’t quite work out if Bodhi is over-tired or rest­less. So we let him get down and play while Car­los and I take 15-20 min­utes to have din­ner to­gether. I don’t stress when that hap­pens.

Sun­day night din­ners with my dear mum, and my brother and sis­ter and their part­ners, is an­other great rit­ual we are de­vel­op­ing (Dad, who sadly passed away a few years ago would be happy!). Bodhi loves it, he tells his own lit­tle jokes and cracks up at them. It’s great for him to see ev­ery­one else shar­ing and try­ing dif­fer­ent food, and laugh­ing to­gether. He gets to have other role mod­els, not just Mum and Dad, who get a bit bor­ing af­ter a while and aren’t as cool as ev­ery­one else.

When you get to­gether around a ta­ble, the meal be­comes an experience; and through this sim­ple act of shar­ing a meal, so too are sto­ries, knowl­edge and laugh­ter shared. So here’s cheers to lots of laughs, good times and mem­o­ries around your din­ner ta­ble!

Share your thoughts with Na­dia on how din­ner time serves up more than just food at

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