The table is a place where the practical and the heavenly meet. We saw it all the time wherever Jesus went. It’s good to keep that in mind when it comes time to fill the table. First with the people then with the food. Are you responsible for filling the table in your home? I am. This season I am in in particular has been challenging for me to decide how to go about doing it. Time and energy are scarce. Creativity likewise and my ever changing appetite is unpredictable, thanks to all the stages of pregnancy and postpartum!
I don’t want to lose the beauty of the table because I am too burdened by the task of filling it. For some of you this is extra challenging as there are some or many food restrictions to follow. However lets see if we can break it down and simplify it. Lets keep the vision in the process.
1.) Set aside time that is quiet. Maybe when the kids are asleep!
2.) Find a cozy or clean space. Light a candle, turn on some soothing music. Lets make it as much of an enjoyable experience as we can for what it is.
3.) If we find ourselves thinking thoughts that don’t align with the vision lets get it back on track. Our tables are a sacred place for peace and relationship. A place designed by God for families of all kinds. A place where life is shared with all it’s hopes and disappointments and memories.
With that the work can begin.
4.) Begin by brainstorming your family’s favorite meals.
5.) Decide how frequently you feel comfortable eating these meals. How often can you rotate them and not get sick of them. Every week or every 2 weeks, 3 weeks or 4 weeks. I prefer a four week meal rotation. Although there are always some meals we have more frequently because they are my easy go to meals.
Keep in mind FANCY does not mean better especially when it comes to making the time at the table quality time. Actually the less stressful the meal is to make the better! It means you come to the table with more energy left over to offer to those you love.
6.)Choose any side dishes to go with your meals. You only need to be as specific as you want to be this early on.
7.) Divide these meals up between your weeks. For example if you have a 3 week meal rotation, make a column for Week 1, Week 2 and Week 3. Then assign each week an appropriate number of meals. How many meals you have in total and how many meals you make per week will depend on your family and lifestyle. We are a family of 6 and usually eat at home. I like to have leftovers so I will cook about 4-5 meals a week and that leaves 2-3 evenings for either left overs, visiting family/friends or take out.
Learning your family’s needs regarding how often too cook and how much is a learning curve and one that often is changing so be patient in the trial and error of it all. It is always good to plan for more meals than you think you might need on your list and you can always last minute pick one and plug it in to wherever you need it.
8.) Now that your weekly meal rotation is established the next step happens on your planning day before your week begins. Some people like to do this on Sunday night or the Friday before the upcoming week. I know what week I am on and I just plug in the meals I chose accordingly. I know which days will be long for me and I know I will want something easy. Those are the evenings I plug in the grilled cheese and tomato soup type meal.
As we get more familiar with our meal rotation and recipes, prep becomes easier.
I hope that this brief guide has helped as you plan to fill your table this month. I hope the plan you design takes some of the burden off of you and you are able to sit at the table and take in the wonderful things God has set before you.
Until next time, be well and may God bless you.