Better is a dry crust of bread where there is quietness
than a house full of feasting with strife.
When I was 10 years old or so, I got to spend a couple of months out here in the Northwest with my grandparents. My aunt was responsible for booking the tickets for our family and she “accidentally” booked my ticket for two months instead of two weeks. Oops.
It was a great experience for me as a kid. I learned a lot, and being in a different environment helped me learn some lessons that I might not have otherwise learned.
One of my memories of that experience was breakfast at Grandma & Grandpa’s house. Nearly every morning was the same thing. Bacon, Eggs and toast with jam. And watered down Folgers coffee, I wasn’t into coffee yet. Once in a while, grandma would make pancakes. But pretty much every other morning was Bacon, Eggs and toast with jam. Of course, it was grandma’s homemade strawberry jam, so it was delicious. Equal parts strawberries and sugar.
Regardless of the, shall we say, “continuity” of the meal, it was a fun time every morning. Usually the news would be on the little TV that sat in the corner of the “breakfast nook.” And we’d sit there and talk as I woke up. Of course grandpa and grandma had been up for a couple of hours already.
But there were a great many memories that were had around that table.
Lunch was pretty much the same every day too. A sandwich and either chips or soup. And the coffee that I didn’t drink, though I probably could have because it wasn’t much more than water.
The thing that made these meal times great as a kid wasn’t the food. The food was fine and nourishing. I was never hungry. And if I was, I could just drive the three-wheeler up the road to have second breakfast with my aunt. And if that wasn’t sufficient, I could got a little further up the road for third breakfast with my uncle. Not that I ever did that.
But, the reason I remember that is because they were good times. My grandma could have busied herself making a feast for breakfast and lunch, but there was too much to do around the house and outside the house for that. So, instead of stressing herself out making an elaborate meal, she made a meal that would meet our hunger requirements and we ate in peace.
There were other meals that took place there too. All the family would come up for a dinner. And there were several of them. Usually if the whole family was gathering, it would be at least 20 people, if not more. All the aunts would help in the kitchen while the uncles would either be outside talking or joking somewhere in the house.
Those meals were not usually quite as peaceful. When we sat down, sometimes it was a relief because the stressful part was over and we could get to the most important part – eating. But, almost always, “the aunts” would get up from time to time because something wasn’t on the table, or we ran out of this or that. Which means they missed out on part of the most important part – the sitting together eating – because they were worried about the least important part -the meal – being perfect.
Better a dry crust of bread (with grandma’s strawberry jam) with a good conversation at the table, than a feast with stress and fighting.