Julie Anne Rhodes: When I was a girl, I couldn’t wait for my father to come home for work, knowing full well that after an enormous bear hug, we would all sit down to dinner together and catch up on how our day had gone. I tried to do the same in raising my own daughter, but as we lead busier lives these days, it seems family dinnertime has all but became a casualty of outside demands on our time and individual varying schedules.
Always so excited for bear hugs and family dinnertime

Always so excited for bear hugs and family dinnertime

One should never underestimate the importance of reconnecting over dinner. A recent Harvard study showed a 15% reduction in childhood obesity rates in homes where families ate together. Another report from the University of Minnesota noted that teens who had regular meals with their parents were less likely to suffer from depression and earned better grades in school.
The imputous behind the PCA

As a Personal Chef I get to help families sit down to dinner together again, and that’s what the PCA is all about

In fact, that’s what gave me the most pleasure when I began cooking for others – knowing that I was helping to bring families back around the dinner table again. It was also the impetus  behind my wanting to develop a universally affordable version of my service in the Personal Chef Approach (PCA), so families everywhere could benefit from the same convenient, healthier lifestyle my clients enjoy.
Memories around the kitchen table

Memories around the kitchen table

PCA member, Rachel Cree-Lowe sent me this beautiful guest blog post, so she could give me some extra quality time to spend with my daughter, Tatjana while she’s home visiting. The post is about another huge importance of gathering round the kitchen table – the memories created there through the generations that last a lifetime.
Rachel: A lot of memories happen around a kitchen table. Carefully cooked meals shared with just a few or a crowd. Laughter, stories, toasts, it all seems to happen there.
Daughter Holly and friends having a gingerbread party around the table

Daughter Holly and friends having a gingerbread party around the table

The other day, the girls were getting creative with markers – permanent markers – and managed to get a lovely black design on the kitchen table. It’s just an Ikea table but it has these drop down leaves on both sides so you can either have a table for two, or up to ten people seated around it. I lost my mind. Money has been very tight around here, especially for the last year, and I was frustrated by the fact that ‘we can’t seem to have nice things’. It was all I could do to not completely go nuts, so I sent them upstairs before I said something I would regret.  

It's not worth staying mad

It’s not worth staying mad

At this point I was feeling rather sorry for myself. This stupid, beat up Ikea table may be an inexpensive one, but it was the same table I do my cakes on, serve family dinners, and where homework is always done. As I thought about how many things happen and have happened around that table, I remembered my grandmother’s dining room table.
Rachel and family around her grandmother's table

Rachel and her family around her grandmother’s table

She came from a time when things were kept pristine. Washing on Mondays, ironing on Tuesdays and cleaning constantly. She and my grandfather raised five children and both had large families so many meals were eaten around her table. When the depression came, men would pass through town and knock on her door for something to eat. They would eat with the family at that table. No one was turned away regardless, of how little they had.
When her oldest boy had been about 6 years old, someone gave him a little tool set complete with hammer. One day, she heard a huge racket and there he was, pounding away at the dining room table and chairs. Of course he was scolded, and she fretted about the dents in the furniture. She tried to cover them with doilies or table cloths. When that same little boy was 14, he was killed in a traffic accident. The morning she came down for his funeral, the first thing she saw were those dents.  She saw those dents for the rest of her life – and she lived to be 88 years old.
Ava paining on their kitchen table

Ava paining on their kitchen table

I felt ashamed by getting so upset about some silly little marks, and got out the rubbing alcohol. I called the girls downstairs and we cleaned the table together. The alcohol worked okay, but there are still some black marks visible. It’s no big deal, or maybe it is in a way I hadn’t previously thought? Years from now when the girls are grown and have gone onto raising families of their own – I’ll see those marks and remember this day with a smile. I’d rather have their art on the walls, than worry about a few marks on a table that will still see a lot of laughter, good food and memories around it, marks or not.
Making the most of our time together

Making the most of our time together

Julie Anne: Thank you so much Rachel, for giving me a little extra time to work on making more memories around the kitchen table with Tatjana while she is home, and what an incredibly poignant story! Lots of hugs to your girls – I just love hearing about their antics, and their cheeky little faces crack me up – the one of a defiant Holly made me giggle aloud (she reminded me of myself at that age).
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