Thursday, October 24, 2013

A Tale of Two Dinners

We moved back up to the cities after my parents divorced, bringing our familiar furnishings to an unfamiliar house that smelled like someone else's family. Mom's new husband thought her enormous dining room table needed a glass top "to protect it." He was one of those guys who admired plastic coverings over living room couches and chairs.

The school year began and my sister brought home a new friend for dinner. She requested waffles or pancakes, something that required a griddle or grill. We'd always been a family who enjoyed breakfast for dinner at least once a month.

Muting her instincts, Mom listened to the new husband and placed the griddle directly on the glass covered table. Dinner was uncommonly spirited as my sister and her friend entertained us with stories about their classmates and teachers. Until the explosion of glass interrupted our meal.

Heat from the griddle caused the glass to crack all along the table: an icy river of shards that separated placemats from silverware, and syrup from the butter dish.

Childhood is loaded with symbolic events and foreboding.

My mother was gleeful when that ugly glass was removed from her beautiful dining room table, like she was taking her prized pearls from their box to wear for a night out. Her slender hands smoothed over the glossy and worn wood and she smiled to herself. I never saw a griddle placed on the table again.
If I still had a child at home, this weekend I'd serve her a pre-Halloween dinner: a plate-sized pumpkin waffle with triangle eyes and mouth made of cranberry syrup and a square nose of butter. Toddler to teen, no kid can resist the call of the Jack-o-lantern.

Over at Called to the Table today is a Breakfast for Dinner recommendation, with recipes for Pumpkin Waffles and Cranberry Syrup. Can you resist the call of the Jack-o-lantern?

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