Shared Meals Matter Blog

Jul 18th

A Helping Hand

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Sometimes we look for material things to give to people to help ease whatever burden they may have.  It’s become sort of a knee-jerk reaction in American culture.  I’ve done this in past times. Although any gesture to help out a family member or friend is always a wonderful thing to do, it’s also good to think about something you can do rather than give.


A few days ago, I sensed that a friend just needed to have a lighter load.  She’d been working a lot of hours in the office, dealing with a difficult client. She’d been planning an event for a family member and she was up to her eyeballs in the details.  So I offered to make dinner for her.  She’s a great cook so I was a little nervous but I decided to carry on and let my intentions for a relaxed evening for her be where I focused my energy.

Our dinner turned out great.  Delicious and stress-free.

What better way to use my helping hands than in the kitchen preparing a meal for someone I care about.

My friend was very appreciative of the gesture.   She’s the type of person who is always (always) doing for someone else, and I felt privileged to give her the gift of a helping hand — in this case, the simple act of making a meal for her.

Think about how you can extend yourself to help out someone else today.  Just by having your radar up to what someone else may need is where you’ll get your inspiration.


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Jul 16th

Where Our Spirits Live

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I’m so excited to be joining in on the Food and Wine Conference fun happening this weekend in Orlando!  It’s being held at a gorgeous resort, Rosen Shingle Creek, in Orlando.  Isabel Laessig (aka Family Foodie) is spearheading the effort with lots of fantastic sponsors and pro contributors like Chef Sara Moulton, Chef Fabrizio Giorgi, Chef David Ramirez, Michael Green and Jaden Hair.  I’m thrilled to be in the company of these folks as well as the bloggers, marketing specialists, cooks, and innovators.

Through social media I have uncovered a world of the loveliest people who are trying to bring people closer to one another through some aspect of food. Some people are chefs, writers, a mom or dad, a blogger, a photographer, or a gardener.   In the kitchen, there are so many things we all have in common.  Who doesn’t love create something delicious to eat with their own hands, and sharing that food and experience with someone else?

FoodWineConfWhat will take place in Orlando July 19-21st is a whole lot of fun, foodie love, and community building.

I’m proud to be a part of this community.

Finding what’s in common with one another, through the vehicle of food, friendship and fun, is where our spirits live.

If you haven’t signed up yet, there’s still time!







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Jul 9th

We Only Get One Life

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I read a quote by The Dalai Lama today that inspired me to share it with you.

When asked what surprises him the most about humanity, he said:

Man. Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then, he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or in the future; he lives as if he is never going to die…and then dies having never really lived.

Powerful insight, and a warning for our times, about how our priorities show up in our lives.

Stop to think today about how you are spending your time.

What daily activities do you do that create good health for you?



We only get one life.

Live it well.

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Jul 1st

What makes your table “shine”?

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For the past ten years or so, I’ve been interested in decorating and design. I’ve been exploring how to improve the “shine” factor of the table where I share meals.

The bonus of sharing meals at home is that you have creative control over how you decorate your table.  If you want to mis-match your plates for the sake of some eclectic interest, go ahead. I do this all the time and it’s a lot of fun.  If you want to display a pottery project your son did in his 2nd grand class as the centerpiece for the table, why not show it off with pride? Maybe you want to fill a bowl with interesting glass rocks you and your boyfriend collected at the beach and have a guessing game as to how many rocks are in the bowl?

What makes a table “shine” are items which have special meaning to the people who are gathering there to share meals.

As a gift to one of my professors, I gave her a platter I created for her at Color-Me-Mine (a paint-it-yourself pottery store).  Martha has told me how much she loves this original artwork. I imagine her using it frequently for salads or other dishes.  I used a ‘nature’ theme for this piece because she loves to eat salads, and to hike, and be in touch with nature.


Have you considered what special items you have around your house that might add “shine” to your dinner table?  Why not consider any artifacts, pictures, or other objects that might be fun to include when decorating your dining space?  If you have young people in the house, ask them to select an object (perhaps it’ll be a toy, or a favorite stuffed animal).

Whatever you try, you may find that the object leads to fun discussion, and deepens your enjoyment at the dinner table.

Please feel free to share any ideas you may have or have used in the past!


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