Personal Narrative- The Importance of Family Dining “Never forget that your family is really the most important assembly you ever entertain.” -Irma S. Rombauer, Joy of Cooking I awaken this morning with the aroma of bacon calling me to the kitchen. Upon my arrival I witness the table set for five, complete with imported European coffee, buttered toast , maple syrup, fresh squeezed orange juice, and a stack of pancakes so tall it continues to wobble trying to find a center of gravity. Alongside the table stands Isabella, a teacher, visiting us from Santiago, Chile. She will be our houseguest for the next six months and is eager to teach our family all she knows about South America, including its cuisine. Isabella, however has not forgotten the pancakes of North America, eaten on a previous trip and is looking forward to a reunion with the fluffy stack standing beside her. Gary has left the house early this morning hoping to catch up with his patients prior to their being medicated for surgery. The boys nearly trample Isabella over in their rush out the door to meet the carpool’s blaring horn signaling the urgency of departure time. Matthew, blazing by the breakfast table, wraps a piece of bacon tightly in a blanket of pancake, dips it into the warm syrup and without breaking stride, runs to meet the waiting car ready to take him to school. Seeing the look of disappointment on Isabella’s face, I begin to feel for the first time a need for serious mealtime reform to take place in our house. When I read Mr. Berry’s essay titled, “The Pleasures of Eating”, specifically when he describes, “Our kitchens and other eating places more and more resemble filling stations”(232), an eerie sensation comes over me – I can’t believe how w… … middle of paper … …Manners” (1991:29). 1 have now made it my personal quest to see that my family has as many home cooked meals as I can possibly provide. No longer would my household be, in Mr. Berry’s words: The passive American consumer, sitting down to a meal of pre-prepared or fast food, confronting a platter covered with inert, anonymous substances that have been processed, dyed, breaded, sauced, gravied, ground, pulped, strained, blended, prettified, and sanitized beyond resemblance to any part of any creature that ever lived (232). I am convinced that I have allowed the consumption of meals on the run to continue way too long and putting a stop to this practice is necessary in order to establish a healthy family, both spiritually and physically. Furthermore, if I can’t find a way on my own then — June Clever, set the table for five more, you’re having company for dinner!