To my dear Mother: A letter on the value of shared moments at the table.

Dearest Mother,

We were able to talk and share and reminisce to our fill during the month of May. So yes, in effect, I am determined to dedicate my life’s work to the beautiful trappings of table decoration and accoutrements of fine dining. To the quiet joy of a small plate framed by a larger that calls forth the divinities of convivial eating. Each of us has his own ritual: there are those nourished by the moods of a day’s ending, gazing peacefully into nothingness from depths of a kitchen in stillness. And then there are their multi-tasking counterparts, with one hand on a cell phone screen and the other engaged in scooping out food from a recently delivered throw-away eat-in meal container.

Yet there is a third class who prefer to sit and dine, reposed within the moment, away from the distractions, devices, and commodities of modern life. These happy few take time with food as visits with the self, or better yet, with family and friends. Here are eyes that take delight in the disposition of gleaming tableware and that call one’s senses front and center: a place where conversation serves as the ultimate medium for unifying all hearts. I call it communion.

I am convinced, Mama, that time spent eating is the ultimate luxury, and that we should seize that luxury simply because we can. Isn’t it in honoring these opportunities that we find peace, happiness, and a sense of wonder? That is what I believe. Embellishing simple moments through the enjoyment of authentic and well-made objects, chosen with care and attention, should be seen as a necessity and not for “next time”, or merely holiday times, nor for after “retirement”, when we’re sure to have “more time”.

The world we live in is increasingly complex, and what is true one day is so often not so for the next. Because of this, we are obsessed with a search for meaning. Too often, solutions mean playing the chameleon, cleverly changing ourselves in an effort to keep up with the times: red today, green tomorrow, maybe yellow the day after. We rarely stop to ask ourselves what, if anything, of importance these changes actually accomplish. An exercise in emptiness and frustration, to be sure – yet how is it I seem the lone spirit awake and distressed at this inanity?

It has therefore become my mission, dear Mama, to march to a different drummer, to slow down, and really listen to my inner voice. I have undertaken to build a solid and timeless universe for myself and for others that is unconnected to that mindless treadmill of emptiness, and one where time is taken to listen for and follow one’s own particular music. I feel deeply that this is the path to a better life for all, to a more joyful and a balanced existence.

After all, I inherited these values from you, Mama: the importance of doing things right, your refusal to cut corners, and your determination and freedom of mind. Thanks to you, I have full access to my imagination and to my sense of harmony. With the rigor I learned from Papa, I am able to persevere in my vision. I will attain my goals, you’ll see – and you will be so happy for me.

And you are right, Mama: nobility is found in restraint. I will never succumb to the need to shout my determination from the rooftops – I promise!

Affectionately, as always…

your Eric