>WHAT’S IN YOUR DINING ROOM?

>Everyone knows that living today’s “world wide web” lifestyle has resulted in the loss of many daily routines. Most have taken a back seat to the electronic composition that clutters our lives. As a Personal Chef, I tend to get a birds eye view of the processes that overtake a household with career-minded parents and over-scheduled children.

First we know that electronic gadgets abound!

Stodgy briefcases, fashionable tote bags and overstuffed back packs all contain a variety of electronic devices ranging from the quintessential lifeline, (the how did we ever do without it) cell phone, to handheld computerized organizers, key chain memo recorders, portable video game consoles, at least one music reproducing apparatus, carry-along DVD players and a cache of spare batteries to ensure continuous optimum performance. In bygone days the contents would have been three books: an address book, matching calendar book, and a paperback book! Yes, we used to read books printed on paper!

Is it any wonder then, that the dining room table has assumed a new life itself?

All too frequently it is covered with a table cloth (preserving the surface, of course) and more of life’s present-day necessities. OK, even I admit that one end of my dining room table has the laptop on it! So in some households it may be the desktop computer that sits on the table, or at best, on a computer desk where the buffet used to be! Typically a build-it-yourself piece of furniture freed the table to hold the overflow of computer accessories and supplies. You might find piles of CD’s, a variety of printer paper, including several sizes of photo paper, possibly the new printer that is dedicated to family photo printing and a seldom used scanner under the never ending pile of magazines and catalogs of all things electronic!

Correct me if I’m wrong, but somewhere back in the 80’s didn’t I hear a projection that every household would become more organized with the installation of a Home Personal Computer? Did we just not take into consideration the clutter that would accumulate along with this phenomenon?

So, stay with me now, what happened to the dining room?

It conveniently became unavailable for sit down dinners at about the same time that we lost the time to sit down to those dinners. With soccer practice, after school tutoring, piano lessons, school club meetings, social events, etc. many kids are in and out of the house as if they were only visitors and not dwellers. If the parents aren’t working late or entertaining business clients, they’re taking an exercise class, volunteering for a charity or attending any number of community meetings or events.

There doesn’t even seem to be time for asking this question anymore. So that the infrequent opportunity to have a sit down family meal is wrought with all kinds of expectations just adding to the stressful aspects of planning, shopping, preparing and serving! Deciding to take the whole family out is another disastrous fiasco as now you are dealing with everyone’s opinion of where they should be eating on that particular night, because as we all know, what’s not in today will be totally hip-happening tomorrow!

The point I’ve realized is that the service we Personal Chef’s are providing for our clients is the ability to ensure that there are tasty healthy alternatives available in the freezer for them to dine on. Frequently, my family clients want every entrée packed in individual servings so that they can determine how many will be home for a meal, and defrost only the necessary quantity. Whether it’s consumed individually, in partial groups or by the whole family this convenience is a simple accommodation.

It’s all starting to make sense.

My only consternation came about when I arrived at my bi-weekly clients’ home, the one with the spacious eat-in kitchen, to discover that the paraphernalia over-taking the dining room had now begun to encroach onto the kitchen table. I had assumed this was the place that they currently, occasionally, dined together as a family! And we thought rabbits reproduced rapidly!

Time to put the laptop away (just to the end of the dining room table) and eat dinner! Of course, in my case, according to my accountant, the end of the dining room table constitutes an office making it a tax deduction.

EAT WELL…BE WELL
Chef Jim

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