Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Quotes from Table Talk by Mimi Wilson and Mary Beth Lagerborg

In 1994 Jim and I had a visit from Cal and Mimi Wilson. He's a doctor, she's an author and conference speaker and they were then living in Ecuador as missionaries.

Mimi's hostess gift to me was a copy of the second book she co-wrote with Mary Beth Lagerborg, Table Talk: Easy Activity and Recipe Ideas for Bringing your Family Closer at Mealtime. From Mimi, I learned that the best way to communicate the "how-to's" of family mealtimes was through stories. 

As you can see by the photo of my copy, I have referred to it over the years for encouragement and conversation ideas.

When I pulled it out to read through it recently I was surprised at how much of what I said in my book paralleled this one. (But I've noticed that with The Personal Touch by Rachael Crabb and Family Dinner by Laurie David whose books I never saw until after my final edition 2011 edition went to the publishers and their books were written after my 2003 edition.)

Mimi and Mary Beth have so much wisdom. Sadly, their book is no longer in print, though you can find it from various used book sellers. So I thought I would share some snippets with you.

On the need for a sense of home:

"If home is not a refuge, family members will find a refuge somewhere else—at a friend’s house, at the office, at a restaurant, at a bar, in a gang—wherever they feel welcome just as they are."

On conversations with the family:

"Kids don’t talk on demand." 

"Candlelight is mystical. People linger at a table to talk in the candlelight."

We stayed with friends in Bogota and their 7 year old son delighted in the candles on their table and lit them at every meal, even breakfast!

"Steer the conversation away from criticizing other people, whether present or absent." 

This is so hard for me. I can never think of what to say to naturally steer conversations away from unwanted topics. I remember once when someone was being talked about negatively suddenly saying, "I just started using a new shampoo for blondes. Do you think my hair looks lighter?" We did change the subject!

On raising spiritual kids:

"Don’t keep God in a box; include Him at the table."

We want our children to have a real faith, not just at the time of "family devotions."

On complaints about what is served:

"Today’s Menu
Two Choices:
Take It or Leave It"

On hospitality:

"Hospitality is a ministry; the family gives and it also receives." 

"God wants us to hold all we have without grasping." 

"If you don’t call attention to a problem, it probably won’t be noticed."

Here she was talking about what to do when a "disaster" happens when you have guests. My mom tells the story of a woman who was the hostess with the mostest, the woman she wanted to model her hospitality after, who had a whole, fully cooked roast slide onto the floor just before slicing. This happened in front of the women who had come to the kitchen to help. "Helen just picked it up, rinsed it off, sliced, and served. The men never knew!" (Till now.)

On the emotional impact of family mealtimes:

"In the warmth of the kitchen with a listening cook, at the table with family and friends, and through his cooking contributions to the family, a child senses the belonging he needs so much. "

On camping:

"What would tribal peoples think of us if they knew we go on vacation, at some trouble and expense, for the thrill of cooking potatoes in the coals much like they do?"

This just tickled my funny bone and I had to share it.

This book is worth having for the wit and wisdom, the recipes and the conversation starting topics. If you can get a hold of a copy, by all means do it! 

One day in the not too distant future, I will share some their conversation starters.

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