This past winter I began lighting candles each night just before our small family of three sat down to dinner. It changed the way we eat. Even now in the long-lit days of a northern spring, a reminder to take a deep breath and lower our voices before lifting our forks does the same as the candles that once lit our table.
For years we slid into our chairs, fresh from email, homework, or feeding the dogs. We arrived at vaguely different times and jumped up and down to hastily get one more thing we’d forgotten. We continued, without pause even for breath, the conversations started in the kitchen or between the top and bottom of the staircase as we rushed to dole out the food. No, we never have screens at, or even near, our dinner. Yes, a good five out of seven nights we eat together as a family at the dining table. The food is usually homemade, carefully planned, and tuned into a whole globe of culinary traditions. But our last meal of the day was still missing something.
Then we met a family who did things a little differently.