Happy New Year! I can hardly believe the holiday season has come and gone, and yet here we are, beginning the second week of 2018 already! I sincerely hope you all enjoyed some time off with your loved ones, enjoying the festivities, and reflecting on 2017. Last year certainly had its ups and downs (more ups than downs, I am glad to say!), as do most, but I’m feeling extra grateful for family, the countless blessings we have been given, and the opportunity for a fresh start. I love January. I love a clean slate, and how it invites us to begin anew, and take on those goals and hopes we have with a restored sense of motivation.
Something I’ve come to learn over the years, is that a simple, delicious meal is the ultimate gathering tool. As you sit around the table, no frills, no fuss, the warm food is served, the seats become full, and the bellies of those you love are satisfied. Deeper than that, a simple meal around a table can bring connection to a busy family who have been ships passing in the night, can be the avenue through which you show love and care, and can even be a personally soothing task for the chef…as the spoon stirs, the stress of the work day melts away. The kitchen and the table are two of my favorite places to be, and it’s been in those places, where I’ve recycled tried and true recipes that keep my family asking for seconds!
Gathering people around the dinner table is one of my favorite things to do. It’s there, at the table, where I feel people are invited to be their truest selves. With warm food, delicious drink, and good conversation, a single dinner can create memories that last a lifetime. In the Martinez home, I love to cook, and I’ve learned that when people are fed, they feel cared for. That is the power of sitting around a table…a physical need is being met, but an inward one is too. Some of my favorite moments with my family and friends who feel like family, have happened over dinner. I watch the weariness of the day melt off, and as bellies become full, hearts follow.
“The heart of hospitality is about creating space for someone to feel seen and heard and loved. It’s about declaring your table a safe zone, a place of warmth and nourishment.”
– Shauna Niequist, Bread and Wine