3 Ways Dinner Changes Everything
Imagine it, you walk up to the table and see a hand lettered tag with your name on it. A spot at the table just for you.
Savory smells are wafting in from the kitchen with the sounds of dishes clanking and the water running, people laughing and talking. You look around at the place settings and appetizers, drinks ready for enjoyment and think they set all of this up for me? And that is when it starts to set in, they planned and prepped all of this so you could come and enjoy time together.
That is the moment that dinner changes everything.
I get it, there is the menu planning, grocery list making, shopping, putting the food away, prepping, cooking, setting the table and then the clean up… all for about 10 minutes of actual eating. How could all of that work for that 10 minutes hold any magic to change anyone’s life?
When we decided to host the first of our #freedomdinners we didn’t know what we were starting. We simply knew we had a desire to help and cooking dinner and inviting friends was the most natural way for us to do it. So we sent an invite out to friends on Facebook and simply said, we’re hosting a dinner and would love for you to come, but in order to save a seat we ask that you give a donation to Rescue:Freedom Int.
That simple idea started it all.
The thing we did not realize was how deeply these dinners would touch not just those we were helping through Rescue:Freedom Int. but also those right here in our community and at our table. Cooking a meal to gather people is an art. And just like any kind of art there are endless ways to create it, the main thing is the heart behind it and our community has taught us 3 main ways that cooking dinner changes everything.
1. Creates Space
When you say, ‘friend, I’m making dinner and I have a spot saved just for you’ you’re saying so much more than that you have a chair waiting for them. You’re saying I’ve thought about you, I’m making space in my day, in my calendar, in my planning that we could be together and meet our most basic need of human connection.
The best dinners are rarely about the food. The times at the table that stand out in my mind are the ones where their was space to relax, enjoy and share life together. All of the time to prep and plan and cook is for more than simply consuming the meal - you are creating space for you and your friends, family and community to connect. The food draws them in and creates space to be together.
2. Builds Connection
Have you ever tried to have a deep conversation with someone while they’re doing something else? Yeah, me too… it feels a bit like they aren’t really listening. Their thoughts are elsewhere, they miss the punch line, or the point of the story.
Now think of when you’ve been sitting, looking across the table and talking. Looking each other in the eye, telling stories or jokes, explaining a new idea or thought. How does your heart feel?
Here's the great thing about dinner : it's a natural, built into every day of our lives, time where you literally have to stop and eat. Aren't you glad we were created to need food! This need forces us together, and if you're intentional, it can be the most powerful time for you and your people to connect. And let's be real, our communities NEED more connection. Regardless of differing beliefs, when you sit at a table with another person, you look them in the eye and hear them, it changes your perspective. Now you know why they believe what they do, why they chose to act the way they did, the heart behind their motives, the person behind the belief.
This is the connection all of the work of dinner creates. The space and time comes together to create a deeper connection between people. Chopping those onions, dicing the cucumbers, sautéing the mushrooms and braising the beef are powerful tools to bring your relationships to a whole new level.
3. Gives Freedom
When we started Hosting Freedom Dinners we realized it was about more than raising money. These dinners are about giving our community a place to use what they do best. We invite flower farmers, bakers, caterers, wineries, gardeners, home cooks, hand letterers, seamstresses, musicians, people to set tables, serve, make coffee, wash dishes…. you name it, if there is a way that someone wants to be involved we find a place for them to serve.
It is powerful when we get to use the things we do well as a way to bless others.
Whether you are going to host a fund raising dinner or invite friends for a Friday Night Feast, invite them to help. When you open the invite it is giving them the freedom to use what they enjoy to be part of a bigger picture. You are giving them the freedom to belong.
Friends, let’s fill our tables, invite people over and do the good work of creating a meal that feeds our souls as much as our bodies. If you want even more inspiration check out our book Dinner Changes Everything, it is full of menus and ideas to inspire you to cook up a storm.
The table is a powerful tool and we’re here to help you leverage it! From Fair Trade Kitchen Shop to Recipes, let’s hang out more and harness the potential that’s waiting for us in our cupboards and kitchen drawers. Together we are creating a world that moves slower, loves deeper and sees people right where they are.