I believe it is important to feed the five Senses of your children at each meal time.
Sitting down to a meal is far more than eating food. Eating not only feeds a hungry tummy but includes all the five senses--sight, hearing, touch, smell and taste. Can I encourage you to think about this as you prepare meals for your family? It will bring such blessing to your children.
To dish up a meal on an un-set table is, I think, a sacrilege. It is even worse to prepare a meal and let everyone eat it at different times and wherever they want-- even in front of the TV. You can spend time preparing a lovely meal, but if it doesn't minister to the sight, it doesn't have a great appeal. On the other hand, you can sit down to a humble meal, placed on a table that is prepared with dignity and love and it can be a spiritual experience. Proverbs 9:1-2 tells us that the wise woman PREPARES her table.
Even young children feel the atmosphere when they sit up to a delightfully prepared table.
Perhaps you are a mother of young children and you can't imagine one more task during the busy supper time. It takes all your effort to cook a meal without the extra work of setting a table! However, obstacles are only in our mind. It doesn't take long and you can teach young children how to set a table properly. It is a basic task for them to learn and they will love to do it. You can make it a competition, as they each have their turn, to see who can set it the most attractively.
It adds a touch of class and delight to use a tablecloth. If you haven't time for washing tablecloths, purchase some clear plastic which you can place over a pretty tablecloth, or purchase some attractive plastic cloths you can wipe down after the meal. Add a candle, some flowers (even if they are wild flowers or weeds that your children find around), or a centerpiece to your table. Encourage your children to set the table beautifully, not haphazardly. It will make all the difference to your meal.
Did you know that we taste with the eyes as well as the mouth?
Make your food look attractive, too. Arrange it appealingly on the table in serving dishes, or on individual plates if you do it this way.
If you do happen to have TV in your home, make sure you turn it off during mealtime. Put on lovely peaceful music which you can have quietly playing in the background. Create a soothing atmosphere.
Hold hands together as you give thanks to God at the beginning of the meal. Create an atmosphere of togetherness and love.
This is a very important part of each meal. Use herbs and spices to enhance your food. It will not only taste better, but fill your home with tantalizing aromas. There is nothing like smelling the food that is cooking for supper. It really makes home feel like "Home, sweet home."
Did you know that God loves smells? The meat that burned upon the altar was a "sweet smelling savour" to God (e.g. Genesis 8:21; Exodus 29:18, 25, 41; Leviticus 8:21 and 2 Chronicles 13:11). I don't think there is any more wonderful smell than lamb cooking in the oven! God loves it too. I guess I say that because I am a New Zealander. It may not be the favorite smell of an American! However, you will have your favorite cooking aromas that you love to have in your home.
We wouldn't want to eat food if we couldn't delight in the flavor, would we? Make your food palatable and tasty. Be creative and make different kinds of tastes. Delight in the flavors of the foods God has created. We like to ooh and aah over the tastes of food in our family. I think God is happy about that. He likes us to appreciate what He has created.
You can also train your children's taste buds from a young age. Don't give them sweet foods when they are young and they won't clamor for them when they are older. Feed them healthy food, rather than junk food and that's the kind of food they'll enjoy. Don't even bring junk food into your home and you won't have trouble trying to stop your children eating it.
As you prepare your meal each evening, think about how you can impact the five senses of your husband and children. They will take these memories with them for life.
Enjoy making your meal table more special,