Thursday, April 5, 2007

The Dinosaur in the Dining Room


Do you have a formal dining room? Do you EVER use it except for holidays? Does it collect dust and “stuff” like mail, books, keys and cellphones more than it collects a hungry, chatty Sunday gathering of family and/or friends?

Or are you like us, in a condo with a small all-purpose table elbowed into the L-shaped space between the living room and the galley kitchen? This is cozy space and works for us as a family of two, but even this table tends to get cluttered with drop-offs and pick-ups. Because our schedules are so erratic, it is often difficult to plan and time a meal. As a result, Scott and I wind up eating on the sofa while watching a TCM we’ve recorded on TiVo. Outside of Christmas and Thanksgiving, the last time I joined in a communal feed fest at a large table was with colleagues at Carmine’s garlic palace in the theatre district.

But things are about to change. I’d like to have people over more often, to have a table to seat them around and not have to rely on a charming, but equally small sideboard for the mandatory buffet-style meal. We don’t have the space, but I’m going to make the space anyway. I have the vision burned in my brain, the track lighting to elongate and re-define the space that will center over a long, but narrow oblong table. I even have the table picked out from IKEA. We will have to pick it up on a very early Saturday morning, before the madhouse shopping traffic of Paramus, New Jersey, can sweep us into the angry vortex of the stacked Route 4/Route 17 interchange. Too bad we can’t go on a Sunday, but Paramus, to save its sanity, never repealed its Blue Laws. I wonder if they sit down to Sunday dinner in Paramus.


  1. I haven't been shopping in Paramus in, oh, 30+ years, since I went to college in NJ....there's an IKEA now? How cool! And how cool that you're changing your style to including a bona fide dining table. There is something luxurious about gathering your friends and family around a single table, so all can share the experience of eating together without having to balance food on their knees (which is what we did in my house before we got our first real table). Enjoy!!!

  2. The IKEA is on the old Alexander's site. Since they reconfigured the knot of highways, getting there is a trip, literally.

  3. You will love having a place where people can linger for hours over food, drink, and each other's thoughts.

  4. I'm really looking forward to it. Given how busy Scott has been, I'm expecting the dragging home of the table to be timed just right for Thanksgiving!

  5. Susan, lovie - Most of the very best times that have involved food were when Eric and I hosted dinner parties. This is not to blow or cooking ability trumpet (we have pot-lucks sometimes, too), but because of the atmosphere you can create at home to your specifications and to your guests' comfort. A home feels more lived-in, in fact really becomes a home, when people have dined there and look forward to being invited back. Well, that is my two cents' worth, and you probably have the dining room table now without me needing to nudge you further in that direction. I hope you have hosted a dinner party or two since purchasing the table! If not, I am still open to receiving invitations. :-p

  6. Oh, Shaun, I'm afraid you are going to have to nudge me. I have done entertaining in my previous abodes (had much larger tables through the years), but we haven't gotten around to improving our space here yet. This is my doing. I am in middle of painting the kitchen, dining area and hallway (a slow go), and want that fixed before we bring the new table and lighting in.

    I've eaten enough fine meals out in restaurants, but I always prefer home, whether it's just my husband and I or guests. We have had family here for holidays (a tight squeeze), so I really better get cracking.