Table Talk

The dinner table is empty

It used to be that people sat down at a table to enjoy meals. And it is sad to note that most Americans no longer do so. Today, we mostly eat food on the run, gulped down without any ceremony or reflection.

Breakfast used to be hardy fare, served to break the overnight fast. The bellies of hard working men and children were filled by conscientious wives and mothers who rose early to prepare bacon, eggs, grits and toast for their loved ones before they went off to work and school. They lovingly boxed lunches that could be consumed away from home — yet still at a table  — in school or at the workplace. Families gathered in the evenings for dinner where family bonds were reinforced over a meal that invariably included a salad, main plate AND dessert, accompanied with talk about the day and plans for the morrow.

It’s hard to believe that this was something we all used to do — savor our meals and thank God for His beneficence before putting a morsel in our mouths — each and every time. That was, of course, before computers, televisions and telephones overtook our lives. Today, we hit the drive thru, grab a sandwich and wolf it down without any conviviality, ceremony or thanks.

Well, I am rebelling against this modern malaise. I choose my ingredients with care, cook my meals with attention and present them with grace. I am teaching my grandchildren that this is the way of the world at Shama’s house.

Here is a recipe that works for breakfast and dinner.

Shrimp Grits

Cheesy Shrimp Grits
(serves 6)



4 cups water
1 cup grits
1/4 cup butter
2 cups sharp cheddar cheese (shredded)


1/4 cup oil (olive)
2# shrimp (shelled & veined)
1 cup escallion (sliced thin w/greens)
1 tbs garlic (minced)
1 tsp pepper (crushed red)
2 tbs parsley
2 tbs lemon juice



USE medium saucepan
BOIL water
ADD grits (add slowly and stir constantly)
REDUCE heat to very low and cook for about 15 minutes until grits are done
ADD butter and cheese
STIR well and set aside on low heat


USE skillet
HEAT olive oil
ADD shrimp and cook until just done (about 5 minutes)
ADD other ingredients
STIR well
COOK until shrimp are completely done (not too long)
SERVE immediately — grits spooned into a bowl w/shrimp mixture on top


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