Cross Cultural Family

Tabling Together

“The secret to a wonderful dinner is comfortable seating” -Sarah J. Herman

Bold advice coming from an executive chef. Sarah’s Sunday dinners, her families consistent collaboration and care for their guests shaped my understanding of hospitality. The best hosts understand that food is only one part of our shared experience. It’s about the moment when we push back from our food and linger over conversation. It’s stolen moments over the giggles of children.  It’s the gentle pursuit of people. It’s the humility to let them see your unvarnished selves. It’s bending together to clean spilled lemonade, laughing through disastrous desserts or toddler tantrums that turns guests into friends. Preparation is a central part of hospitality but it’s the humanity of invitation and participation that turns a meal into something that nourishes the soul.

Today in America, we can gather in a variety of settings to be fed, served and entertained without lifting a finger.  We really don’t need to gather in each other’s homes ever again. So why go to all this work? Invitation is important. I’m asking you to enter my space – to get to know my family.  If you enter with a critical eye you will find dust on my mantle or spots on my mirror, you’ll probably see me correct a child, drop a fork, ask for help. Hopefully, you’ll feel welcomed into our lives and friendship. Our family has invested time preparing our environment for you. We’ve made beds, wiped down bathrooms, set the table, considered our menu.   The central theme of is how we can serve you and make you feel the most comfortable.  

I grew up eating around a table that was set every night for dinner with plate, glasses, silverware and napkins. You can imagine the mixed emotions I had when my son and I came across a picture of Cookie Monster setting the table and he asked “are they having friends over?”  Our family’s rhythm is a little more chaotic. Paper plates and forks on the counter is our normal. It’s a natural outcome of our busy lives but we make concerted efforts to teach the art of hospitality.  It starts with serving our friends and neighbors.

On an average night in our kitchen you might the four of us trying a recipe that’s globally inspired, it’s loose, messy and often improtpu with at least one trip to the store for coconut milk, curry, or lemon grass.  Together we try to capture the magic of Thai street food or French casual dining and reminiscing about past adventures. We experiment and play, make mistakes together and fall into bed leaving a mountain of dishes.  Hospitality has become a shared family adventure. It’s a way to express our diverse cultures with our friends.  A way to create something from our travels that we can share or explore different global issues. This summer, I’ll be highlighting recipes and culinary adventures.  Dishes we’ve been making that focus on experiencing the world in our kitchen and sharing at our table. 

Join us,

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The child of missionary parents, writing became a natural was to process my adventures across the world.

Ndjerareou means 'he who builds the road in Ngambai, Nate's tribal language spoken in Chad, Africa.

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This officially launches the annual May death march to summer vacation! We stand with all our incredible teachers that are on the home stretch. Can we all take a deep breath and just smile cause from here on out—hot dogs and cereal make a well balanced meal, holes in school pants or shoes or backpacks will be taped or forgiven. I will only buy pencils for the STAAR test and dear God let’s pray for that poor teacher. Remember, cold pizza is a perfectly acceptable lunch option and paper plates are standard from here on out. If you need us we’ll be playing outside as much as possible but we will work extra hard on that giant project that just got sent home (and yes I meant we. Remember we’re giving grace to one another and poster board doesn’t magically appear.) Bring it on! Finish strong dear ones! 
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Happy Birthday Andrea!!! What a joy to celebrate your friendship and inspiring faith with people that trekked across the country to love you. It’s been a gift to watch you fearlessly face the unknown and put your trust so deeply in God. It was a testimony to the way you love people. Grateful for you!
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Lazy Saturdays in our house we all gravitate to the porch or the kitchen. This morning I stumbled onto the Bon Appetite channel @bonappetitmag (think YouTube meets one of my favorite food magazines.) Editor Chris Morocco used simple ingredients I keep on hand and slowly built this layered dish that includes 8 cloves of garlic, giant chunks of ginger and a 1/3 of a cup of Sambal Olek (chili paste.) It was refreshing to see the technique bring out the flavor over hard  to  find specialty ingredients. Fresh basil from the garden helped too. I substituted rice noodles instead of Ramen b/c it was in my pantry but seriously this dish was SOO good and was probably $8. I promised my 13 year old I’d teach her to make it and her future roommates will think she’s a god. It’s like the best comfort food. Think Asian version of mom’s spaghetti. #thankyouChris  #adventuresinthekitchen  #thefamilythatcookstogether #noodles #fortheloveoffood #simplefood #goodfoodfeedsthesoul #sambalolek #lazysaturdaycooking #cookingtogether
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