The overall larger theme to our winter issue is Eat. That single three-letter word carries more weight and is one of the most important acts that we can do to sustain ourselves in addition to what type of food we eat.

My thoughts turn to the role of using my dining room table, especially the role it plays in our lives not just during the pandemic. In my opinion, my dining room table is the most important piece of furniture in my home aside from my bed.

During the past two years, it went from a gathering place for friends and family to a home office, a library, a studio for college projects, to a place to display all the food my neighbors shared – and that’s just the inside mahogany table. In Hawai‘i, many homes have open carports – and the real gatherings happen here in a covered but open space. My carport overlooked a taro patch across the road a make-shift garden, and outdoor real wood BBQ plus a picnic table that could seat up to 10 guests. Outdoor speakers, lau hala (leaves) mat, and café lights completed the space. This area of my home literally saved my life the past year.

So I started thinking and asking family and friends about their dining room tables. While most people never gave it a second thought at first, and then the intimate stories came and they are mostly emotional remembrances of holidays, birthdays, and a deeper understanding of how important this piece of furniture is and the role it plays supporting all of these memories.

Fast forward, to the late fall and I had to move from my current home. I knew my new space didn’t have enough room for my dining room table and was forced to find a new owner. As the empty truck arrived and the table was carefully loaded and strapped down I was overwhelmed with emotion and hit with a flood of wonderful memories.

So please pay attention to your dining room table. Clear it off and wipe it down. Buy some flowers or a new tablecloth and honor it as it holds much more than your next meal.

Dania Novack
edible Hawaiian Islands Magazine