There are two tables in our house.
Of course, if you were to go have a look, you'd swear there is just the one. It's right there in our kitchen 'nook'. Right now, it looks like a single table.
Most often, it is the kitchen table. Like now, with all the stuff that is the day in the life of a typical family scattered across it. It's covered with envelopes, newspapers and a laptop or two, looking for all the world like the kitchen table in many houses around the world. But, in our house, like many houses, there are actually two tables right there.
The thing is, the two tables occupy the same space, but not the same time.
Many days, even when evening comes and it's time to set the table for dinner and all that stuff of the day is swept away, the table is still the kitchen table. In our house, we routinely eat at the kitchen table.
Some days, however, the laying of the tablecloth and placement of the utensils and dishes anticipates a more formal event, one we call Dining with the Dubovs. On these days, the object itself is transformed, from a kitchen table into a dining table.
If that sounds a bit like transubstantiation, it likely is. In some ways, this 'transformation' requires the same slippery semantics and it definitely relies on a similar leap of faith.
The principle difference between taking communion and Dining with the Dubovs is that, instead of a measly bit of wafer and wine, at our table, you'll get some savory rosemary grilled lamb chops and a generous heap of fragrant spiced couscous to go with your full glass of malbec.
You'll also get some interesting conversation at our table. In fact, as important as the food is, some say that the food isn't the most important thing at the table. The table is. The food, they say, is really just an excuse to get together around it.
Or is it? Does good food bring people to the table, or do the people at the table demand good food?
I think it's the former, since whose table it is that people will gather at depends on who is cooking.
In our house, fortunately, that is Valery. When our kitchen table is transformed, there is no doubt that it's Valery's culinary skill that brings the Diners to the Dubovs.