“Gath’r ’round this table to enjoyeth this food. Consume until thou art full and drinketh until thou art malt-worm..”
It’s dinner time and your family is sitting down to dig into whatever has been served up. Roast Chicken, Spaghetti, Taco Tuesday! Breaking bread and making conversation. Talking about your day and making plans for your future.
It’s crunch time and this project is due TOMORROW. So much construction paper, and glitter, and glue, and it’s all over everything. But this is going to be the best poster in the 3rd grade!
Where are you?
You are more than likely sitting at your dining room table. Where your memories are made and your dreams are shared. Where you celebrate your holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, milestones.
Have you ever stopped to think about why that is? What makes the dining table such an essential piece of our lives?
The dining table wasn’t always a table. It was a plank or a board or even a slab of other hard materials that people could gather around and enjoy a meal. Derived from the Latin word ‘Tabula” meaning flat piece.
In medieval times, the dining table was a dedicated area of the castle, even on a different floor. The table was placed in a room or a hall, far from the kitchen area where the common folk, servants or peasants resided. The tables were HUGE, seating upwards of 30 people or more. These were considered Trestle tables that included chairs, a throne and benches.
Over time, and thanks to the plague, the dining areas grew smaller, this was in consequence to the deaths that ravaged 14th century Europe. Labor shortages were on the rise and more and more people wanted to socialize less which drew them to eating in a more intimate setting. Therefore starting the trend of a smaller dedicated room, closer to the kitchen area for convenience.
Dining table styles have also played an essential role. In the 18th century, the ladies of the manor would withdraw from the table after the meal (considering before this, the women were not even ALLOWED at the dining table) to the parlor for tea and cakes, while the men stayed behind having drinks and cigars. The tables tended to take on a more masculine look and feel to appease the gentlemen. In the early 19th century, you would see the reverse of this, where the ladies stayed in the dining hall and the men adjourned into the study. In Victorian times, society was so repressed by the sight of a woman’s ankle that the designers also hid the ornate artistic craftsmanship of the tables. They were the legs, after all. Look how far we’ve come! The table legs make up over 65% of the design now.
Next time you sit down at your dining room table, be it for a meal, for a project, to use it as a desk…take time to appreciate the meaning. We strive to build the tables that you and your family can grow old with. Create lasting memories with. Eat the finest of meals on. And hopefully you can share those experiences with others.