Hygge Feature #20 Shared Meals

Food tastes better when it’s eaten with friends. A shared supper, where people bring contributions, always seems to result in a groaning table laden with goodies. Dinner parties are decidedly NOT hygge, because they are too formal and set up to impress. Hygge meals are different. When extra chairs have to be brought from other rooms, when crockery is mismatched, when it’s all about the company and there’s lots of laughter, when the food is simple: that’s when a meal is hygge.


Photo by Joan Leotta

Around the Round Oak Table

Around the round oak table
Revolves our nightly show.
No matter how fast the daily grind
Over dinner, we take it slow.

No masks at this venue.
Entertainment for all.
Set the table,
Pour the water,
Serve the food
Let’s Eat!
Curtain’s up!

Equal billing to food and talk
Freely passed round the table

Pasta, salad, meat fill  plates as we
dish the day’s events,
hopes,  highs, lows.
a cacophony of topics–
Simpsons… Buffy…
Death penalty… test scores…
George Washington and golf!

By the time  plates are empty, hearts are full.
Long after the sweetness of dessert is a memory,
Words continue to be served up in hearty portions
Conversation’s everyone’s favorite course at the round oak table.

In Eliot’s rooms “ the women come and go
Talking of Michaelangleo”
Around the round oak table, love is spoken—loudly, and by all.

By Joan Leotta

Previously published: Fragrance, a British Journal , Spring 2014

Malawi Bling

Evening meal shared, sun bled beyond the horizon,
the stone threshold step draws you to the shuttered night.

One poor candle emits yellow light. The darkness soaks this up
leaves you sightless and as off balance as a one-year-old.

Several hands guide you. The air fills with giggles and hyena cackle.
Under Paul Simon’s African skies you squint as the space grows

falls into your whiteness, close enough to touch,
a blur of radiance, a liberation. You know not what is below your feet

above a banished moon, the inky black a backdrop
to silver fury and smoky glow. Flighty besom, stretch out forever

parallel to the heavens, counting stars, drawing constellations,
walking on your back drunken with possibilities. You long for a star bed

Maggie Mackay



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