- Jan Risher

Every now and then, I visit someone’s home and notice that they don’t have a real-for-goodness table. Maybe they have a bar or breakfast counter, but there’s no table where the whole family is able to sit down and enjoy a meal or work on a project.

I believe the table is the heart of the home. It’s where everything comes together. Beyond the importance of a table, I also believe in the value of a family sitting down together for a meal. From cooking, to setting the table to cleaning the dishes afterwards, I believe each step of the routine is important to the rhythm of life in general and the way a family reacts and relies on each other on a day-to-day basis.

To be clear, I don’t have the luxury of being able to actually cook a meal every evening, but even without that piece of the puzzle, we still manage to eat together at the table. We call those nights catch as catch can.

Catch as catch can usually requires a whole or partial family huddle. We talk about what all is available in the refrigerator or cupboard. How creative can we be in creating dinner? Will two of us eat the same thing, or will each of us come up with completely different dishes? How many people will the leftovers feed? These are the essential questions of catch as catch can — and usually the meals are tasty and the company is good.


Even though my daughters are only 14 and 10, I ask that they participate in catch as catch can. I prefer it when we make a simple soup. A recent concoction included leftover bits of steak, tomatoes, leftover baked potato and some broth. It was delicious. However, sometimes my husband or one of the girls ends up with the dinner of anti-champions, and they go for the old Ramen noodle stand-by. Lately, we’ve hit BLTs hard — and what could possibly be better than a BLT? The menu varies throughout the year, but catch as catch can is almost always a success.


One of the reasons the girls like it is because they get to have more control over their destiny/dinner — and nothing’s wrong with that.