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"Who held your hash browns?" by Abby Watts (CatholicMom.com) Photo via Flickr (2009), CC BY-NC-ND 2.0[/caption] Smothered, covered, chunked, topped, diced, peppered, capped and country. Those eight adjectives help create very tasty hash browns at Waffle House. You can also go with traditional, but as a writer, I can’t resist a little flowery language and as a carb addict, I love me some hash browns with cheese! So if you walk into a Waffle House and you’ve ordered hash browns topped with cheese, onions and ham, your server will call out, “I need ‘em scattered, smothered, and chunked!” You then get to witness a beautiful routine that results in tasty morsels sitting right in front of you about 6 minutes later.  Have you ever taken your kids to Waffle House? Give it a try and let them sit at the counter. I’m sure they will be wowed. A friend, Sabrina, told me her sons complimented the cook so much that she thought he was going to cry. My family had a similar experience on one visit. We sat right next to the kitchen and one of my boys asked our server to give his compliments to the chef. She replied, “You can do it yourself! Hey, Porkchop!” and this large sweaty man walked over and towered over our table. My 5-year-old smiled sheepishly and said, “My compliments to the chef!” Porkchop lit up. Between Sabrina’s experience and mine, I realized there is something to Waffle House and its setup. As the guests, we can see everything; we see how hard the waitresses are hustling and how coordinated the cooks have to be to get everything on the plate when it’s hot. Being able to see the kitchen like that helps us connect the product to the human being behind it. Think about how important that is. If you’ve watched any show on HGTV, you know “open concept” is a buzzword and a coveted floor plan. The days of there being a wall with a door between the kitchen and dining room are no more. But in so many areas of our lives, we have closed-off “dining rooms.” In other words, we have created compartments where we don’t see anything but the final product. We don’t see the thought, preparation, and work it takes to produce the things we use. From the complex, like a song we hear on our favorite Catholic radio station (wink wink) or the simple, like an order of french fries, we forget to think about the whole instead of just one part that we get to consume.   So make an effort for you and your children to, symbolically speaking, sit at the counter more often. If we sit in the dining room too much we can end up forgetting what real value is. It’s not about what we can hold in our hands, it’s about the number of hands that held it on its way to us.

In what ways can we “sit at the counter” more often? What things do you think are important for your children to know the process behind?

Copyright 2018 Abby Watts