My Kentucky Kitchen Table was hosted in Bowling Green Kentucky, on November 5th. A couple girls from my class, five sorority girls with some others popping into the conversation, and I all had a unique dinner squished around a small black table. We had to grab stools from another table in the house to fit all of us. Even though we were a group of college girls we came from different backgrounds and all have different thoughts and opinions. Our majors ranged from sciences to the arts. We came together from all over Kentucky and even from Nashville and our parents did different things while teaching us different values.
I am not in a sorority and never considered being in one because I felt like I wouldn’t fit in or I would be judged by them. My image of a typical sorority girl was a girl who judged people, was unkind and only cared about herself or her sorority sisters. However, the girls I talked to were all very sweet and happy to have me over. I am ashamed of myself for stereotyping all these nice girls. At the end of the night we all got to know each other, and I had a lot more fun than I thought I would. Although I still don’t think I’ll join the sisterhood, I will rethink the way I see their members.
It was a cold, windy night and the rain was pouring, so I was already uncomfortable and nervous. I was relieved to be out of the rain, but once I walked into the sorority house and saw all the girls gathered in the kitchen making spaghetti, I started to feel more relaxed. The dinner actually started before we even started eating. We were talking with each other while we were cooking and asking questions about each other’s days and what we were doing. While I was cooking we were all laughing and talking about the most random things. It was a great way to get the night started and break the ice.
Our dinner was not what you would call fancy. My classmates cooked spaghetti and meatballs, which is a great entrée, but the sides was where it got interesting. One girl brought garden grown green beans in a mason jar, and I made macaroni and cheese with a recipe from my mom. So our plates were made up of two pasta dishes and green beans, which was an interesting sight. There were also freshly baked brownies to close our meal. Even though the meal sounds strange everything was very good and was super fun to make.
The hardest part of the dinner was getting a good conversation started. The beginning of the dinner was more about getting to know everyone. When we first started asking questions we got short answers followed by some awkward silence. When we started eating however, people became more comfortable and open to the idea of talking more. This shows how the power of sharing a meal. It helps bring everyone together and you can’t argue and scream at each other with food in your mouth.
We asked everyone what citizenship means to you and we had answers from being a good neighbor to being a good person in general. A common theme going through the dinner was that no one had super strong opinions on politics in general. There were opinions for sure, they just weren’t very passionate about it. In today’s world it seems like everyone will be at each other’s throats about politics and every mention of the word turns into a heated argument, it was nice to have a calm chat about voting and running for office.
Social issues were a big topic at the dinner table. With the Me Too movement and lgbtq+ at the forefront. When politics did not get us invested, the problems that our loved one’s faced got the real conversation started. In order to solve a social problem you have to approach it from different angels. All of us agreed that there are many problems in America that need to be solved and they all cannot be solved by just politics. However, with the elections being the next day we were hopeful that we could start to make a change. In America, there are many ways to change the way people think for the better. There is never a time where you should give up hope. I think a great lesson to learn is that even if times are hard and problems cannot be solved, being positive and having hope will get you through it.
One of the girls began talking about her trip to the English Isles and what a great experience it was. She learned about different cultures by actually visiting them. The people she talked about ranged from polite British people to a rude Scotsman. We then began talking about other places all of us wanted to go. We all wanted to go to different places for different reasons. Some wanted to go on vacation, while others wanted to know the culture. I’m so glad that all of us wanted to travel at least some part of the world. We began a very insightful chat about weather America was a blend of cultures or if we even have a proper culture. I believe that traveling is one of if not the best way to learn about the world. You can look things up and learn some things but once you experience it you know. Others agreed with this idea and thought that they learned a lot from their trip.
I learned that there is always new things to learn and new ways to grow. Most of the sorority girls were all upperclassmen and they seemed to know a lot about Bowling Green and Western Kentucky University. There was even a joke about how Bowling Green has so many restaurants. These girls were older and somewhat more mature, but they still were having fun eating ungodly amounts of mac and cheese. Their opinions on things were still looked at in a more mature way, with focusing on how people were effected rather than based on emotions. Some of these girls will be going into the workplace soon and I couldn’t be happier that there are good people who are going to be successful and make their mark on the world.
Family was brought up a lot at the dinner. Some of the girl’s families would always get together for a family dinner, while others only did it on occasion. It was clear that everyone at that table loved their family. We had stories of grandmothers fawning over their perfect granddaughters and mothers being strict yet kind. We had a couple of girls that believed they were put on this earth to be a mother. They wanted up to five kids and have a large, loving family to mother. While I get the sentiment, I don’t think I could handle more than two kids let alone five. It was interesting hearing why these girls wanted to start a family later in life. I learned why some people would want to have a large family.
Love and kindness to everyone was a popular discussion as well. With people saying to give food to the homeless and donating money to charities. We all agreed that everyone deserved some love and kindness no matter who or where they are. People having equal opportunities regardless of race, religion, gender, and sexual preference was very important to all of us. We talked briefly about money and how greed is something common yet very dangerous. We wanted jobs that are open to everyone and making sure people had at least what they needed to survive.
On the subject of economy most of us said that we would rather be happy than rich and some even said they could just be scraping by, but if they were happy, their life would be a success. We understood that money was very important, we also knew we didn’t need it to be happy. Including that greed can be detrimental to the enjoyment of your life. I the purpose of your life is to make money you are not actually living your life. Of course, our opinion can still change once we actually begin having to earn money and pay for things we need. However, the values we have about money are something we should think about.
All in all I learned a lot from this experience and made some new friends that I wouldn’t have talked to without having to do this project. I was taught by others how to have hope and to learn more about your environment. I also learned again to not judge a book by its cover. People throughout history have shared food as a way to bond, and I now know the power of cooking and sharing a meal. It’s an easy way to get people relaxed and open to sharing stories. I’m so glad this all happened over one simple meal together.