Slow Eating and Savoring New Words for a Full Experience


Limin’ + gemütlich + ichigo ichie = serving up good food, great company and words to describe those moments.

By Michelle Hamman | Twitter: @MotherTongues

What memories do you have of spending time around an abundant table?

The table in our Michigan home comes from the Knysna forest of South Africa’s south coast. It is a handmade table of dark indigenous wood. It’s not sealed with varnish, so we apply a clear oil that brings out the dark red and black color of the wood.

As a family we love spending time around this table. Here we strengthen old friendships and foster new ones. With others we tell stories, remember, laugh, cry, share tasty food and good wines. Here we share life together. It may be our South African genes–birthdays, holidays, anniversaries, and every celebration of life call for the ritual of eating together. There is always enough food.

The Slow Food movement has shown us how to eat locally, sustainably, and in harmony with nature. The slow food movement, of course, includes slow eating, where tastes are savored, without a rush, and a sense of community is celebrated.

I would love to introduce you to words I’ve discovered from around the world that tell us of the enjoyment of a shared meal and table-fellowship:

  • The Danish
word Hygge describes the pleasure of making ordinary things memorable. It’s taking pride in what you have now and not just what you want or can purchase; owning only things you truly love; celebrating every happening; and, living an authentic life.
  • From Trinidad and Tobago in the Caribbean we learn the word limin’. If you are limin’ with your friends, you relax as you celebrate relationships and community while setting aside, at least for a moment, the drive for productivity and efficiency.
  • The Greek offers us the word meraki: preparing a meal with soul, creativity and love. I’ve seen meraki being described as “making a noise in your kitchen!”
  • The German word gemütlich describes a hospitable space where you and your friends can set aside all concerns. Find community and a sense of belonging where burdens and worries disappear. Gemütlich anticipates a comfortable space.
  • And, the Japanese idiom ichigo ichie challenges us to treasure each moment, for it happens only once. Ichigo ichie values each encounter and relationship a moment offers.

As summer approaches and local produce become more readily available, let’s be creative in our cooking. Also, why not use intuition and follow the freedom of our nose like the French: cook au pif.

May these words deepen your awareness of cooking with imagination, empower you to celebrate table-fellowship, and lead you to slow eating.

To buy a fabulous apron featuring these new words: Click here.

About Michelle:

Michelle Hamman is the owner of and loves traveling and being an adventurous eater. She grew up in South Africa with slow Sunday meals, birthday parties at any age, and spur-of-the-moment barbeques with a multitude of friends. She lives with her husband and two beautiful girls in Holland, Michigan.

Idelette McVicker
If you only know one thing about me, I'd love for you to know this: I love Jesus, justice and living juicy. I also happen to drive a minivan and drink my lattes plain. (My life is exciting enough!) Nineteen years ago, I moved from Taiwan to Canada to marry Scott. We have two teenagers, a preteen, a Bernese Mountain dog and a restaurant. (Ask Scott to tell you our love story.) In 2010, I founded and it has now grown to include a Dangerous Women membership community, a Red Couch Bookclub, events and gatherings. I'd like to think of it as curating transformational spaces for women in community. I long for women to be strong in our faith and voice, so we can be advocates for God’s heart for justice here on earth. As an Afrikaner woman, born and raised in South Africa during Apartheid, my story humbly compels me to step out for justice and everyday peacemaking. I have also seen firsthand the impact injustice has had on the lives and stories of women around the world. I refuse to stay silent. I am anti-racist and also a recovering racist. I am a Seven on the Enneagram, an INFP and I mostly wear black, with a dash of animal print or faux fur.
Idelette McVicker

Latest posts by Idelette McVicker (see all)

Idelette McVicker