At our farm, "Café Bauman" is open for 2.5 meals a day. That’s the joke, anyway, because we provide homemade lunches for our employees, and sometimes breakfast and supper also. My mother Yvonne is an amazing cook. Not only does she cook at least two full meals a day, but she is extremely flexible, not knowing if she’s preparing a meal for 5 or 15 until everyone starts coming in from the barns! Seriously. It’s an everyday occurrence to rush back to the cupboard for more plates. Not only that, but meal planning is challenging: one casserole or two? On average, there’s 12 people for lunch each day.
For this reason, it was considered nearly a necessity to purchase an oak table for our parent’s Christmas present in 2016. Mom’s current dining room table was not only a little undersized at 8’ long, it also was pretty old. Thirty-three years ago my parents purchased it from the family furniture store because no one else would buy it. It was a decent table, and the Formica laid over the particleboard top survived all six of us children! We knew just what we wanted to replace old wobbly: a 24’ oak table! Yes, twenty and four feet long. That happens to be the longest table we could purchase from the family store… Thankfully our house has an open floor plan, and the table can stretch completely out. (We measured before we purchased, though!) That means that we can fit 35 people comfortably around our table! You’ll notice that it was we children who pooled our money to purchase this giant table. The reasoning behind this, of course, is that, as we children grow our own families, we don’t want to outgrow Mom’s well-appointed dinner table! It’s the gift that gives back… in beef roasts, homemade rolls, and pancakes!
While it’s really nice to be able to all sit around the dinner table, it’s also nice when there’s room on the table for food. Sometimes, after the plates, cups, and silverware are set upon the table, there is only room for a skinny little Italian loaf to sit on the table. We like bread, (our German heritage, you know) but we like our meals square, not skinny. That’s why we ordered the table 48” wide. We can cram up to forty people around that table and still have plenty of room for all the food.
While our daily farm tasks take us hither and yon, everybody manages to plan their work around the lunch hour… And the locals seem to know when the best time is to come by and pay a bill: lunchtime! Mom’s cooking is our best employee benefit, and everybody knows it. Maybe we should start brushing up on the state’s hospitality regulations; just in case the state thinks we’re operating a restaurant without a license!