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Just to say . . .



I want you all to know that I am so very appreciative of the comments you always leave on my posts, and that I do generally try to respond to each and every one of them. On here, on facebook, on Instagram, etc. My motto has always been if someone has been generous enough to take the time to comment, then I need to be generous enough to respond.  Comments are not always kind however and I usually try to brush the unkind ones off, but today I want to respond to a particularly unkind and insensitive comment which was left on my post on the Knives Expert site on my Roasted Chicken recipe, which said simply:  

“What family? You live alone with your husband.” 


Dear Beccy033, 

Thank you so very much for your comment. How very kind it was of you to remind me that my husband has outlived all three of his children, and that my own children and grandchildren live over 2000 miles away from us.  You sweet words sure gave me the warm and fuzzies.  It also prompted me to think about what it is exactly that constitutes a family.

At its very most basic, a family is the compilation of a group of individuals who share a legal or genetic bond.  It can consist of a very large group of people, or it can be as simple as just two people who live under the same roof, or not, it could be an individual and their cat/dog. Many family members may live outside the actual home, coming together from time to time to celebrate occasions and to just hang out. 

To many people, however,  family means much more than this, and even the simple idea of genetic bonds can be far more complicated than it might seem on the surface.

There are many kinds of families.  I have often heard it said that friends are the family that one gets to choose for themselves.   There are step and blended families, adopted families, foster families, and childless families, all in addition to what might be seen as the so called “normal” family. Some families have two moms or two dads.  Childless families might include pets as their family members.

Essentially, I like to think that a family is composed of individuals and groups of people who share an emotional and spiritual connection, even if they share no legal or genetic bonds.  For example one's “Church Family” may have shared spiritual connections and values, whereas a “Work Family” might share long term relationships based on common experiences and activities, and hopefully . . .  a shared and pleasant work space.

I suppose what I am saying really is that the definition of what constitutes a family is something that is living and breathing,  very fluid and constantly evolving, and it is individual and unique to each of us. Every person can define family in a different way to encompass the relationships they share with the people in their lives, which, over time . . .  can, will and should change as one's life changes, and the importance of family values and rituals deepen.  Basically, every member who is truly considered to be a part of a family will help to make and keep it richer.

So when I choose to gather family around my table for a special meal or lunch, this might sometimes indeed only be my husband and I, or it might include some of the many wonderful people we have chosen to invite to share our lives and occasions with us, and certainly on very choice and rare occasions it might even include some of my own children or extended family members.  The point is, “I” am the one who gets to decide who is and who isn’t a member of my family.  Often, I like to think that my family also consists of the sweet and loyal people who drop by every day to see what I am cooking and share my recipes with me.  I am always happy to see them, and I usually, more often than not, appreciate the kind words they leave for me.  May it be ever so.

And just so you know, whilst I would really like to say you are not invited to dinner, the kind of person that I am would never refuse,  even you  . . . . a place at my table.



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Marie Rayner
35 Comments
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35 comments:

  1. The best Thing we can do on our blogs is to switch on comment moderation, so we see the comment before it is published. I had been getting a fair amount of spam, but now I can delete the unwelcome comments or advertisements.

    I recently discovered your food blog and have enjoyed reading your recipes! I have a cup measure to follow American recipes, but I cannot fathom how to measure butter (or any fat) in cups! How do you do that? I live in Europe and we measure solids in grams and liquids in deciliters. Our butter blocks come in 200 or 250 grams.

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    1. I do that on my blog Sandra, but this was on the Knife experts site. I have no control of that. I get a lot of spam on here, but I just delete it as soon as I see it. I always try to give both measurements for my recipes on here! There are great converter sites that are quite reliable, although they won't give the measurements for everything. For butter it is 110g for 1/2 cup, 220g for 1 cup, 55 g for 1/4 cup. That's what works for me! Hope this helps! xoxo PS - shortening and lard weigh differently than butter which is heavier!

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    2. Thanks very much, Marie, for the equivalent measurements from cups to grams. I manage everything except the butter. I don't use lard or shortening. The latter doesn't exist here. Yes, your equivalents were very helpful!

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  2. Marie you have made a very kind and gracious reply to a rather unpleasant comment. I don't suppose Christine will come back to read it-unfortunately the internet allows anonymous people to take out their own bad temper or attempts at humour at random targets. If she does ever come back I hope she's shamefaced.

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    1. Thanks Jay. I wasn't going to say anything but then I thought to myself, no. Nobody is going to be mean like that and just get away with it. I am going to call them to task on it. Maybe they will think twice about being unkind to someone else. xoxo

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  3. Your response was actually so nice, I hope they feel really ashamed. Of course you are a family. On a day to day basis you are a small family, that grows at (I suspect) a moment's notice with an extra potato, or a change to tomorrow's menu. Sometimes your numbers increase by a couple other times it is far more and they are all treated like family, because that is what they are to you. Whether you are two or 22 family is what you choose!

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    1. Thanks Karen Lizzie! I like to think that Todd, Mitzie and myself are a family as are the friends that we entertain often at our table. Appreciate your comment very much! xoxo

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  4. Well written. So true for all of us.

    Keep writing and sharing your marvellous family recipes

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    1. Thanks so very much! You are so kind. I appreciate it! xoxo

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  5. Thank you for this! I live with my husband and our dog. We have no children, but we are a family and sometimes that does include friends as well. What a short sighted sad person that commentator must be! I’m sorry I so rarely comment, your blog posts are a part of my day. I love reading them, your recipes are wonderful and you feel like a friend.

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    1. Thanks very much Sarah! I like to think I have lots of lovely friends out there. I see blogging very much as a two way street and a sharing of love and ideals and common interests. It is only when something like this happens that I realise that not everyone is interested in sharing or even caring. I tend to just ignore the negative if I can, but today for some reason I found that I couldn't. My readers feel like my friends or else why would I do this. I see my blog as being somewhat of a communal table where like minded people can sit down together and enjoy whatever I have shared, or not. I don't expect everyon to like what I share. We all have different tastes after all, but I do want people to be fair and to play nice. It just rubbed me the wrong way! Thanks for your support! xoxo

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  6. Well that's a horrible comment. I hope you don't take it personally because whatever caused that person to be so mean wasn't your lovely recipes, generous sharing or kind hospitality. It was something else in their life that must have went terribly wrong. Whatever it is I hope they can get help to overcome it and move on to live a better life.

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    1. I felt it was very mean spirited. I know that my readers come from all sorts of backgrounds and countries and are very varied. I like to think that there is a space here, at my table, for everyone. Thank you so much for your lovely comment Jeannine! xoxo

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  7. Marie, that was a very gracious reply to a very spiteful person. Well done, I certainly wouldn't have been so gracious!

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    1. Oh trust me Sooze, I could have been very mean-spirited in return, but I chose to think about things first, instead of reacting in a knee-jerk reaction. This is what came to mind. Are we not all family? I like to think so! Thanks for your sweet response! xoxo

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  8. UNBELIEVABLE.
    Shame on you Christine.Shame on you.

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    1. Thanks Monique. I still believe that there are many more kind people in the world than there are nasty people. You are all proving that to me today in spades. Thanks for the love and support! xoxo

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  9. Well replied, Marie!! I never comment on your blog but today I felt compelled to do so.I absolutely love it and find your recipes easy and inspiring. Family goes beyond blood bonds, I consider my closest friends my family too as it is the family I have chosen. Keep up with the fab work you do here, Pati x

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    1. Thanks so much for your input Pati! I truly appreciate it and am grateful for your support! xoxo

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  10. Your post today is absolute perfection :) It's also the way I'd guess many of us live today with family members who are no longer with us and/or others who live many miles away. My husband and I are a family. We also have close friends we consider family. The person who made that comment must live in a very small world. Oops!! Don't mean to be like her...

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    1. That's okay unknown, I know you were not trying to be like her! Our world is changing. Long gone are the days when blood families lived in each other's pockets. We now have to forge out own family units, which doesn't make them any less family to us does it! Love and hugs! xoxo

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  11. Bravo, Marie. That is the loveliest, most eloquent and spot-on reply to a most unlovely comment. I'm glad you replied, didn't let her get away with that. Your post brings up a critical point in our new world -- families are not always nuclear families with children at home. My family is mostly me and Rick (and Lizzie-the-cat, who I also think of as family!). My family is my cousins. My family is my group of very good friends with whom I'd trust my life. I feel sorry for Christine. There must be something very sad and wrong in her world to be able to say this. Or, as Michelle Obama says, "When they go low, we go high." And you went high.

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    1. Thanks so much Jeanie! Families are evolving for sure. I love my blood family for sure, but I also love my other family which includes all of you! Your support is so very much appreciated! xoxo

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  12. My first thought was that the commenter might be in the midst of dealing with children's tantrums and messes, a cross partner, an overbearing parent, or a too-small grocery budget, and for whom a calm and compatible household of two might not fit her current reality. Whether her comment came from meanness or ignorance, your reply was warranted, and was a calm and instructive lesson that may widen her views. Which when you think about it is the work of family.

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    1. Thanks so much Kath! I really hope that she was just having a bad day! Or at least I like to think it was! Your support is much appreciated! xoxo

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  13. Very eloquently said, Marie. Families are the people, either by birth or by choice, that we love. Sometimes I long for a large family but most of the time two is just the perfect number. Families are our starting point. Look at the immense interest in geneology. We want to know who we are and where we came from. To have a place at your table would be an honour, Marie. Hugs, Elaine

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    1. I like to think that when I share my recipes with my readers Elaine, I am sharing my table with them! I hope they get that feeling anyways. After years of a busy, busy life and a house full of people, I never thought that I would end up with there just being two of us and our pooch, but it is what it is. That makes my online "family" even more important to me and I do appreciate each of you so very much. I love you no less. xoxo

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  14. I don't understand what people can get out of making mean comments like that... I always enjoy reading your cheerful posts! Best wishes from Switzerland

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    1. Thanks Juliette! Switzerland is on my bucket list! I was there once, as a baby and have seen the Alps off in the distance when we visited the Black Forest a number of years back, but have always wanted to go again! xoxo

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  15. Oh Marie.. I am so sorry somebody actually took the time to post a comment like THAT. I immigrated to Canada and it took me some time to find the one and only person I wanted to share my life with but my parents, my family is still 10,000 km away. So I do know how painful it is to be separated from the ones you love and basically have two families that hardly ever get together. Lots of hugs from Canada and let those miserable people be miserable. I would LOVE to sit at your table for an afternoon tea :)

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    1. Thanks so much for your support Anastasia! Oh that I could have you all over to tea! Wouldn't that be grand! Should I pop the kettle on? xoxo

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  16. I am so sorry that you have had to respond to such malice Marie. Your response was very considered and polite - good for you!

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    1. Thanks very much Toffeeapple. I know I should just let things like this go, but alas, I just had to have my say! lol xoxo

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