Nancy Moser

Nancy Moser is the award-winning author of over twenty inspirational novels. Her genres include contemporary stories including John 3:16 and Time Lottery, and historical novels of real women-of-history including Just Jane (Jane Austen) and Washington's Lady (Martha Washington). Her newest historical novels are Masquerade and An Unlikely Suitor. Nancy and her husband Mark live in the Midwest. She’s earned a degree in architecture, traveled extensively in Europe, and has performed in numerous theaters, symphonies, and choirs. She gives Sister Circle Seminars around the country, helping women identify their gifts as they celebrate their sisterhood. She is a fan of anything antique—humans included. Find out more at and and her historical blog:

The Rules Of Restaurant Waiting

Better a dry crust with peace and quiet
than a house full of feasting, with strife.

Proverbs 17:1

I like to cook. Scratch that. I like the idea of cooking.

I have cookbooks for low fat, no fat, and don’t-ask fat. I like to look at them. I even mark an occasional page that makes my taste buds tingle and my stomach gurgle in anticipation. But as far as actually making a recipe?

I’d rather eat other people’s cooking. Restaurant cooking. And since it’s summertime, and the last place I want to be is in the kitchen, our family does our part to further the restaurant economy. From burgers to barbecue, fettuccine to fajitas, give us a lot of good food for a good price and we’ll be there, appetites idling.

When I was growing up, going out to eat was reserved for special occasions like Mother’s Day, vacations, or the time when the oven broke. But based on the waiting times at most restaurants, the modern family thinks any day is Mother’s Day. And Father’s Day. And kid’s day. Obviously, I’m not the only one who has dusty cookbooks.

But eating out as a family must be handled wisely. “A person’s wisdom yields patience” (Prov. 19:1a). Patience is imperative in the process, so let me share my wisdom with some Rules of Restaurant Waiting that may come in handy when your stomach (and your family) threatens to growl.

1. Timing is everything. If we get to our favorite restaurant by 5:00 p.m., we can walk in like we own the place (we should own at least four restaurants by default). Get there at 5:30 and we have to wait an hour. Get there at 6, make it a two-hour wait. Arrive at 6:30? Better bring our jammies and fuzzy slippers. I’m sure there’s a break in the waiting pattern as the evening wears on, but that’s for the dinner-is-a-bedtime-snack set to find out. Our family motto is “Feed Mom at five.” I’m less cranky that way.

2. All waiting rooms are not created equal. The waiting rooms of some restaurants hold three people comfortably—or four people if you don’t mind a stranger’s chin skimming your earlobes. These restaurants are obviously not prepared for today’s chow-down attitude. Other waiting rooms resemble a bus station. Rows of benches line the walls, warning you (if you’re astute enough to put two and two together) that these benches were meant to be filled with famished bodies. Of course, outside is good. Unless it’s raining, 103 degrees, or a wayward tornado is rushing by.

3. To vibrate or vociferate? That is the question. Some avid restaurant-goer invented the vibrating pager. Kids argue over who gets to wear these modern-day wonders. They clip them on the waistbands and strut around like they’re waiting for an important call from their brokers.

If not a pager, we listen for “Moser, party of five!” being sung over the intercom. But while we’re eating, we tire of hearing others called to seating.

So . . . we vote for good vibrations.

4. Don’t drool on the diners. Learning to wait for anything is wise. But waiting to eat tests the Golden Rule because honestly, the point to conquering restaurant waiting is to get the other diners done with their food and outa there so you can pounce on their table.

The key is to position yourself within staring distance. Or drool over their shoulders. Having your teething infant do the drooling is even better—especially if the infant is crying with that high-pitched wail that is usually reserved for airplanes and the silent prayer during church (was there ever a question about what the congregation is praying for?).

When the diners have finished the main course and get that look in their eye like they might consider dessert or an after-dinner coffee, that’s when you start your laser-beam stares. Have the kids move as close as they dare and put on their waif faces—the ones patterned after the movie Oliver, where the poor little orphan holds up his bowl and pleads, “More, please.” Guilt is the leading cause of indigestion—and the impetus for many a timely exit that opens up a table.

5. To expedite the actual eating, look at the menu while you’re waiting. Know who’s going to share what with whom. Who’s going to eat my french fries while I get their salad. Who’s going to get Dad’s pickles. All negotiations, pleas, and deals should be finalized before you sit at the table. Actually, at our favorite restaurants, this step is unnecessary because we tend to order the same things. Even our youngest could order for the entire family, down to the Diet Cokes and the multiple sides of ranch dressing. Of course, there’s always the wise guy (usually my husband) who says, “I think I’ll try something different tonight.” His statement is greeted by a bevy of moans because we know he’ll do no such thing. Our taste buds are finely tuned creatures of habit and they don’t venture willingly into a new dish that might make us wonder what we were thinking. God may like variety, but the Mosers prefer a sure thing.

I’ve been a bit facetious here, but the point remains summer is all about togetherness, God is all about love, and family meals can be a time to extend that love to one another.

Pass the ketchup, please.


Nancy Moser