My mom was obsessed with having family dinners. It became clear to me the night before my older sister left home for university and my mom burst into tears at the dinner table crying “We’ll never have another family dinner again”. Sure enough, we were all back at the table two months later for Thanksgiving. And we didn’t let my mom live that one down.
But now that I can’t deny I’m turning into my mother, I will admit that I know exactly where she is coming from. I, too, am obsessed with family dinners. Every Sunday night, I chart out the calendar for the nights when we will all be home to eat together that week then begin planning the menus. It’s not about the cooking and eating—it’s about the sitting together and sharing. It’s the rituals that evolve over time from sitting down together day after day. Let’s be honest, it’s not all smiles and laughter all the time. There’s still a lot of correcting of manners and checking in on what happened during the day—sometimes not always good news. But when else are you going to hear that information and learn to handle it as a team?
Needless to say, I was excited when a new book came to our attention at SavvyMom called The Family Dinner, Great Ways to Connect with Your Kids, One Meal at a Time by Laurie David and Kirstin Uhrenholdt. The foreward by Dr. Harvey Karp MD lured me in on the first page with a few interesting and alarming stats:
- Only half of modern families eat together more than three to five times per week
- Most family meals last twenty minutes…or less
- Families often watch TV while they eat
These practices are apparently a result of what he calls the fast-paced, no-frills society that has pushed us toward an assembly line view of life. The book is clearly not just a collection of recipes (although it is filled with many good ones). It also delivers inspirational quotes and stories from people who appreciate the family dinner and it’s organized in a very unique way. Some chapter titles include: “Cook Together at the Table”, “Table Talk”, “Kids in the Kitchen” and “Why Family Dinners Matter”, among others.
In a society that can find an extra two hours a day to spend online, it’s amazing that families can’t find the time to sit and enjoy a meal together. I give this book a huge savvy stamp of approval and hope you will enjoy it as much as I have been.
Do you sit down as a family to eat your meals? I would love to know.
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