People say they don’t have time to cook, yet in the last few years we have found an extra two hours a day for the internet. — Michael Pollan, author of The Omnivore’s Dilemma
There is nothing like a crisis to remind you of what is important in life.
Over the past few months, as my family has adjusted to our current, leukemia-battling life, I’ve come to appreciate just how important family dinners are for all of us. When my mom was released from the hospital after her induction therapy, I realized that cooking big dinners for my parents and my family was healing for me. I’ve always loved food, and I show love with healthy, yummy food, so it just felt “right”.
Not surprisingly, as times of higher-stress have come… times when I’ve been at the hospital for large chunks of time (including dinner time), we’ve eaten out more. Not only have our bodies screamed that they don’t appreciate crappy food, but so have our spirits. It just isn’t the same.
So, it isn’t a shock that I was instantly drawn to The Family Dinner: Great Ways to Connect with Your Kids, One Meal at a Time by Laurie David. Part book and part cookbook, it is a nice reminder of why I value family meals so much.
The encouragement, recipes, and ideas for family rituals are really beautiful. I love the place setting, conversation starters, table games and music ideas. Each recipe includes a list of prep/cooking items that kids can do. Are these things necessary for a great family meal? Absolutely not. They are fun, though 🙂
Some parts of our family meals have been harder to keep up during this high-stress time, and one of those was our Shabbat meal with homemade challah bread. It is something that my kids love — the fresh bread, lighting candles, giving thanks… I smiled when I saw Shabbat meals mentioned in the first chapter and again later in the book, and realized that I’ve really missed those Friday night meals. I’m re-instituting them, effective immediately 😉
…I think Shabbat is a perfect concept for any family, regardless of religion. It’s just too great an idea not to do your own version: a special night once a week where everyone knows they will sit leisurely around the table, take stock of the week’s highs and lows, and savor family, food, and friends… — The Family Dinner pg. 199
On top of everything else: This book is just beautiful. The quotes and photography are lovely, and it is a joy to read. I can see how it’d be an encouragement for both those who already practice a family dinner or for those who want to start one.
(For the record, I didn’t get a free copy or any compensation. I had to check the book out at the library ;))