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Let’s Eat Together!

Sharing a meal is nourishment for the soul not just the body whether it’s hosting a dinner party for a dozen or sitting down for a family meal.  Make sure to spend time together at the table with family and friends.

Wise Words…
Dinner has the power to create family and community, whether the gathered are blood relatives, business colleagues or newfound friends. Simply put: Good things almost always happen when people share a meal. – Unknown

Sharing a meal forces a time out to nourish mind, spirit and body. If you consider all three then you realize how important it is and it doesn’t have to be dinner. Here are some ways to make it happen even if your budget or time is tight.

1. Picnic – If you are always on the run, make a meal to go. Pack it up and bring it with you to the beach, park, ball/soccer field or pool. Take a break and sit together to enjoy sandwiches, cheese, fruit, bread, fried chicken or whatever is handy to pack in your basket or cooler. The shade of a tree, a blanket and some delicious snacks will provide the perfect place to share your meal.

2. Brunch – If dinner parties are not in your budget, too time consuming or just not your style, try breakfast as the time of day to share a meal with friends and family. Sunday is a great day to invite the gang over for a pancake breakfast. This is a very inexpensive way to entertain a crowd and conversation over a few cups of coffee is a great way to catch up. Add fresh fruit, fun toppings, bacon or sausage if you wish and you will have a delicious meal for many. One of the perks of breakfast is that you and your guests still have the whole day ahead to enjoy any way you please!

3. Cocktails and Appetizers – When time is tight with the kids’ sports, your work, and the usually family obligations, just get together for a few hours (5pm – 7pm) and enjoy cocktails and some appetizers. This type of meal sharing can be very enjoyable. How many times have you heard someone say the best part of the wedding reception was the cocktail hour?

4. European Style Mid-Day Meal – Can’t make dinner work for the whole family? Then follow the lead from Italy, Spain, and Portugal and move dinnertime to lunchtime. It’s actually a healthier way to eat and may just be more practical for your lifestyle.

However you make time to eat, do it together regularly, and whenever you can open your table to friends and family. It’s an intimate and wonderful way to connect and stay in touch with the ones you love.

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5 Comments
  1. In my house, growing up and as an adult with my own family, if dinner is being made than everyone is invited to eat. If I start dinner and my husband has 5 friends over, then they get a place set at the table too. If my daughter has friends over, they call their parents to ask if they can eat with us. It is always a free for all in my kitchen. There is atleast 3 people at my dinner table 5 out of 7 days a week.

  2. Great tips. Yes, in this day and age, it is often difficult to sit down for a proper dinner as a family — and there’s only three of us! My husband is a software developer and he works pretty crazy, unsocial hours. But, he knows the rules: Sunday dinner at home. We’re also trying to start other family traditions such as pancake brunch on weekends, or lunch out on the patio when it’s nice. It gives our two-year old son something to look forward to and you are so right — eating together as a family brings us closer together. I also see it as a great teaching opportunity. Eating together is an opportunity for my son to learn about table manners, and other social rules and conventions. He’s a bit of a messy eater at this age, but friends and strangers have often commented on how well-behaved our son is when we eat in restaurants and or in other people’s homes.

  3. Great list! I’d also say potlucks. One of our local farms has a weekly potluck every Thursday in the summer. That way you get connected to the food and the community.

  4. Impressive comments!
    Flirtbuttons: I love the open house idea.
    Grace – you bring up a great point about this shared time being an opportunity to teach our children.
    Venessa- I am going to look for a farmers market in my area that does this, it sounds wonderful.

  5. This is a really important post, and I appreciate you writing it. It’s so vital for everyone to understand how important it is that families eat together on a very regular basis. I think a lot of our societal problems stem from families growing apart and becoming disconnected by not sharing meals together, talking about their day, discussing things. It’s more than just a meal – it’s a family meeting.

    I come from an Italian household. Dinner was an important event, and you weren’t late for it. There were no excuses for not being at the table with the rest of the family. Soccer practice happened after school. Homework was finished either before or after dinner. No extracurricular activities were deemed more important than the family meal. That doesn’t seem to be the standard being set anymore.

    Although my wife and I don’t have children, we still make sure to continue this tradition. We both are very busy in our jobs, and sometimes work long days, but dinner happens regardless. And on the weekends, we get the added bonus of breakfast together. There always seems to be something to talk about, but even if there isn’t, it’s OK to just stare at each other and eat in silence. I love to cook and enjoy great food, and there’s no better compliment to my cooking than her company.

    Thanks again for your post.

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