Here is a simple truth: Dinner spreads love. That is one of the great motivations for starting and maintaining the ritual of family dinners. And, it’s one of the main reasons why nine times out of ten, people grin ear-to-ear when recalling childhood family dinners. Food pioneer Alice Waters put it perfectly when she said, “My mom wasn’t a very good cook but one of my fondest memories is of being three and watching her in the kitchen with a big pot of boiling apples. I couldn’t wait to eat that applesauce. It’s a pure love memory.”
As a family, you don’t need dozens of rituals to help you stay connected, but you do need a few. There is something so powerful about the accountability of committing to come to the table most nights that works. Family dinner acts as a motivator, a deterrent, and a safety net. Because we interact with one another every night, no one can get too upset, depressed, or confused without someone in the family noticing. And that gives us a chance to help and be helpful when we need it.
Join us and have family dinner tonight, your own version. Start with whatever you have on hand in the fridge and the pantry. You can do it with take-out food, bowls of cereal or peanut butter sandwiches. When everyone is involved in the meal, they become invested in it in a new way, and are more excited to sit down and have fun. Everyone learns to be more appreciative, too!
Like everything worthwhile in life, dinner gets better the more you do it. Every day you get a chance to practice and experiment.
Here’s a great and easy experiment for this week. Try it and see if it doesn’t get gobbled up off their plates. Add kale, spinach or chard to this dish and you have the healthiest, tasty dish in the land, but if the kids in your life draw the line at cooked greens, then throw in some vegetable they love like corn or peas.