Gathering Around the Dinner Table – Family and Slow Food by Elaine
“I think it’s time that as a society we take back good food values. Now is the time to gather around the table again, eat a home-cooked meal and wash the dishes together.”
In the last few decades, our world has come to rely on instants. We no longer spend time gathering around the dinner table in anticipation of what’s coming out of the oven. Nor do we wait until everyone is home to eat. The busy schedules, the popularity of microwave meals, fast food chains and instant coffee have caused our society to eat on the run.
Food has become something that we just digest out of necessity instead of stopping to taste and enjoy. If it comes from a box or a restaurant it gives us a little more “free time” but if we’re honest it doesn’t really sustain us in the same way.
The experience and the traditions of a family meal have slowly left the culture. Instead of sitting around the table enjoying the taste of homemade food and good conversation, we stand by the microwave until the timer goes off and the box of food is ready. That’s not food! How are we supposed to instill values in our children when we don’t make time to sit down and have a conversation with them?
The North American culture has taken the experience out of eating. Rarely do we enjoy the experience of tasting the flavour of each bite or relishing in the conversation with our loved ones.
Honestly, I am not sure there is an easy answer. When our kids were growing up dinner was always served at the table. Only on special occasions like a movie night, did we eat in front of the TV. We would have deep conversations with the kids about life, faith, or whatever questions they had. Sometimes even after dessert was done we would continue to sit at the table and talk. Typically there was always an extra friend or two at our large table. They would ask their questions and join in on the conversation. There was never a dull moment.
Eating around the table kept us connected as a family. It helped us as parents stay in touch with our kids through their teenage years and into adulthood. It’s easy to miss out on your kids sharing funny stories, telling bad jokes or reminiscing about an old memory when distracted by a screen and not looking at their precious little faces. Even now our kids still love sitting around. They love bringing up old stories about their siblings with the intention to laugh and embarrass each other.
Over the last few years as the kids have grown up and with the long hours of building the business, dinners around the TV have become more frequent. But as we’ve spent the last few years working and taking care of our farm, it seems the thoughts of reclining into a cozy space are tempting. I think seasons of this aren’t always a bad thing but it’s important to keep your priorities and values in place.
However, it is still our habit that when all the kids are over we gravitate towards the table. It just happens naturally.
I think it’s time that as a society we take back some good old food values. We need to gather around the table again, eat a home-cooked meal and actually wash the dishes together. How do we teach our children about responsibility when we have “skip the dishes”!!!
I would encourage you to get out the recipe books, put the phones away, turn the tv off and interact with the ones you love. It won’t be perfect, this household definitely isn’t. But I believe that if we take little steps and try to incorporate family dinners back into our schedules we will start to see happier families.
That’s one of my goals for this year.