Ode to The Family Dinner

Once or twice a year I am overcome by a mounting sense of desperation over what to feed my family. I just start coming up blank more often than I’d like. (I probably should just be keeping a dinner journal to help myself remember what has and hasn’t worked. That would be a good idea. It would be fun to use a 5-year journal.)

Last Spring I bought a copy of The Family Dinner while I was looking for answers. I ended up getting a lot more than I hoped for. While the recipes are great, I hadn’t counted on such a serious dose of inspiration and guidance for staging family dinner.

Family dinner sounds easy. Make dinner. Eat together. But the book opened up a new world of possibilities to me. We’ve always actively avoided after-school activities that cut into the dinner hour. But we still needed an extra push to make family dinner a strong part of our family’s routine where we would eat together but also linger afterwards. The book showed me how it’s done. It reminded me how inspired parenting and building a family can be. Along with her own examples, David shares stories from the likes of Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and Mario Batali about what their family dinners were like as children.

As a result of my reading the book, we started memorizing poems by Robert Louis Stevenson. Along with the list of recommended reading from the book, we have some general and nature reference books. These are kept by our dinner table at arm’s length and have proved useful when my kids started asking crazy questions like “What is electricity?”.

When I first read the book I was on a mission to make family dinner happen every night of the week. Now I just go with the flow and am happy if it happens more nights than not. We’ve become slackers in the poem memorizing department too. But the bottom line is that the book has had a huge impact on the health and happiness of my family. We’ve started building memories at the dinner table. Hats off to Laurie David and Kirstin Uhrenholdt!

Author: Cindy

Born in Charleston. Raised in the Silicon Valley. Live near Hartford, Connecticut with my husband and two children. We have lots of tropical fish.

7 thoughts on “Ode to The Family Dinner”

  1. I love this book too! I find it full of inspiration, facts and helpful tips. I love also that Laurie, Kristen and The Family Dinner Book team have been so great at keeping the momentum going on the topic of family dinner! In addition to their website, they have been great connecting with food/family bloggers. We really appreciated their support and advice as we launched our collaborative project, Blog for Family Dinner (www.blogforfamilydinner.org), which you may want to check out!

  2. I just picked this up from the library last week. I made the Arroz con Pollo and my 8 and 6 year old girls absolutely loved it and demanded I put it in their school lunch the next day.

    We had a fun time doing some of the ideas in the book for conversation starters. They kept flipping through the book to find more. All in all, we had a tasty meal and a really fun dinner experience for a change. One of the few books I check out from the library that will go onto my “must buy” list.

    Oh, also, because we are vegetarian, I adjusted the recipe and used a fake meat product, which I don’t normally use, but it really worked well here. My daughters decided to name it Arroz con Faux Po!

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