The Family Dinner is suddenly more in the news than usual. It was the subject of a recent NPR story, and Bon Appétit has a big story this month devoted to how to pull it off.
Any reader of this blog will know that I’m a big supporter of the family dinner, with one important caveat—it all depends on the family. I spent countless family diners as a kid where all I did was stare at the clock on the wall, and all the alleged benefits that come from eating together—better grades, reduced drug abuse, a lower golf score (I made that last one up)—turned out to be as real as the tooth fairy. At least in the family I grew up in (some of us are terrible golfers, that’s all I’ll say).
I will say that food and cooking is the chief way I bring people together, and I’m proud to do that. It means the world to me when we do sit down together as a family and talk and laugh. We really have only one rule: No screens at the table (that goes for adults, too). And strive for a few other things: we try to wait until everyone is at the table to get started, and we clear our dishes at the end (the kids, too). These few little things can make a huge difference, at least to judge from the cacophony I heard on the NPR story.
Check out the Bon Appétit feature, which has great tips from Jenny Rosenstrach and Andy Ward (be sure to visit their excellent site: Dinner A Love Story), and let me know what you think. I can vouch for the Bon Appétit feature because it has a lot of ideas I use already—such as making the most of my freezer, starting dinner in the morning, and keeping a solid shop list. Any tips you want to add?