Shared Meals Matter Blog

Jun 25th

Politics at the dinner table

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It might be tempting to showcase your political knowledge to friends or family members around the dinner table.  You might think there is no harm in offering your view on voting rights, climate change, the NSA controversy, the George Zimmerman trial, or dozens of other topics.

While it’s certainly important to be civic-minded (which includes being informed about political issues, and sharing in respectful, open, healthy debate), it’s a good idea to keep politics off the dinner table.  In my family, politic-free dinners have been the norm, and for good reason.  Political conversations can get heavy and over-passionate pretty quickly which may lead to alienating or hurting the feelings of someone you love.  So, why do it?

politics

There’s plenty of time outside the dinner table to discuss/consider how your views may differ, and perhaps more importantly, agree upon the ways your ideas and policies are the same (there are so many, although bipartisanship doesn’t often make the news).

So please, let’s be peaceful at the dinner table, and save the political jarring for the pundits.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Jun 20th

The Treasure of Friends

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I am blessed to have sweet, considerate, thoughtful, intelligent and caring friends.

Sometimes we go to the theatre together, sometimes we go on trips, sometimes we walk for miles and miles. Often our social time together consists of cooking a meal together, having a little wine, and just talking leisurely about whatever is happening in our lives.  Many times, our visits together last many hours long.

I’m sure I echo the thoughts of a lot of people who feel these kinds of magical dinner events with friends deeply enhances their outlook on life. Having a shared meal with a friend is like finding a treasure box you keep tucked away in your closet. When you open it up, you are reminded of all the past times together, and you know this meal together will be adding to your box of joyful memories.

What special friend fills up your Shared-Meal treasure box?

If it’s been a while since you’ve had one of those long, luxury catch-up meals with a friend, take a moment to reach out and plan a shared-meal together.

If you have a friend you’d like to pay tribute to, Share it here…tell me about your shared meals together.

 

keepsake

 

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Jun 15th

The Modern Father

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As we reach another Father’s Day celebration, I want to take a moment to thank all the Dads who take the time to be present in the lives of their children.

Family meals has been long considered the responsibility of the mother and women in the household, but fortunately there are signs that is changing. More fathers are getting involved from doing chores around the house to shopping, preparing and making meals.

Thanks to all the fathers who…

dadcookingdinnerhonor a commitment to their family by taking an active role in doing whatever needs doing around the house…

make meals they can share with their children, and show that your time together around the table is a top priority…

converse about important life matters, and help their children navigate their journey…

provide a worthy role model for their son or daughter; live with character by doing their best to demonstrate—on a daily basis—qualities of integrity, honesty and commitment.

No matter the age of your child, show them it is your privilege to be their father.

Thank you to all the fathers who take their job seriously.  The women and children of the world need you, and support your good work.

[If YOU have a wonderful father you’d like to thank, please share this message with him.]   

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Jun 13th

To Label, or Not to Label? (That is the question)

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The New York Times published an article recently about Connecticut being the first state to approve legislation to label genetically-modified food.  Yay, Connecticut!  (my home state…with a wonderful governor in Dan Malloy who showed incredible dignity when helping the Newtown school community through their tragedy).

I have a very long history of sharing family meals as a childhood growing up in Bristol, Connecticut.  In those days, I don’t recall anyone ever talking (or even imagining) that was our food was engineered or altered, or being concerned about where to buy food hormone-free.  Who could have imagined that it would get worse and worse over the decades?  I’m thankful that there is awareness, although it makes me sad and frustrated that we have to be watchdogs.

Until labeling is a standard, we have to find ways to inform ourselves, and shop carefully. It’s always good to be educated about important topics like this, so if this issue makes us more discriminating, there’s the benefit we call can enjoy.

To me, there is not really a ‘question’ about whether to label genetically-modified food.  We should all expect to have the facts about what we’re purchasing.  Some of us have access to locally grown food, and some do not.  Regardless, wherever we buy food we need it to be “clean”.

foodlabel

What are Your thoughts? 

Are you personally concerned about this issue? 

Here’s the NYT article if you’d like to read it:

 http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/04/business/connecticut-approves-qualified-genetic-labeling.html?_r=0

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Jun 11th

“Anticipation…An-ti-ci-pay-yay-tion (…it’s making me wait…)”

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Are you someone who already has shared-meal ritual in place in your household, or as part of your lifestyle?  If so, Bravo!

I’ve researched and talked a lot to people about the obstacles that keep them from getting to the table to have a relaxed, shared meal.  For some of us, our experiences at the dinner table were much less complex, with so few distractions, comparatively speaking.  When it was time for dinner, we all put away our books, homework, whiffle ball bat, and music.  We had an appointed time, and there was no question that we’d all gather ’round like clockwork.

Now there are so many other things keeping us from the table – those electronic, compact, addictive little gadgets that keep getting smaller and smaller, yet seem to have an increasingly larger bite out of our personal time.

Is this type of conversation happening in your home?

CandyIf so, take a moment to think about how you can keep your shared-meal ritual going strong.  Maybe you’re not noticing the other people around you are patiently waiting, anticipating this time when you can all be together.

Honor the time you’ve set for dinner, and don’t let anything get in the way.

Don’t worry – your candy-crushing powers will be even more awesome after you’ve had a nourishing time at dinner with those you love.

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Jun 5th

Sweet Freedom

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Do you ever find yourself wanting to break free from the confines of a recipe, and see what happens?  It might be a phase I’m in, but lately I’ve been finding I like to ‘wing it’ in the kitchen frequently.

Recently I made some quinoa, sweet potato, masala patties (which turned out great, really flavorful, although my daughter thought they might have been a little too sweet for her).  I decided I wanted to mix it up, so I tried red lentils and spinach, with the same spices.  These were just as delicious.

Last night, I decided to toss in small orange cubes (about 1/2 inch) into a salad of arugula and pistachios, and gave it a good toss (so some of the orange bits would juice up a bit).  Then, I added a little bit of flash-grilled, lean roast beef.  Instead of cold, deli roast beef I’ve used in salad recipes, I thought I would warm it to see how that worked over the arugula.  I also left off the dressing and instead drizzled a little bit of olive oil, and a small amount (tablespoon) or freshly chopped sage over the top as well.  A friend came by after work and we gobbled this salad up pretty quickly!

CreativityI say this a lot because it’s so true for me:

I love cooking in my kitchen better than going out to restaurants because at home you have the freedom to create whatever you like. 

So, use a recipe, don’t use a recipe, or modify it.

Just let your imagination help you to find new ingredients you haven’t ever thought of pairing before. See see what magic happens! 

 

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