Shared Meals Matter Blog

Nov 25th

Don’t Hide

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I just finished reading Randi Zuckerberg’s book “Dot Complicated.”  I had heard a lot about this book prior to its release, and I have to tell you that it did not disappoint.  If you haven’t already picked up a copy, do yourself a favor and pick it up.

There are many excellent points throughout the book, but here are a few that meant the most to me:

  • Be your authentic self – online and off.
  • Kids need to be able to understand and explore technology (so let them start when they’re young, with your guidance and supervision). If they don’t acquire these skills as they grow up, they’ll be challenged to keep up with the technical transactions that are increasing in every aspect of society.  That means you/parents have to understand it too.
  • Show compassion to people who “overshare.”
  • There are many wonderful displays of solidarity happening in the global community because of the immediacy of social media messaging.

 

and my personal favorite is this (quote by Randi Zuckerberg):

hiding-behind-computer“It’s easy to hide behind a screen, a text message, a photo, an-email. The hard part is truly getting out there and living your life, being true to yourself and connecting with others.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Nov 18th

A Close Look at Holiday Meals–Why (exactly) do they feel so special?

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There are many films that have been released over the years that poke fun at the craziness of holiday gatherings.  Many of these movies are hilarious, and often show situationally-silly, comedically-catastrophic happenings around a holiday dinner table. I admit that these movies are fun to watch (and I enjoy them year after year), but I imagine that in real life most of us have sweet, fun, and joyful  holiday meals together.

In just 10 days, many of us will celebrate Thanksgiving. I started thinking about why this date, and a few other holiday meals throughout the season, feel more special than other meals. What happens at these meals to make them so memorable? Although the answers might seem obvious, I decided to take a closer look.Family Christmas dinner  I made a list of “ground rules”:

1. Family members appreciate that each person has planned to be present at the table; the date is secured on everyone’s calendar.
2. Gathering together doesn’t feel like a “to do” or a chore; people look forward to it with anticipation.
3. There are plenty of hands to help with the planning, cooking, and after-meal actvities (no one person is trying to do everything on her/his own).  Kids of all ages get involved.
4. People pay attention to the quality of the food, and the quality of the ambience. Recipes from relatives are on the menu, and the dining room is decorated in a way that represents the personality of the family.  TVs and technology are taking a nap.
5. Basic standards of how people interact with each other are understood by all (confrontation and discipline are not invited); a general feeling of fun and cooperation rules the day.
6. There’s a feeling of inclusiveness, including open conversation and storytelling.
7. The meal includes traditions and ritual; someone usually acts as a leader for these types of activities.
8. People aren’t rushing through the meal so they can run off to another activity; instead they are savoring the food, and the company.
9. A feeling of solidarity and gratitude is expressed to each other (even if it’s not spoken out loud).
10. Love is in the air.

I believe that many of us desperately want to produce the same warm, loving experience of a holiday meal every day, but we stop short for any number of reasons (including not being able to commit to sharing a meal because of work or doing too many activities, being distracted with TV or technology, or being too tired to do it all alone).

Do you believe that the joy from sharing a meal can only happen a few times a year on pre-determined holidays?  If so, I respectfully ask you to reconsider your view…for the sake of experiencing daily joy, connection, and having the opportunity to nurture the relationships with those we love on all 365 dates of the year.

It’s not realistic to think we can create a formal, extravagant meal event every day — nor do we need to!  These 10 “ground rules” listed above are ideas I know we can all do to create a basic shared-meal plan for our family and friends.

I believe with just a little thoughtful planning and a cooperative spirit each of us can have a relaxed, celebratory — and most of all, loving — shared-meal plan each and every day of the year.

 

 

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Nov 12th

“Magically Delicious”

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The other night my friend Angela prepared a wonderful meal for the two of us, and her granddaughter, Cyan.  She started with some homemade bruschetta.  This bruschetta was SO delicious that I made the mistake on filling up on those before we came to the main course, specially seasoned and marinated pork chops.  Because my appetite was already satisfied on the bruschetta, I knew I could not eat a whole pork chop. I suggested to Angela that we split it.  So we did and each bite was more delicious than the last.  When I wrote her a thank you note following our meal, I mentioned that perhaps it was weird that I asked to split the pork chop (I hoped that the gesture wasn’t rude, and I wanted to assure her it was no indication on how tasty the pork chops were).  I went on in my email to say, “In fact, the meal was “magically delicious.”  I don’t know why that phrase (linked to the famous cereal Lucky Charms) came through my hands as I was typing, but I guess I was looking for a new way to adequately describe my appreciation.  She emailed me back saying “LOL!!!!” so I could tell that my comment made her feel appreciated.

Magically Delicious

I’m on a search for more descriptive words to help me properly describe how much I love a dish someone creates.

In a shared-meal ritual, each time you sit down with someone, it’s a special occasion, so it’s not just describing the food, it’s describing the experience. It really does make sense that I chose the word “magically.”  

I’d love to hear any stories you have about times you’ve used unique phrases to describe a dish or a meal someone created for you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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