There’s an article on Slate.com that argues we should stop “idealizing” home-cooked family dinners. This article poked fun at this tradition as being romanticized ‘from ’50s era sitcoms’ and argued that home-cooked family dinners have no place in our modern lifestyles. The author (Amanda Marcotte) cites that “time pressures, tradeoffs to save money, and the burden of pleasing others” leaves mothers feeling stressed, and guilty, and that they can’t achieve the ideal of being a good mother. The article also offered that problems like whiny, picky eaters around our tables takes all the fun, joy, and satisfaction out of the experience.
Well, that’s certainly a sour mouthful, isn’t it?
Here’s how I feel —
While I recognize that it is true we all have time pressures, and a cultural influence to do everything efficiently (just because technology tells us we can), and some of us have ‘selective’ tastes as to what we’ll eat, this ritual is no longer just about mothers having their plates overflowing with all the responsibilities of shopping, cooking, presenting, serving, and cleaning up after the meal. That time is long gone!
I wrote my book, “The Shared-Meal Revolution“, to offer compelling information as to exactly why we should help people preserve this ritual. We must have connection with another human being every day. The kind of connection that makes us feel alive. And, there are many areas of development such as physical, social, psychological, creative, academic, cultural/ethnic, and spiritual where we can benefit from the simple act of sharing a meal together.
I want to share with everyone what I learned through my research about sharing meals. I have answers for these common obstacles.
This ritual is not just about mothers and families (although it’s especially important for children to have routines and structure in their lives, such as a shared-meal ritual). Sharing a meal once a day is something valuable for each and every one of us, no matter if we are single, married, or have a family. What better activity is there to help us cope with our hyper-scheduled, uber-networked lifestyles?
Having a daily shared-meal experience is more relevant than ever.
So how do we help each other get a meal on the table once a day?
Give yourself permission to ask for help.
Develop a collaborative shared-meal plan.
Here’s how we start:
- Gather family members, friends, people you want to share meals with.
- Discuss your desire to create a shared-meal plan together.
- Everyone chooses an aspect of the meal they would like to handle (plan the menu, shop for groceries, set/decorate the dining space, prepare food, cook, clean-up, etc.)
- With everyone doing a little to pitch-in, it removes the burden from one person – it’s an equal opportunity activity!
- Everyone’s involvement builds commitment to the experience.
- Relax, smile, enjoy…and connect.
- Repeat daily! (breakfast, lunch, dinner…whatever works for you!)
It’s OK to ask for help.
In fact, it’s healthy to do so.
***If you believe in the power of a daily shared-meal with people you love, join The Shared-Meal Revolution! Please visit my website and check out my book for valuable information and resources to help you create your very own shared-meal plan. ***