Family Dinner

Over the weekend, I tuned into Slow Food USA’s live TEDx broadcast. It was a day full of informative and inspiring lectures, given by people from all walks of the slow food movement life. Of course, I attempted to watch the live stream on my laptop, while I moved from room to room, taking care of my children, the house, and getting packed for an upcoming trip. (I am sure you can imagine how successful that was!) Fortunately, I was able to catch a snippet of info here and there, and wanted to share the gist of what I took away with you readers.

Among some of the wonderful speakers, that ranged from Josh Viertel, president of Slow Food USA, to a man who grows a garden in the back of his pickup truck, was Laurie David, activist, and founder of, Her emphasis, as well as the emphasis of the entire day, was the importance of the family dinner.

The family dinner. Hmmmm….for some of us, the family dinner might be so foreign that it seems it should have a place in the history books. That’s a sad thought, but unfortunately, rather true. In today’s fast-paced society filled with countless after-school activities and long hours of work, the family dinner is a rarity, and not the standard anymore. Family dinners were what ritualized a closeness to one another within families. Now the family dinner lasts less than 20 minutes and usually involves the television. Even if some members of a family are physically sitting down together to gobble down some nourishment quickly, most likely there is no conversation taking place.

“Back then,” when most of our grandparents were raising families, all food was organic, and most people kept their own gardens. (What a crazy concept!) So a majority of people had access to better food, spent more time together, and had better health than we do today. Is it just me, or does it seem like we lost something important along the way?  Today 1/3 of the world’s population is obese.  And we suffer from fatal diseases, such as diabetes, at a staggering rate. Today’s generation of children will be the first ever in history to have a shorter life span than their parents. 50% of all meals are now bought outside the home. And that means that 50% of the time, people do not know for certain what and how much of an ingredient they are eating. Truly the only way to know exactly what you are consuming is to make it yourself, avoiding processed foods when at all possible.

We parents and children are rushing around daily to various places. But what are we really rushing to? Perhaps if we simply took the time to sit down together for an hour in the evening to eat dinner and discuss our lives with one another, we wouldn’t have to worry so much about losing our children to drugs, teen pregnancy, smoking, the Internet, or some new vampire series. In fact, studies show that children in families that eat three or more meals together per week fare better in each of those aspects.

Of course, it’s unavoidable to have scheduling conflicts here and there, but if we would all strive to make time for family dinner again, I think we might see huge improvements within our circle of family and friends. Who wouldn’t want a solution to lead healthier lives, maintain stronger family ties, and reduce our carbon footprint. The solution is: Family Dinner.

In case you would like to see the Slow Food USA TEDx broadcast, you can listen to it here:

We would love to hear your thoughts and comments regarding family dinner. Maybe you have a funny story or some helpful hints to share with us. You can always post a comment to our blog online, or send us an email at:

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