What Happened to Family Dinner Time?

Posted on Posted in Cooking For Less

With Thanksgiving and the December holiday season right around the corner Ive been thinking about great holiday moments Ive enjoyed growing up as a kid.

Inevitably many of these moments revolved around the kitchen memories of family and relatives laughing, talking, and joking as they prepared mouthwatering ham, succulent turkey and delicious side dishes like sweet corn, yams, and potato salad.

Yet my fond kitchen memories are not simply relegated to the holidays. Saturday mornings I spent with my father and siblings as we enjoyed fun adventures making pancakes, eggs and bacons time spent bonding and creating wonderful memories.

Nowadays, however, it seems like the concept of family cooking and eating is rapidly fading away. With today’s fast paced, instant society its more likely well swing into the local fast food place or whip out the frozen dinners than cook together as a family.

In essence, it seems that dinner has become a chore, work to be dreaded and dispensed with as quickly as possibly, rather than a destination to be savored and enjoyed.

Wed much rather rush through dinner to get to our favorite episode of Lost or American Idol. In fact, its estimated that the average American spends nearly three hours a day watching television. Yet, the average parent spends only seven to twenty minutes a day engaged in meaningful conversation with their children.

Perhaps this explains why a 2007 study conducted by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University found that family dining is associated with lower rates of teen smoking, drinking, illegal drug use and prescription drug abuse. In fact, teens in families that frequently dine together are three and a half times less likely to engage in illegal and prescription drug abuse.

Perhaps then family time spent cooking and eating together is not only a chance to nourish the body but to nourish the soul of the family as well. A chance for the family to spend the quality time together that is so often absent in todays on the run society.

Instead of rushing through dinner to catch the latest episode of Greys Anatomy or Desperate Housewives, perhaps the company of our loved ones should be the entertainment we seek.

When were on our death beds will it be the episode of CSI that we remember or the time we spent with those we truly cherish the time that making and eating dinner as a family allows.

I haven’t even mentioned the financial savings. A typical family meal made at home can easily cost one half to one third the cost of meals eaten out. This saves the typical family hundreds if not thousands of dollars each year!

Better yet, meals made at home are generally healthier than food at a restaurant or food found in the frozen section of the supermarket.

I understand that finding the time to get together as a family to make dinner can be hard. We live in hectic times and all family members, even young children, face demands and pressures unseen by generations before.

Yet time spent cooking and eating dinner as a family, even a few times a week, can create priceless memories and save you money.

What do you think? Do you spend time as a family making and eating dinner together? Would you like to do it more often?