Hello and welcome to Making Family Dinner Hour Possible. I am Alice Osborne and I am a woman on a mission! In a nutshell: I believe families should eat at least one meal together daily and I intend to help us all do just that, by sharing tips, ideas, recipes, resources, and encouragement. If there's anything I can do to make eating together possible and easier, that's my aim.
I've always believed in the importance of families eating together--I raised my seven children and assorted friends and neighbors around our dinner table every night for over twenty years. We had a large iron bell I inherited from my Grandpa Jacobson that hung from a massive beam attached to our deck outside the kitchen door. Most nights at 4:45pm I would ring the bell (it could be heard for miles) to let the kids (who were playing up and down the neighborhood) know that dinner was on. The neighbors called my kids "the 5 o'clock gang."
As the kids got older and life got more and more hectic, it became harder and harder to maintain the routine, but I was determined to keep the dinner hour alive. There was just something instinctual (is that a word?) that told me "there's a lot more going on here than just eating...this is important so press on."
Our family wasn't unusual. Most of my kids' friends had dinner-hour obligations as well. But today things have changed. Research shows families don't eat together anymore. Oh they'll gather at the local fast-food joint (pretty regularly) to snarf down something loosely defined as food, but what the research is referring to is the home-cooked meal around the family dinner table. This is a tradition of the past and its absence hasn't done our children any good.
We could talk about the national obesity epidemic for starters, but what has really concerned researchers at Columbia University is the high rate of substance abuse amongst today's kids, and its direct link to the presence or lack of
a family dinner hour in their lives. (Ah ha!
My mommy instincts were right!) In response
to their findings, Columbia initiated National
Family Day--the last Monday of September.
It's promoted in schools and the media to
encourage families to eat together on this
day, and hopefully on a regular basis going forward.
When I heard about this sad state of affairs and Columbia's campaign to counter it, I felt more could be done--hence this blog. Just the fact that you're reading this tells me you agree and would like to see families eating together again as well. SO, let's join forces! This will be a community effort--share your meal-time memories, tips and ideas, recipes, and encouragement. Instead of "United we stand!" let's go for "United we eat together as friends and families!" And since we're all spread thinner than a drink of water (life's not called the "rat-race" for nothin'), let's avoid the gourmet side and aim more for "easy".
Doesn't this sound fun? I can hardly wait to hear from you. So until next time, here's to making the family dinner hour possible!