on July 13, 2011 by

Family Dinner

Does this look like your family at dinner time or does this idea seem completely foreign to you?

Today a group of us were gathered around the conference table talking about what motivates people in their buying decisions in a particular population.  I can’t really go into the specifics of what group we were discussing, but one thing that was very important to people in this population was having family dinners every night.

It got me thinking… My husband and I don’t necessarily eat at the table every time, but we do eat together every night and we both grew up in families that had dinner together every night. Some nights I would drag my feet and not want to come to the table, but it wasn’t an option- if you were home, you ate dinner with the family. Didn’t matter if you weren’t hungry or didn’t like what was being served- you sat in your spot until you were excused. For me, that’s just how it always was and I never gave much thought to it until today.

As a kid, it was not an option to have something different for dinner than what was prepared- you ate it or you went hungry. You could slather it in ketchup, but you sure as heck weren’t getting something special. My folks were very loving and I’m sure they wouldn’t have made us starve, but it was more about the principle of not being picky. I understand that it’s not always possible, especially in families dealing with food allergies, but I was surprised that some people in this particular group confessed to making a special meal for every member of the household.

What goes on at dinner at your house? Do you eat as a family (even if it’s just two of you) every night? Do you make one thing for the whole group, or special meals?

There is no right or wrong answer, I’m simply curious how dinner is treated in your house. I’d imagine it gets pretty tricky when you are dealing with severe food allergies or celiac disease—how do you handle it?


Cassidy, thank you for addressing one of my pet topics! The Family Dinner is an important “institution” that should be preserved. It’s an occasion for bonding, creating family traditions and making memories that will last a lifetime for one’s children. Oh, and the same meal for the whole family, please! (severe food allergies/sensitivities aside, of course) When mom or dad, or whoever is preparing the meals, makes a different meal for each person (acts as a short order cook), it simply reinforces a narrow diet and detracts from a “family occasion.”

Nancy says:

We have a large family of children and foster children, most of whom have moved on to college or their own families now. But, family dinner has always been a big deal in our house. No TV, no distractions — other than 6-8 people around the table eating, talking about their day, etc. Interestingly, Sunday morning breakfast has become the new norm. We have themes, and whoever is around participates. We have “airing of the grievances,” “wildly inappropriate comment,” etc. Lots of fun and keeps the conversation lively and communication open.Part of us are vegan and part not, but we still have group around the table on Sunday morning which now consists of significant others, etc.

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