Whether it’s the family you’re born into or the one you choose, food with family tastes better. I didn’t really know how important family meals were to me until my brother and I reached our teenage years. Up until that point we regularly ate together, minus when my dad was working nights, and it was “normal” for us. Once we hit high school and were in evening sports, had homework and studying, and started part-time jobs, we had family dinner about once a week. The nights when we did eat together it felt like we had a chance to “catch up,” we could share stories about our days or the week and find out what everyone was up to. It’s amazing that four of us could live in one house and hardly ever see each other! Now I get to have family dinner almost weekly and it’s so nice. I mean, not just because usually my mom or brother is cooking dinner, but because conversation over dinner is just better. The food tastes better and we can all step away from our laptops and busy lives for some good ol’ fashioned face-to-face conversation.
Oh, but you do.
Last night I was at my parents’ for dinner and my brother made the most beautiful (and delicious) ratatouille. I bought him a mandolin for Christmas on the condition that when he made this meal I would be invited. Zucchini and eggplant are two of my favourite vegetables to cook with. I know, I’m weird. It wasn’t just the homemade cooking and warm meal in my belly that was wonderful, it was the sarcasm, the conversation, the laughs, the jabs, the whole deal.
The fact that during my childhood family dinners were “normal,” was something I completely took for granted. I didn’t realize how important it was until I was studying healthy eating behaviour in undergrad and grad school and actually saw the stats. Studies show that dinner conversation is a more potent vocabulary-booster than reading, and the stories told around the kitchen table help our children build resilience. Regular family meals also lower the rates of obesity and eating disorders in children and adolescents. (Source) WHO KNEW?
I am so happy I was able to spend time eating great food with amazing people over the holiday season. My brother is quite the little chef and I will happily maintain the title of official taste tester. I know that it’s hard to come together in a world where everyone is busy, but whether it’s the family you have by blood, or the ones you choose to be your family, I know I personally think family dinners are some of the best meals I’ve had.
On a random tangent, if you haven’t commented on this post and entered a giveaway, it’s still open for another two days so get on it!