Thursday, October 4, 2012

Cookbooks: The Family Dinner

…the perennial question "What's for dinner?" has many answers. It's about more than just food and recipes: cookbooks, conversations

The cookbook that captured our imaginations last summer was The Family Dinner by Laurie David. What did I love about it besides reinforcing my firmly held belief that dinner eaten together is important? Was it simply vindication and reinforcement that what I hold sacred is shared by someone else? Most readers agree with the essential premise of the book: eating meals together strengthens families. No contest. More than that, this book provides tools, tricks and games to make ordinary meals a special event instead of a routine, a chore.

graceCooking dinner is more than just feeding a nuclear unit. It is about winning hearts and minds. Meals are a gathering time, creating ritual, collecting stories and remembering how fortunate we are to be together. At the end of a school day, it is disappointing to hear a robotic 'nothing' in answer to the common question "What did you do at school today?" Taking a prompt from The Family Dinner, I asked "What qualities make a good student? What qualities make a good teacher?" during a recent dinner.
When my son was assigned a teacher who had previously taught my daughter, and with whom I had worked as a classroom volunteer, the observations bubbled to the surface. We spoke over each other in an effort to describe her unique attributes to my husband whose demanding job keeps him away from the minutiae of school life. Before long, we were discussing what makes a good friend, business partner, employee, co-worker and boss.

Read all of Cookbooks: The Family Dinner on Beams and Struts