The fate of the family dinner

Rockwell turkey dinner

The demise of the family dinner has been forecast since at least the 1950’s, when TV dinners and tables became popular. So we were a little surprised that NPR brought the subject up again in “Family Dinner: Treasured Tradition or Bygone Ideal.” But we wanted to hear if they said anything new.

Well, kind of. As a result of a poll, they claim that “despite families ranking a family meal as a high priority, about half of children live in a home where, on a given night, families don’t sit down together to eat or share the same food.” That’s not a surprise, nor is it a surprise that the family dinner is a high priority.

What was a bit of a surprise, however, is that they feel that the family dinner may be over rated. Since distraction is a way of life, especially given the presence of technology, the quality of the family dinner may not be high. There may indeed be other ways to create that same quality time and just surrender to reality.

That may be true, but we’re sceptical. Even if quality time can be substituted, a family dinner offers other benefits: nutritional training, teaching cooking skills, cultivating a taste for a variety of foods, and – last, but not least – it’s still one of the best ways to say “I care.”

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  • krusso119  on  March 10, 2013

    "Since distraction is a way of life, especially given the presence of technology, the quality of the family dinner may not be not high."

    Um, really? How about setting rules that include "no electronic "distractions" at the dinner table?

    OK, I admit that my family doesn't sit down to dinner together every night – the realities of a busy child who plays two sports often get in the way of that. But I do my best to make sure we DO have dinner together several times a week, I think it's very important to do.

    And if people are going to just "surrender to reality" than exactly where and how are those OTHER suppsoed "quality times" going to take place?

    NPR seems to be trying to spread the message that families and family time are overrated and that is a very scary message indeed. You know who else tried to undermine the importance of families and family time? Yeah, communists, that's who.

  • sir_ken_g  on  March 10, 2013

    Yeah it's all the communists!
    Move away – move slowly away from that hate channel….DUH.

  • krusso119  on  March 10, 2013

    NPR is a well known liberal mouthpiece. And "liberal" in this country isnow just a code word for communism.. Witness all the Hollywood idiots and government officials actually mourning the death of Hugo Chavez, a communist dictator.

    The truth hurts, doesn't it kenny?

  • Jane  on  March 10, 2013

    We value everyone's opinions on EYB and do not want to censor posts unless abusive. However this is a cooking site so can we please keep politics to more appropriate forums? There are plenty of them out there!

  • sir_ken_g  on  March 10, 2013

    ^^^ abusive post^^^
    How did Myth do again?

  • sir_ken_g  on  March 10, 2013

    So what is really going on?
    Shooting the messenger does not work.
    As they point out – distractions like cell phones, gameboys and all the rest.
    Another is that there seem to be many more extra curricular activities for kids than tier were years ago. I know my kid had about 20 hours a week in high school – that's a lot.
    Another I suspect is more women working out side the home – often due to economic necessity. Who shall we blame for that?

    I see no moral or religious explanations – nobody has a corner on good there. In fact those nasty old commies improved the average standard of living and longevity in Cuba and Venezuela a lot!

  • Christine  on  March 11, 2013

    I can only speak from my own experience, but I think there is a tremendous value in taking the time for family dinners. I ate dinner with my parents and brother nearly every night until I got married and moved out (college years excepted since I didn't live home then; and of course there were always nights my brother or I went out to dinner with friends, but I'm talking a good 90% of the time). It wasn't a gourmet culinary affair, but it was simple, food shared with family. Even if we got takeout, we sat at the kitchen table together and ate with silverware and dinner plates. My brother and I were both in sports, but it was rare for that to interfere with dinnertime. Ever since we’ve been married, my husband and I also eat together nearly every night. It’s not always easy and we’re busy like most people are, but we all still have to eat! Whether you cook from scratch, order in, or throw together sandwiches or salads in 5 minutes, it’s not so much the food that matters, but the people sharing it, in my opinion anyway.

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