Nearly every day you’ll either hear or you’ll ask (in a dreary tone) ‘What's for dinner?’ But this is the wrong question! These words are never going to give you the answer you truly hunger for.
In a single year most Americans consume 1,095 meals, and hundreds of snacks and daily doses of coffee or treats. And here’s something even more staggering – most meals are devoured in fewer than SEVEN minutes. And for some, an astounding 50% of meals are consumed either standing up or in the car. Egad!
There was a time when gathering around the table was significant. Being together with loved ones anchors the bonds of family. When it’s with friends, celebration and the passage of time are memorialized. And eating with colleagues engenders allegiance and alliance. And restaurants fall short of creating this because even though everyone’s at the same table, each person is ordering different items off the menu.
Nowadays, sitting together at a table to eat a single meal is so rare, it’s often an afterthought.
In our household, we’ve set a goal to share dinner at the table (no phones, no TV, no homework, etc.) every night. Our daughter, the youngest, is now 14 and our son is 19 and away at college. And boy, do we miss him [at the table]! When I called him last week he was doing well and isn’t homesick except for one thing: “I wish we could just share dinner together” he told me. My heart swelled.
It takes about 15 minutes to stop the world from spinning in order to sit down with loved ones and eat a shared meal. And over time, this is the glue for our family and our busy days. It hasn’t been easy, especially as the kids grew and took on extracurricular activities, but we’re darned consistent.
When Alyssa Milano hired HeyChef! to serve her as she rebounded (beautifully!) from the birth of her second child…
Photo credit: Instagram user milano_alyssa
… she spent less time concerning herself with what was on the menu than on what was important – carving out valuable time to sit, breathe, connect and share a meal with her family.
You may have noticed I haven’t said anything about what's to eat.
It’s true my husband is a chef and the food is always delicious, varied and nutritious in our house. But I’m not talking about what’s on the plate today. I’m talking about who’s at the table and what that does for our family. I don’t think it even matters if your family has take-out two nights a week – if you sit at the table together.
The question isn’t ‘What do you want to eat?’ The question is ‘What kind of memories do you want to have?’
What values do you want to create for your family each day? What you eat will begin to take shape around your answer to these questions.
At HeyChef! we’ve spent the last twenty years helping families and friends create memories by gathering around a table – and it’s these memories that last far beyond their recollection of what was served (delicious though it surely was)! I invite you to ask your family what memories they have about eating together, and to share them. If the answers are less than savory, it could be you’re not really in search of what you want to eat; rather, your appetite is rich for what a shared dinner provides, no matter what’s on the plate.
The people sitting at the table and the memories you want to create with them should dictate the menu!
True, there are times when the menu is tantamount to the celebration (e.g. Thanksgiving, birthdays, etc.), but it’s usually the gathering with loved ones for which we hunger! Your menu will come to life when you consider who is at the table, where they are from, what they grew up eating and what you’re celebrating. At special times like these, I encourage you to call us or visit our website for the help that’s needed so you too can sit down and join your family as you break bread together and create delicious memories!