We obviously eat food every single day of our lives. Our country's diabetes, obesity, and heart disease rates certainly don't lie about the types of food that we choose to eat, but I think we have forgotten about one very important aspect of food: eating dinner together.
As the oldest of four boys who didn’t move out until his late twenties and who grew up with both parents living at home, I had kind of a non-traditional upbringing by modern American standards. With the divorce rate at 40-50% for the country, I feel very blessed to have grown up in a somewhat normal household. A cornerstone of that upbringing was eating dinner together. Every weekday evening, my mom or dad would sit down with us, and we would eat a delicious, home-cooked meal together. We would talk about our days, sports, upcoming
family events, etc. The point is, we sat and talked.
I also see this at The Chopping Block in every single cooking class, when our guests sit at a big table at the end of class and eat and converse with one another. My favorite nights at home were the ones where our parents included us in the cooking. We would make our own pizzas on the delicious dough my dad would prepare using the bounty of ingredients that my mom would get ready for us. All six of us would get into line, which was no small feat with four hungry boys to assemble our own tacos. We would help my folks with our mom’s famous rolls and make turkey soup after Thanksgiving. There were no TV, no phones, no laptops or tablets - just a family eating together and enjoying each other’s company.
Things were certainly different back then as I didn’t have a phone until I was in my late twenties so it was easier to avoid this issue. However, it can be just as easy today: simply put the phones down during dinner time. There is nothing going on with your phone that can’t wait 30 minutes until you are done eating and enjoying your time together as a family. I’ll admit, as a child, I kind of resented my parents for making us all do that. But as an adult, I could not be happier that they did. It makes it so much easier to disconnect if you haven’t been stuck to your phone your entire life. I’m also glad they instilled in us the importance of eating as a family because that is a tradition I have proudly carried on with my fiancé, Andrea. We can't eat dinner together every night as I work some nights. But when we do have the time, the TV goes off, phones stay in the living room, and we sit together at our new dining room table and enjoy a meal together.
We recently moved, and the first meal I prepared in our new home was seared pork chops, twice-baked potatoes, and broiled asparagus. This is a very special meal for us because it is actually the very first meal I ever cooked for her. It may not have been an elaborate meal but when we cook and eat together, we strengthen our status as a couple.
So next time you want to pull out the TV trays and sit down in front of it with your phone in your lap, barely acknowledging the person sitting next to you, please stop. Sit at the table with no electronics, share a meal and a conversation with your loved ones. Who knows, you just might learn something about each other!
Experience The Chopping Block's hospitality and enjoy a meal together with new friends at the end of one of our cooking classes.