Family Dinners: How Often Do You Eat Together?

Family Dinners: How Often Do You Eat Together?

Emma Christensen
Oct 11, 2010

There are all sorts of statistics out there about how sitting down to family dinners makes us happier, healthier, and even less likely to over-eat. Is this something you do in your house? Do you think it makes a difference?

I'll be the first to admit it - my husband and I very rarely sit down to eat together. More often than not, we eat at our desks. I'd like to defend myself by saying that we still talk and interact with each other even at our desks, but I know that it's not really the same.

I have noticed something interesting, though. If we are actually making dinner together, as opposed to re-heating leftovers, we often get so engaged in conversation that we move to the dining room table with our plates instead of automatically heading upstairs. I also typically eat very fast and my husband eats slowly, but at these times, we eat at the same pace. It feels relaxed and leisurely to eat together this way. But it's far from being a habit or even the norm.

Michael Pollan says this about eating together in In Defense of Food: "The shared meal elevates eating from a mechanical process of fueling the body to a ritual of family and community, from mere animal biology to an act of culture." That's something worth thinking about.

What do you think? Are family, or community, meals important in your house?

Related: In Defense of Watching TV While You Eat

(Image: Flickr member Daniel Ngu licensed under Creative Commons)

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