Animals Australia: the voice for animals

Animals Australia: the voice for animals
Love life? Love all of life

Sunday, March 18, 2007

The family that tables together.......

  • Throughout history, humans have tabled together to break bread.
    The simple ritual of the shared meal reunites us with our families and brings balance to our lives.
    These words are taken from the review of Art Smith's book, Back to the Table: The Reunion of Food and Family. Art is Oprah's personal chef.
    Counterbalance this with the views of Australian educationists that more children than ever are present at school with language difficulties. And what do they think is to blame:
    "Families aren't sitting around the dinner table any more every night talking about what's happened during the day and engaging with the children," Ms Trimper said. "Children are sitting in front of televisions more and computers playing computer games. It's dinner in front of the television, video games after dinner, or parents both working and time poor — all those issues have to impact on children."
    Back in 2005, Miss Eagle recalls hearing or reading that Kathy Letts, that well-known expatriate Australian, had rid her London house of the dining room table so that the room could become a home theatre. Miss E was horrified. Letts was reported as saying that, if the family wanted to eat together, they went out to eat. More horror!
    What about privacy - what if something unforeseen invaded mealtime: argument and debate, outrageous laughter and hysteria, practical jokes. All of these Miss E knows can arise at family meal time and a good thing too. But what happens in a restaurant or some public eating place: a child’s terror of having to behave?
    The failure to table together as a family shows no respect: no respect for the food, where it came from, the person who prepared it. It shows no respect for ourselves and what connects us to life and to each other. And now the kids are paying the price at that most basic form of human connection, language.
    In Britain, there is now a movement called Back to the Table - because Mealtime is Realtime they say. There are some big names swinging behind the campaign - including celebrity chef, Gordon Ramsay. Miss Eagle would love to hear from you, dear Reader, on this subject: your projects involving food and kids; kids recipes; fun meal time stories etc. If you want to email me to include your contributions as a post complete with pictures, all the better. If you really have something to say about families, food, and connection you might also like to guest on Food from Oz. Please email me. Lets put fun, families, and people into meals. Let's get rid of the pit stop mentality where food is just a refuelling of whatever is handy. Let's take time to think about our food, how it is produced, where it comes from. Then let's take time with its preparation. And above all, let's take time for one another.


Home Away from Home. said...

Hi Miss Eagle,
I got to read your post because of Gina, a fellow blogger!

I mentioned your post to my sister who called. She now has a 5 year old and I asked her about eatting at the table together. She mentioned that she gives her food while my sister does other things.

Well we both started talking about how my mom made sure we sat down as brothers and sisters to eat every day. And every Sunday without fail we would all, the entire family, gather for Sunday diner. No excuses of any kind. We all sat down to share a meal and what was happening in our life.

I could write a book about some of the gatherings we had together. LOL As a kid, I would grump a little but now that I think about it, I miss the family get together.

We all talked about our day, good, bad, boring, whatever... The only thing allowed at the table was clean hands and faces. LOL Yes, we had to wash behind our ears, too.

TV off, no computers, no phones, just peace and quiet sometimes not so peace and quiet conversations.

Thinking about it, I believe it made me a better and stronger person. I know those gatherings taught me many things about getting along and settling difference. We did it through plain old fashion talking. Not the garabage promoted on the TV or computer. We used our mouths and head. Today's kids, do just the opposite, it's hurt, hit and be mean.

It's time to go back to the table. Turn off all the distractions and reconnect with the family.

I'm from the states and live in the midwest. It's just me and my hubby now but I'm going to try and bring back the family table.

Starting tonight.
Thank you for your post.
Patty who misses some of the simple things in life.

Gina E. said...

Great response, Patty! I'm sure Miss Eagle will appreciate you taking the time to do that.

Val said...

A few years ago both our boys were studying linguistics in the same year for their VCE. Popular topics around the dinner table that year were grammar, accents, "prescriptive vs descriptive linguistics", anything to do with language. Conversations, discussions and arguments would go on long past the end of the meal. I sometimes thought how great that we could have heated debates over something like linguistics.