Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The Importance of Dining Together

I recently had the chance to attend the Fabulous Food Show in Cleveland with my good friend Paula.  It was a feast for not only the taste buds, but the eyes as well.

Beautifully decorated cakes….
 
 








 
 
 
 

Incredible wines, and terrific chefs. 

We saw Michael Symon, Jeff Mauro, Jason Roberts, Ann Burrell and, my hero from a long-ago cooking show called “Cooking Live”, SaraMoulton.  What I liked most about Sara’s show is that she invited people from around the country to cook with her.  And something always went wrong.  Always.  THAT is when you learned how to fix mistakes, adapt to the changes, and still create a good dish.  As far as I know, it’s the only show of its kind ever.  I am forever grateful to her and learned so much from her show – most importantly, not to panic.  (And yes, she really IS that tiny!)

The chefs talked about their recipes, their careers, gave tips on cooking and fielded all kinds of questions from the audience.
There seemed to be chefs everywhere – even in the restrooms!
I won’t say we were the very last to leave, but we really did enjoy the show.

As I thought about it, I realized that all the chefs offered up the same bit of advice:  sit down at the table and have dinner with your family!  They urged us to take one or two nights a week, drop the cell phones, I-pads and tablets into a basket, turn off the TV, and share a meal and talk. 
As our lives become increasingly chaotic, Americans tend to eat more and more on the run.  It’s a rare night when the phone isn’t ringing, the kids don’t have soccer practice and there’s not some kind of meeting.  But if we lose this most-important component, I fear the fabric of the family will start to unravel.  It’s a custom that crosses all cultures, geographies and income levels and will pay big dividends in the future because setting the lines of communication early creates a path for future relationships. 

Maybe that’s why guests at the inn like breakfast time so much.  I often hear that the interaction with the other guests is one of the reasons they find bed and breakfasts so appealing, so relaxing and civilized – their words, not mine!  You don't often find that in a hotel.
As we prepare to sit down tomorrow to celebrate Thanksgiving, I wish you, your family and friends a wonderful mealtime together – a time for sharing, being grateful and just enjoying the art of conversation - at least until half the table runs out to shop and the other leaves to watch the football games!