Our kitchen table is scratched, painted on, dented, stained and the most highly used piece of furniture in our house. Every time someone new comes to our house, they inevitably comment on our table. Usually they say they like it. I always wonder, do they really like it, or do they find it unusual how beaten up this piece of furniture is that is in the middle of our home.
Our dining room is in the centre of our home and it’s where we gather for meals. In the morning we use the table for a somewhat hurried breakfast. In the evening we aspire to eat dinner together as a family each night. Research has consistently suggested that it is important for families to eat together.
A study done in 2000 found that the 9- to 14-year-olds who ate dinner with their families most frequently ate more fruits and vegetables. Their diets also had higher amounts of many key nutrients, like calcium, iron, and fiber. Also during this shared meal, you can expose your children to a wider range of foods. We have the household rule that its going to take 10 times that our children are exposed to a new food before they will willingly try it. Family meals are the best time to enable that exposure. In addition to the health benefits related to food, the family bond and connection created helps children through difficult periods in their life, gives them support and enables them to feel connected.
Of course, its also home to the mutiny that comes with serving 4 children a healthy meal most days. The question “what’s for dinner” rings in our home the minute I start cooking dinner. And the response, when not one of our children’s favourite meals, is usually a grimace, an accusation (“You know I don’t like that”) and often crying or yelling. When the disliked meal of the day is served, there is usually more complaints, sometimes crying, often long unhappy faces. When the meal doesn’t capture our kids’ attention, often the table takes the brunt of the abuse: a few extra scratches or dents. Why, what else would you do with a fork when sitting at the table?
We try and instill in the children gratitude for the food we have, even if they don’t like it. Our children have been taught to appreciate the farmers’ from whom our food comes and who have sown the seeds, tended the weeds, harvested the plants, and transported them to us. We are blessed to have the variety of local and organic produce that comes into our lives each week.
We hope that the goodfood we bring to you each week fills your house with the moments of shared joy around a kitchen table.
For the five meals that all of 4 of our kids will consistently eat for dinner, you can check these recipes on our website: Rockin’ Moroccan Stew, Lentil Walnut Burgers, Vegan Italian Tomato Sauce with Kale and Olives, Red Lentil Coconut Curry and Kate’s Fabulous Bean Burritos.
If you have homerun meals to share please do so on Facebook or by emailing us at Jennifer@gdfd2u.ca.