The lost ritual of family dinner and how to rediscover it

family dinner

As we hurtle through 2019 it’s easy to forget where we came from, and how far we have come. From nomads living in the savage darkness of prehistory to present day, where our cities grow millions strong. The way we live and communicate has evolved quickly and dramatically. The idea of family is now malleable, your friends are your family and you are free to make a new family with whomever you want and however you want.

Rapid social change has been welcomed by most and despised by some, but there is something that hasn’t changed since the dawn of man. Our love of food. More specifically, or love of sharing food with others.

The shared meal is a cornerstone of our species. It brings us together, however fleetingly, and as we share food; we share ourselves. Some meals become ritual, like the family dinner, where every night the family has a chance to be together as one and learn about each other’s lives.

Sadly though, as the frenetic pace of modern life continues, some of our rituals disappear. The sit-down family dinner seems almost like an antique but is as important now as it ever was to communicate with your family, whoever or whatever that means to you.

Bring it to the surface

A clean and sturdy surface for eating is paramount to reclaiming the ritual of family dinner. You don’t need much, just a family (the hardest part!) and a space to eat. Your surface will need adequate size and strength…but where to find such a coveted item? Shockingly, a dining room table ticks all these boxes.

Obviously, the size of your family dictates the size of dining table needed. If your family consists of you, your mysterious house mate and his pet mouse, a small dining table would be perfect. Larger families may even consider going the entire dining room set.

How’s it made?

To be sure the ritual becomes a ritual you will need to repeat it. By establishing a set time for meals, you reinforce the idea that a significant group event is taking place. The food shared is almost irrelevant, if the family is brought together and communicating the ritual is complete. Making all members of the family feel comfortable and relaxed is important, again, the choice of dining table can have a huge impact on comfort levels.

When choosing a dining table, take into consideration the seating arrangement and materials used for construction. Rectangle shaped dining tables such as this dining table from Domayne provide a classic shape with enough room to house a large family. Round tables are another less popular option, they provide no more seating than a rectangular table whilst taking up more floorspace. A round table can make the family feel equal (no big boss taking up the head of the table) and can be a perfect way to serve food in a fun way (lazy Susanne anyone?)

Incentives

Once the dining table has been found and placed in an ideal location (watch for corridors of movement, and as a rule leave about half a meter of space between chairs and walls.) The second step is to prepare the food. As stated previously, the food you share is almost irrelevant, but GOOD food will keep things fresh and ensure everyone wants to be there. Foods that are fun to share are a good way to add some spice to family dinner.

As we soar into the future, we must be grateful for the things we have and the people we love. In 2019 family means different things to different folk, but we must cherish our families and make a conscious effort to come together. Hopefully, the lost ritual of family dinner will be making a comeback.

Image by Karolina Grabowska from Pixabay