The Table: Nourishment for the Body & Soul
The Table: Nourishment for the Body & Soul
So much more happens around the dinner table than just nourishing our bodies. We also nourish our souls.
However, in America, we seem to have traded our family dinner tables for a hectic schedule of children’s evening activities. We run through fast-food restaurants and wonder why obesity is at an all-time high, for adults and kids alike. We are introducing stress into our children’s lives much earlier than ever; the outcome, yet to be determined, will not be good. I fear we have traded the single most important part of a family’s day for a “hurried” culture.
A study conducted a few years back determined the single greatest thing parents can do to keep their kids away from drugs, alcohol, premarital sex and gangs is to have dinners together as a family 5 or more times a week.
Columbia University agrees. A study conducted a few years back determined the single greatest thing parents can do to keep their kids away from drugs, alcohol, premarital sex and gangs is to have dinners together as a family 5 or more times a week. Apparently, when kids have a seat at your table, they feel a strong sense of belonging and they don’t feel a need to find acceptance elsewhere.
My dad was an independent grocer who put in long hours and worked 6 days a week. Yes, there was a time when grocery stores were not open on Sunday! I thank God they weren’t, because our Sunday afternoon meal is my favorite family memory. Why? Because we were all there. Mom would either make our family Spaghetti and meatballs where the sauce was cooked all day on Saturday, or she would get up and put her Roast, Potatoes & Carrots in the oven before we went to church. We joked and laughed as we ate and lingered around the table. I smile as I remember. My mouth is watering as I write this.
If you feel you have gotten caught up in trading your family dinner table for a flurry of evening activities, you’re not alone. We did as well. However, after hitting a crisis in our family, we decided to pull back and rediscover our family dinner table making it a priority. We pulled our kids off some sports teams fearing our kids would be disappointed. As it turned out the only ones disappointed were the coaches. Our kids didn’t mind at all.
Everyone should have someone who cares about them enough to say,
“Tell me about your day.”
This idea is counter-cultural but so very important! At the Frazee house, if you join us for a family dinner, we will want you to share your day. Everyone should have someone who cares about them enough to say, “Tell me about your day.” If you are single, find a friend or even a family you can have over for dinner and try this. Oh, an important note – if you want your kids to share freely (and that is the goal) the dinner table is not a place to correct or discipline for something that is shared. Deal with it later, or they will shut down and not share again.
To help your family rediscover the table, I encourage you to get everyone in the family to clear their schedules one night a week and start sharing a simple meal around the table with no TV or cell phones. After a few weeks, look back and see which night of the week has become your favorite. To help you start, I have included Mom Bitonti’s Sunday Afternoon Pot Roast, a simple, but tasty recipe from our family to yours. Don’t forget to ask about everyone’s day. You’ll be glad you did!
Mom Bitonti’s Sunday Pot Roast
3 to 4 lb. chuck roast
1 small bottle of (fat-free) Wishbone Italian salad dressing
5 potatoes (can use fingerling potatoes as well)
1 bunch of carrots (or a bag of baby carrots)
1 onion sliced
Marinate roast in salad dressing the night before. Spray oven safe pan or a 9 x 13 baking dish with cooking spray. Cut potatoes and carrots into bit-size pieces. Place potatoes and carrots around roast and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Place sliced onions on top of roast and potatoes and carrots. Put ¼ cup of water in the bottom of the dish and bake at 350° for at least 3 hours. (If you are home while the roast is cooking, I recommend you add the potatoes, carrots and onions in the last hour of cooking for crisp-tender vegetables.)
This recipe is good made in the crock pot as well. Just cook on high for 4 hours, or on low for 7 to 8 hours.