Thursday, June 3, 2010

A Tradition - Family Dinner Night

We have a "Family Dinner" every Wednesday night. That is, my Mum and Step-Dad (SD aka Grandad to my kids) have dinner (predominantly at our house) every Wednesday night. Either Mum or I will cook and it could be a staple meal like Shepherds Pie or Spaghetti Bolognaise or it's a new recipe we have found and want to try out (family make the best guinea pigs!!)

It began as a regular night when Mum started looking after Grotbag on a Wednesday when I went back to work when he was 10 months old. And has been a permanent night on the calendar ever since.

Apart from Bugalugs (we eat after he goes to bed) we all sit at the table and have a meal together. We talk about our day, what is going on in the family, important family dates coming up etc. Grotbag will tell us about his day at school or critic the meal alla Masterchef style!

Although in our house we don't have desert every night, there is always desert at Family Dinner as my SD has a sweet tooth and Hubby tries to pretend he doesn't but always has two helpings!! Again it can be as simple and ice-cream in a cone or a new desert recipe Mum or I have found. Below is a Bakewell Tart - a family favourite desert!

SD is pounced on as soon as he walks in the door by Grotbag with a "can you play with me Grandad???" to which SD will grab a quick drink and disappears into the playroom to become a a Jedi Knight and fight with the light sabres or play cars, Lego whatever Grotbag can convince him to play.

We don't see them till dinner time!!

Meanwhile dinner is bubbling away and I will bath and get Bugalugs ready for bed and Mum and I will try and squeeze in a quick cooking show on Lifestyle Food!

After dinner we all chill out on the sofa and let our meals go down and watch a bit of TV (usually Masterchef...can you see a theme here?.)

Grotbag gives kisses all round and then one of us will put him to bed. Shortly after Mum & SD will go home and another Family Dinner will be over.

I love Family Dinner night.

The weeks that Hubby is home it gives him a chance to catch up with his in-laws. Sometimes we are all so busy it is the only night he will see them while he is home.

It gives me and Mum a good excuse to try out new recipes, bounce food ideas off each other and actually have the time to cook something new.

The biggest benefit though is for my boys. Grotbag LOVES family dinner night. Passionately. He hates it if for some reason we don't get together. He often mentions sitting at the table with "The Family" and will often remark at the table "let's all have a little chat". He loves going out to restaurants with all the extended family of Aunts, Uncles, Cousins etc. So much so that he drew a picture of all of us going out for a Chinese meal at school for his "What I did at the weekend" picture. Even though he has also gone to two birthday parties and one that was a bowling party!!

Bugalugs is a bit young to fully appreciate Family Dinner, especially as it is the one night he doesn't eat with anyone. He has his meal at 5pm and usually Grotbag and I will all sit at the table and we all eat together. But Family Dinner will be ingrained in his routine as he gets older and he will look forward to it just as Grotbag does.

Some people look horrified when I tell them that we have Family Dinner night. Some people remark that they couldn't do it as regular night as their family drive them crazy or their schedules are out of sync. But the thing is that every ones family makes them crazy and if everyone makes it a permanent night on the calendar then it is in every ones schedule.

So I look forward to Family Dinner, a time to catch up, cook up and share. It's the best family tradition I have and I cherish it every week!

So do you have a regular family dinner? Do you eat at the table with your kids most nights? Do you think families eating together can be beneficial?


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