I grew up in a house where every member of my family would gather around the dinner table every night for a hot meal and eat together. My mother would suffer no excuses when it came to eating dinner as a family; it was a constant in her household. The only exceptions I can recall is that if one of us were not at home during dinnertime (frowned upon) or if one of us were sick (excusable).
I think a lot of her insistence on eating dinner together as a family is because it was a part of the day where everyone would gather ’round and eat, talk, and bond. It was her time to catch up with her children and for my brother and I to argue about something stupid. As my mom always cooked dinner, eating dinner together also had something to do with politeness and manners. She cooked the meal; it would have been the height of rudeness if one of us had taken a plate of home-cooked food and eaten it on our lonesome in our bedroom or something.
Now that I’m on my own and have a packed schedule, I find that I’m often eating dinner on my own, and usually on the go. I’ll grab a burrito at Chipotle and eat it once I get home from my internship. I’ll eat a bagel sandwich from Einstein’s Bagels during my afternoon shift at work. I’ll eat a bowl of Special K in the morning before I take off for the day. I’ll cook dinner for myself and eat it in front of the TV, saving leftovers for the next day. My schedule often allows me to get dinners with friends, but we almost always go out to eat.
I love the food and conversation I have with my friends when we go out to eat, but I miss the dinners at my house. I can’t imagine what it’s like to grow up in a house where family dinners didn’t exist. It’s not even the home-cooked factor (although I miss that dearly!), it’s the fact that I can’t understand how families don’t, or can’t, or won’t, come together for dinner. It makes me sad, because I have some great memories of dinners at my house when I was growing up!
Question of the Week: Does your family have family dinners where you all eat together? Or is dinner an individual occasion?