By Judith Rasband, AICI CIM
“The family that prays together stays together,” was a popular slogan in years past. Now it’s “The family that eats together” that’s more likely to stay together. In recent surveys, I confirmed that many Utah Valley families no longer eat family dinner together and it’s been coming on for years.
Our fast pace of life leaves no time to fully embrace the dining experience. We rush from home to school or work, to music lessons and sports practice, to some form of entertainment—or we get bogged down surfing the internet and playing video games.
Feeling pushed for time, we often grab food and eat it in the car on the way to the next activity. We excuse ourselves saying there simply isn’t time to prepare, sit down, and enjoy an attractive and nutritious meal together. Our dining rooms sit empty and our best dishes never get used. We have lost the art and enjoyment of dining as a family. We’ve been programmed to believe that a good meal consists of large portions that are often full of sugar, fat, and salt, and how we consume it really doesn’t matter anymore.
In my dining tutorials and classes, I like to teach that a meal should include fuel for both our body and our spirit. A dining experience should enrich all of our senses—what we see, smell, touch, taste—and hear in the way of conversation.
Dining together is not about the food. It’s about the people and building relationships. The people around the table get first priority. While we make sure the food is good, it takes second place. The main purpose of a meal is to nurture friendships and build rapport among the people.
Dining together is not about looking or being pretentious in our manner. It’s all about helping people relax, feel comfortable and confident, able to enjoy the meal, the people, the place, and the purpose of the occasion. Lifetime memories are made as we dine together.
A rich and fulfilling meal does not require a multi-course gourmet spread with a perfectly appointed table of the finest china, crystal, and linens. All it requires is good food that fuels the body, a setting that feeds the soul, and relationships to be nourished. Research studies show that when families eat dinner together their health is improved, parents do better at work, children do better in school, and they all have fewer social challenges.
When dining together, your manner and dining etiquette are on display and will be observed. Knowing the general guidelines of dining etiquette will put you at ease, increase your confidence, and contribute to a positive outcome. Develop your dining skills so you can better represent yourself and your family.
Let’s again make time to practice the art of dining and experience the joy of breaking bread with those we love!
Copyright Judith Rasband and Conselle L.C. 2009
Judith Rasband is the Image Expert and would love to guide you through a dining tutorial! Visit www.conselle.com or call 801-224-1207 to learn more.