Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Family Dinner Review and Giveaway

The producer of An Inconvenient Truth, Laurie David's new mission is to help America's overwhelmed families sit down to a Family Dinner, and she provides all the reasons, recipes and fun tools to do so.

Laurie David speaks from her own experience confronting the challenges of raising two teenage girls. Today's parents have lots to deal with and technology is making their job harder than ever. Research has proven that everything we worry about as parents--from drugs to alcohol, promiscuity, to obesity, academic achievement and just good old nutrition--can all be improved by the simple act of eating and talking together around the table.

Laurie has written a practical, inspirational, fun (and, of course, green) guide to the most important hour in any parent's day. Chock-full chapters include: Over seventy-five kid approved fantastic recipes; tips on teaching green values; conversation starters; games to play to help even the shyest family member become engaged; ways to express gratitude; the family dinner after divorce (hint: keep eating together) and much more. Filled with moving memories and advice from the country's experts and teachers, this book will get everyone away from electronic screens and back to the dinner table.

My Take:  Laurie David and I have some things in common.  We both value traditions.  We value family dinner.  We strive to give our children happy memories of togetherness (without crying, fighting, or sulking).  I planned on skimming this book and trying out a few recipes.  Instead, I found myself engrossed for a better part of a morning.  There are recipes, to be sure, but the content is how Laurie makes the family dinner an enjoyable and meaningful experience.

Experience?  I know.  That's what I said.  I just want us to all sit down at the same time, pray together, and eat what's on the table without anybody making a derogatory remark about the food or each other.  I want to hear about my children's day.  I want to pick up on nuances I might miss if I weren't sitting at the same table watching them.  How can I do that when they are shoving food in their mouths so they can get back to playing?

We have our rules and protocol.  No T.V., everybody takes a turn blessing the food.  Close your mouth when you chew.  Try really, really, really hard to keep your butt in the chair during dinner.  You must be excused.  Those are cumbersome.  What if dinner was more interesting?

Here are my ideas I gleaned or expanded upon to make dinner more interesting.
  • Cover table with butcher paper.  Scatter crayons around the table.  Artistic eating
  • Set up wood train set around place settings.  Include trains for kids to move around.
  • Shabbot bread.  Okay, we're not Jewish but why not make braided bread and take turns tearing one piece off while sharing one or two things you are grateful for?
  • This is my own: Dinner with interesting place settings based on a lottery.  One person ate out of a skillet with an eggbeater.  Another ate out of a pie tin using salad tongs.  I made spaghetti.  That was three years ago.  My kids still talk about it.  That was an experience.
Lots of ideas including topics, games, and other experiences not usually associated with dinner in my mind.  It really opened my mind for being more creative.  Dinner can be enjoyable and provide nutrients for the body and soul.

Thanks to Hatchette Book Groups, I have 1 copy for one lucky reader.
U.S. and Canada residents only
No P.O. Boxes
One copy per household.
Ends November 19th.
Fill out form HERE. 

In the interest of family dinners, I'd love to hear what ideas you have for making family dinner more enjoyable! Leave a comment.


PoCoKat said...

It so important for everyone to sit down to dinner together as often as possible. More enjoyable...just serve something everyone likes and have a nice dessert!

littleone AT shaw DOT ca

Marjorie said...

Making a meal from scratch is always great and I love doing it.

Diana D said...

It's hard to get everyone together for a meal but I realize the importance of it. Thanks for the wonderful giveaway

dianad8008 AT gmail DOT com

minishoes1 said...

Good conversation at the dinner table and good food is important. Thanks!

robynl said...

If the eaters are not too fussy set aside one day each week and pick one person each week where you make their favorite meal or at least one favorite whether it be a meat dish, dessert or whatever.
Focus on that person that night and it becomes 'my day' to that person.


Cathy W said...

I love to have everyone helping.
cjwallace43 at gmail dot com

Robyn said...

Sounds like a wonderful book. We are big into family meal time!

I'm now following you on GFC and hope you'll follow back at

Found you through the Helping Mommy's Win Blog.


Jackie said...

Everyone sitting down together every night for dinner is important to both my husband and I. It's a great time to find out what is going on with everyone, to discuss family matters, and to laugh and enjoy each other! Thanks!

Judylynn said...

I like to ask questions at supper such as: If you could be the president for one day, what laws would you enact/change?

I'd LOVE to win this book! Thanks!


dctm said...

I love when my family helps me prepare the meal, set the table and just being able to be together doing everything

Christie C
dctm at bellsouth dot net

windycindy said...

We try to have a different topic to give our opinion on for at least ten minutes of our meal...
Thanks, Cindi

Susan said...

I cook a very healthy dinner nearly every night. My husband really appreciates the effort that I put into it. We eat together and enjoy the time together.

Nancye said...

I think it's important to be together as a family during meals. It's hard for my family due to hectic schedules, but we are together as much as possible.

nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

Ginny said...

Book looks very interesting with some great tips!

degood said...

I find if the kids help me make dinner they are much more likely to eat it and be proud of it and it makes dinner time alot more calm, plus I get help!

auntrene said...

My Daycare kiddos and I share lunch together at the table family style each day.. they occassionally help me cook.. Our favorite thing to do is... Joke at Lunch.. as we are eating each of us tell a joke.. and the big kiddos love it.. they bug their parents trying to get their lunch time joke ready for the next day..
The little kiddos laugh even if they don't get the joke just because we are all having a chuckle. Its great fun!

Laura H. said...

Although my kids have flown the nest, on Christmas Eve we use to eat dinner by candlelight. The TV was off and the only entertainment was conversations with each other!

Jeff said...

Have everyone go around and tell one thing great they did during the day!

I would love to win! Thanks for the giveaway!

jeffintennessee at gmail dot com

Sunnymay said...

I discovered that when Classical music was playing everybody ended up being in a better mood including me. The harmonies were at work in our ears and kept arguments at bay plus we ate in a more leasurely fashion. I remember a few times, we had an inside picnic, dinner on the floor on a tablecloth or sheet when I was too tired with 5 kids.

Nancye said...

Let the kids help cook and clean up. Include everyone!

nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net