When talking about a family as a social cell, it is usually characterized in terms of pedagogy and sociology, referring to the role of education and the emotional atmosphere within it, the parental influence, etc. However, equally important element is the role the food plays in the family, especially meals shared together. Hereafter the meals within a particular family will be described, as well as the role they play in the family's culture. Besides, such issues as the importance of common meals and their impact on the family are going to be discussed.
It is worth admitting that there are families that are not used to gather at a common table because parents are often busy at work, and they prefer to relax alone at home or spend time outside the family. Exceptions are rare holidays and family dinners. Obviously, such a practice characterizes family not in the best way because its members do not have time to be together and just to talk, share interesting news or discuss how the day went. In general, a common meal for parents and children is just the time to eat and chat hastily. They typically choose rather not to bother themselves with cooking, preferring meals, which are healthy, but simple to prepare; the menu of such family usually consists of many vegetables and grains, fish, spices, fruits and dairy products.
It is clear that such a situation shows a lack of a warm family atmosphere and a particular alienation of family members from each other, specifically expressed in a disinterest of the parents in the lives of their children. Most often, during family dinners, parents talk about job or vacation plans, or at least about some family matters. They tend to ask children how the day was, but this is more like a habit than a real desire to know the answer. For this reason, the table talks look a little bit as business ones. Such a family rarely makes up the menu together, and even more rarely cooks together. Since the whole family eats the same food, there are no significant differences in food choices or disagreement concerning some products. In a family of this kind, there is a great lack of traditional family dinners when everyone cooks together, and comes up with new recipes and varied menus. Constant busyness of the parents does not allow them to get distracted and fully spend time with their children.
Eating habits of such a family are very simple. The basic principle is that everyone prepares food for himself; rarely the family gets together and everyone tries to be involved in cooking, if possible. The dinner itself usually consists of the first course, main course and dessert. The first course can be vegetable or fish soup; the second course may vary, but it can typically consist of baked meat with vegetables, salad, spaghetti, and simply anything that can be made from available products. Dessert is often what everyone chooses to his or her liking, as parents prefer to avoid wasting time for making it and buy everything required beforehand. Everyone can have dessert where he or she wants, not necessarily at the table. Apparently, this fragmentation and indifference of the family dinner tradition affects family relations because in that case parents and children rarely talk heartily, discussing important questions for them. Each of them is a little on their own, and this causes the loss of sense of unity.
In the end, it is important to revive the tradition of the common meals that will help families to unite and strengthen the relationship between parents and children. For children, such traditions will form the concept of loving and supportive family. Besides, when eating with parents, they will learn to be polite and well behaved at the table.
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