Thursday, July 10, 2014

Family Dinner: Tradition or History?

Ok, not really a geeky subject, unless you count it under food geek. So I read this story on NPR a while back (with the title of this post), and wondered if perhaps Allison Aubrey is perhaps living in a circle of what I call convenience lifers, or am I living in my own cushy bubble of food geeks? Our family is near one end of the extreme: we actually grow our own food, buy most of it from local farmers, and the food we eat is almost entirely made from scratch with natural raw ingredients (the most complex ingredient in some of our dishes is ketchup - Organic, of course).

True, we know a few people who never cook, or whose idea of cooking is to heat up frozen dishes. However, it seems without having an actual survey, that most of the friends, family, and neighbors cook and eat at least some meals at home. At our house, it is a rare evening that not all 6 of us is at the table for dinner. And we are a busy family. In fact, the busier we are, the more important it is to take the time and prepare meals (and eat them together). 

My wife Lisa often teaches classes on cooking, including the organization and planning of it. With our lifestyle, our meats are bought in quantity and frozen, so we have to plan ahead (and make fewer trips to the store for them). On very busy weeks, we have our "fast food": dishes that are done ahead or quick to cook, that we can hear up from the freezer -- or cook in the crock pot so we can leave them unattended for long periods of time. 

So if this is truly a bygone ideal, then I say that family and cultural traditions are also bygone ideals, and we may as well live like a pack of individual animals.  How about you?  Do you live a modern life of total convenience, where you have become separated from how and where your food is grown, when it is in season, even don't care about the ingredients?  Or are you the veritable pioneer, living off the land, suspicious of any store-bought foods?  Or somewhere in between?   Do you think that social values are disintegrating in this age of convenience and technology?  Or do you strive to make it more relevant?  Respond in the comments below.

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