More On Family Meals


 I have a follow up to the Benefits of Family Meals post. I don’t know why this article did not show up when I did the initial research. You will have to ask BING and Google that question. I do know that since ‘they’ have changed their search algorithms I find internet search results to be much poorer than before. 

Un any event, back in June, 2006 Time Magazine did an article titled, The Magic of the Family Meal, by Nancy Gibbs.

Even five years ago researchers were saying the same thing about the importance of family meals. However, this article has a more in depth analysis of what the family meal time together means not just to the family, but to society as a whole.

The article also delves into what food is and what it means to us as a society.

Following are just a few quotes from the article. You can read the entire article by clicking the link above, which I highly recommend. It  is well worth the read.

“A meal is about civilizing children. It’s about teaching them to be a member of their culture.” [Anthropologist Robin Fox]

In response to some family’s saying that we tried family meals and it and it did not work, Gibbs writes:

The researchers found essentially that family dinner gets better with practice; the less often a family eats together, the worse the experience is likely to be………..

The article has this to say about modern and quicker ways to fix food.

…………the message embedded in the microwave was that time spent standing in front of a stove was time wasted.

Talking and laughing while preparing food is good therapy. Some times it is easier to talk when you are doing something with your hands rather than staring at someone face to face.

Also mentioned in the artilce is that meals are a wonderful way for children to learn how conversation works, learn new vocabulary, as well as table manners.

I like this next part.

But something precious was lost, anthropologist Fox argues, when cooking came to be cast as drudgery and meals as discretionary. “Making food is a sacred event,” he says. “It’s so absolutely central–far more central than sex. You can keep a population going by having sex once a year, but you have to eat three times a day.”

Food comes so easily to us now, he says, that we have lost a sense of its significance. When we had to grow the corn and fight off predators, meals included a serving of gratitude. “It’s like the American Indians. When they killed a deer, they said a prayer over it,” says Fox. “That is civilization. It is an act of politeness over food. Fast food has killed this. We have reduced eating to sitting alone and shoveling it in. There is no ceremony in it.” [All emphasis mine.]


By Jove I think he’s got it!  Meals are more than just feeding our bodies. Food is more than just tasting good; much as I adore that part of it. Meals are a rite. Meals are a ceremony. Taking time with meals reminds us to appreciate and to be grateful for all this earth and al our families have to offer.


Featured Recipe    Croissant Ham and Pear Sandwich

This is one great sandwich. It is a Martha Stewart, Everyday Foods Magazine recipe, although I have taken certain liberties with it. This is Martha at her very best. Which is why I change it all around. No,  just joking. I keep the essential essence of the sandwich. And it is truly a wonderful sandwich. 

This is what you will need for each sandwich:

1 plain croissant split in half horizontally

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

2 thin slices deli ham

2 thin slices Muenster cheese

1/3 cup sliced pears

½ cup watercress

Changes to basic recipe I make:

First change I make is I do not use croissants. Not because I don’t like them. I LOVE, I adore croissants!  But they are normally quite expensive, often $1.00 or more each, especially if you get good ones from a bakery.  

Even so, they are not French croissants made with butter, butter, butter.  And then some more butter after that. Most grocery store croissants are little more than air on the inside. Therefore, the sandwich contents have nothing substantial to hold it together.

I play around with the bread. I have tried several different kinds. All are good, with plain white bread the least exciting. Today I used Sesame Seed Kaiser Rolls because they were on sale. They were wonderful!

I have always wanted to try this sandwich on some good, crusty Vienna bread, but alas have not found any in ages.

Next change is I do not always use cheese, and when I do I seldom use Muenster. Muenster is a relatively mild cheese. Yet Muenster cheese tends to over power the other flavors for me. I am more apt to use Baby Swiss or Monterey Jack when I do. I did not use any cheese today.

I have always found half a pear too much. I use about ¼ a pear, which means you could make four sandwiches with one pear.

Use any kind of ham you like. I often use a mixture. Today I used sweet ham and Black Forest ham. And I used three (3) slices of ham, not two (2.)

And the last change is I do not use watercress. I do not dislike watercress. Good tasty watercress is hard to find, and is more expensive. So I just use regular leaf lettuce of some sort or other. 

In short what my changes do is to make this a less expensive sandwich without sacrificing any of the taste.

Now, finally, following is a picture of the ingredients:

Here is what you do:

Slice the roll or bread if needed. Spread about a teaspoon of the Dijon mustard on each side of  the roll.

Layer each of the remaining ingredients on the bread.

Top with the other half of the bread.

You can serve this with potato chips, or soup, or just about anything you want. Today I served it with a Cucumber and Kalamata Olive Salad, pictured

Bon Appetit!!!


1 sesame seed Kaiser roll                 $0.38

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard                $0.06

3 thin slices deli ham                         $0.96

2 thin slices Muenster cheese              —

¼ pear sliced                                    $0.44

Couple leaves of lettuce                      $0.10

Total cost for 1 sandwich = $1.94


Using cheese would add about $0.10 to the total cost, depending upon what kind you use.

Less than a Big Mac (Average USA $3.57)

Quote of the Day

To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is an accomplishment

Ralph Waldo Emerson

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