Welcome back to the LocalHarvest newsletter.
Over the weekend my husband picked up a class schedule from our local
gymnastics club. Our daughter is five, and the press of extra-curriculars is
beginning. The problem is that most of these activities fall squarely over the
dinner hour, which I consider sacred. The practice of sitting down to eat with
people we love is something we at LocalHarvest really value, but as we all
know, it isn't easy.
Kids' schedules are not the only impediment to shared meals. Many of us work
late, live alone, do shift work, or have obligations in the early evenings. In
reality, living as we do in this age of busyness and distraction, sitting down
with loved ones requires conscious intention. The pull of work, volunteer
commitments, television, and the Internet are significant. If we are going to
gather at the end of the day, we have to make a plan to do so.
An article in the New York Times published a few years ago identified eating
dinner with others as one of three things that actually make people more happy.
And on some level, we know this to be true. In a recent study by the
International Food Information Council Foundation, nearly 90% of respondents
thought it was good for their health to sit down and share meals with their
Even though sharing an evening meal with others can make us happy, sometimes it
seems easier not to bother. At the end of a day made stressful by work (or even
more stressful by no work), and under the pressure of the ticking clock, it can
be difficult to sit down around the dinner table at 6:00 and relax together.
What can we do to increase the odds of our sharing more meals? Lately my work
has been busier than usual and I have had to simplify our menus in order to
make sure we still eat at home, and eat decently well. I write out menus ahead
of time and grocery shop for the week on the weekends. I've also taken to
scheduling the cooking tasks so that not everything needs to be made at the
last minute, such as cooking rice for the next day the night before, and this
time of year usually roasting a big squash to serve throughout the week.
What strategies do you use to schedule shared meals and to make sure they go
smoothly? Please share your ideas so we can all learn from each other.
Speaking of learning, several of you emailed me asking for citations for last
month's article about organic food, specifically the part about organically
grown food being more nutritious. Jim Riddle, whom I interviewed for that
article, has made this well-cited article available to LocalHarvest readers;
you'll find the reference section in the back.
Until next time, take good care and eat well.