This past week was substantial for many reasons. I landed in NYC Tuesday to prepare for the very first annual Family Dinner Conference on the campus of NYU presented by Time at the Table. We were able to bring some highly influential people into one room to open a dialogue about family dinner. The audience was intimate, but sprinkled with Dietitians, Authors, Film Producers, Psychologists, Professors, Organizers, Bloggers, Activists, Entrepreneurs, Parents and even a VP of a dominate fresh food company. I was blown away by the enthusiasm that overflowed as speaker after speaker told their story. I never had to tell folks to mingle or networks, but what do you expect when you get a room full of family dinner enthusiasts together?
I left with simple ideas on recipes, techniques on dealing with impatient family members and how to involve them in the dinner process. I learned that a successful meal can be summed up in one action word…”laughter.” I even learned that I inspire just as much as I receive. I left meeting people that have influenced me and my decisions in this field of work, and to spend quality time sharing conversations just encouraged my inner voice even more.
From the after conference walk in the rain, the random pics being emailed to significant others or the 2 hour dinner conversation that may not have appeared to be family style, but quickly became a free for all as we took in the moment, sharing sips of drinks and forks of food. We all sat down to celebrate in our own way what we learned that day.
Then it hit me. Right before I left, a friend had said to me they were going to treat themselves to fast food because they had done so well with their diet. It’s innocent, we all need those comfort food days and no matter what people say they eat some form of fast food one way or another. So what’s my point?
When did we decide as a society that fast food was a treat? When did it even become an option? Why do we work hard to fill ourselves with things we know is unhealthy? Why does a treat need to be unhealthy? Why can’t a treat be a $25 entrée or $50 or $10? Who cares of the price, let’s just begin to invest in ourselves. We complain about fresh food prices while checking our iphones and watching cable tv, but really what’s more important and a better choice for you and your family?
I challenge everyone to sign the pledge from The Six O’Clock Scramble and let’s make family dinner that moment of peace where we come together. Let’s invest in our family’s health and decide that what we put into our bodies is what we will get out of them. Lastly, let’s treat ourselves with a $50 dinner and not a $5 pizza, because we are worth it!
We hope to see you next year!
Thank you to Jenny, Aviva, Eila, Pam & the Kids Cook Monday group, Family Circle Magazine, NYU, Blog for Family Dinner, Grace, Kathleen, Brianne, Dole, Bettina and the many bloggers, activists and parents who made the first conference a day to remember!