Thursday, January 14, 2010

The Dinner Bell

I have a dinner bell. It was an "inheritance" (she's still alive but gave a lot of stuff away) from my mother-in-law. Some of you may recognize the pattern- it's Candlewick- which I'm not that into, but you see it all the time in antique stores. I guess I'd rather have something more colorful or kitschy. Anyway, I've never used it, but I just read an article that got me thinking that I should. It does have a wonderful crystal ring.

The article appeared in the Food section of my newspaper today. I'm not sure who wrote it -there's no byline- but I sure wish I did. It was called The 1-2-3 of Family Dinners. I'm guessing it is meant to appeal to those who have made a resolution to eat dinner as a family more:

"So you're taking the plunge. You've decided that, darn it, you're reclaiming family dinner, making it your own, an oasis of contentment among the daily chaos. But now maybe you're scratching your head, wondering how the heck to to get to step 2 and beyond. Well, here's some smart thinking to get you to what you're dreaming of: Family Dinner, the Civilized Way."

OK, sounds fine, don't we all. But the part that got me going is this:

"...Aim for three. Start slowly. Do not set out to make dinners seven nights a week. Start with only one, if that's all you can handle. Build up to three. Extra credit for anything beyond."

Extra credit for anything more than three? Am I that out of touch with the modern family that this is shocking to me? Now I'm not saying that I'm Superwoman or anything, but I make dinners (and breakfasts and lunches) seven days a week for four of us. I feel a little guilty if we have pizza more than once a month. We go out to eat about three times a year.

I used to work full time and have a long commute each way. I know it's stressful to have to come home and think about dinner. But I did it then too. Maybe I relied a little more on my slow cooker, but I haven't really changed anything now that I'm home most days.

The only sacrifice we make now with my kids being so small (and really messy) is that we don't use cloth napkins anymore. But maybe I'll go back to that. And the dinner bell. Because I guess if I'm making dinner every night I should announce the occasion like the special event it must be- with a crystal bell ringing!

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