Jamie Schler recently blogged on The Huffington Post about the contrast between the mealtimes of her North American childhood, and her experience of European family meals after her marriage to her French husband:
Whatever was brought to the table, good or bad, it was served up like clockwork: 6:00 on the nose every evening, exactly half an hour after dad got home. Mom, like all moms everywhere, would lean out the back door and yell for us kids to come inside. Sue and Andrew on one side of the table facing Michael and I on the other, mom and dad flanking us at either end. Walter Cronkite blaring in the other room so dad could listen all the way through to “And that’s the way it is…” We were all happy eaters, giggling and laughing throughout the meal, trying hard, as hard as kids can, to stay quiet, not a peep, so dad could listen to the news. Games played around the meal: who could eat the most broccoli or spinach and titles would be bestowed: Popeye for the evening or Biggest Tree-Eating Giant. There would be rejoicing all around whenever we saw dad pull out the pancake griddle or fire up the charcoal grill out in front of the house on that rare weekend when he chose to cook. Yet as we grew older, my mother cooked less and less often as we were more and more able to fix our own meals. She just stood up one day and announced “I’m done! I’m not cooking anymore. You are all old enough to fend for yourselves!” And that was that. Mealtimes hurried for whomever was home, the television often our favorite dinner partner.
So this meal at my French in-laws was a revelation. Did people really eat this way every day, cooking and gathering and chatting and enjoying the time and each other’s company? I looked around me during those first few years in France and Italy when our sons were small and saw it all everywhere: families gathered every day around a hot meal. It was simply natural, family tradition, everyone who was living at home sat down and shared the time of a meal together with no distractions. And weekends often found the family at the grandparents, several generations together, cooking, eating, playing music, games or a walk together after lunch, the kids, even the teens, enjoying the company of the adults as much as the older members of the family were delighting in watching the children grow up. And everyone seemed so happy, harmonious, connected.
Click here to read the full story on The Huffington Post.
When American six year olds can’t identify a tomato or potato, it is definitely time for a food revolution! Thank you Jamie Oliver, for bringing your healthy eating revolution to this side of the Atlantic.
Today is “Meatless Monday”. Click here to go to Jamie Oliver’s website for more information and recipes, and – if you are in the U.S. – watch episodes of new show, Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution. Remember, reducing meat is good for your health as well as the health of the planet!