Family Meal Times THEN and NOW

Last night we had friends over for dinner.  I prepared a simple meal of Roasted Sweet Potatoes (my recipe), Crock pot ribs(made up recipe), Quick and Easy Chicken (secret recipe) and a fresh greens salad.  While enjoying our casual meal, the topic of course turned to that of eating and nutrition.  The adults at the table reminisced about meals gone by with their families growing up . . . the meal table . . . a place where family memories are made!  We compared current eating styles in the United States to our own experiences a few decades ago.  A lot has changed . . . wouldn't you agree?

Today, we have every tool, recipe and resource available to us as at our fingertips and at the click of a button.  Compare this to years gone by where a basic cook book and grandma's handed down recipe were considered creative cooking styles.  Mom was a genius at taking whatever was in the refrigerator and pantry and creating a well balanced meal.  We ate foods that were in season and readily available, even if that meant eating zuccini 101 different ways for 2 weeks straight!  Everyone had their favorite meals and these meals rotated through probably a month's rotation, but overall it was similar foods over and over again.  If a new recipe found its way into the mix and it was a hit, the kids may have a second helping and skip desert.  Portion control by the dynamics of one's lifestyle?  Today, we have the Food Network and Pinterest and so much sharing of recipes that quite possibly no one's taste buds get bored.  Is it possible that portion control also goes out the window because of all the new recipes we try today?  Does dad now think, "oh, well this is wife's new recipe and she may not make it again so I guess I'll eat the whole thing!"  

After our dinner gathering last night, I asked my husband what his favorite part of the meal was . . . his response was"the ribs . . . . (pause) and the sweet potatoes" .  The ribs- a combined new recipe I created just for last night, and the roasted sweet potatoes, also a new recipe that I created last night.  Will hubby get the same thing again?  Possibly, but maybe not.  My creative cooking style is ever changing and although I love to look at recipes, I rarely follow one to a T.  Its ever changing and the taste buds and mindful eating must keep up. 

So it brings me to think of the future.  Fast forward to decades ahead when our own children are hosting a dinner party.  Will they too have a favorite food that they remember eating with us?  Will they remember finishing a meal because their taste buds were satisfied and their tummy was full?  Or will my creative cooking style train their taste buds to need a vast multitude of ever changing flavors that they possibly can't keep up with?  And, what's best for them in the long run?  As a woman who enjoys cooking, I really truly don't have all of the answers.  However, I do know that studies show the more diverse the flavors, colors and textures of food kids are exposed to long term, the more variety they're likely to eat.  But is this increased variety making our kids obese in the United States?  What are your thoughts?  What are your family meal time experiences that you'd love to share?  Let's open up a dialogue of restoring family meal time and take hold of the future for this next generation  . . . and maybe as we dig into the topic, we may just discover that its really not just about the food that is served?!

Romans 12:2 Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is - his good, pleasing and perfect will.

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