Is it clear yet how I feel about the dinner table? I think it’s kind of a big deal. And I don’t mean that it’s a big deal in the way all those studies tell us it is. Because for every study claiming that kids who eat with their parents do better in school and are less likely to be depressed or on drugs, there is research that questions it. (It’s the self-selecting theory — researchers argue that the kinds of parents who are more attuned to these issues in the first place are the ones more likely to organize quality family time around the table.) For me, it’s much more important to impart how meaningful it can be to sit down to good food with your family. Meaningful in both a micro way, i.e. the tangible, primal satisfaction you get from watching your kids eat well. And meaningful in the macro way, i.e. how what is on that dinner plate can be an entree to larger discussions about the environment, about nutrition, and other such lighthearted topics like the tyranny of mega-corporations and the food processed industry. It’s the macro way I have in mind as I launch what will hopefully be a regular column here at DALS. In it, you’ll hear what books, movies, articles, obsessions my family is talking about when we sit down to eat. Often, you’ll notice, we are not just talking around the dinner table, but about the food on our dinner table. And I guess that’s sort of the point. So with no further ado introducing…
Around and about the dinner table, June 14, 2010
What I’m watching: King of Corn, the documentary about the two college grads who go about planting, harvesting, and selling an acre of corn in Iowa with no farming experience whatsoever.
What the whole family is watching: The World Cup 2010. In my mind, it’s like the Olympics — it doesn’t count as Screen Time. It’s just something the kids need be a part of.
What I’m cooking from: Simple, Fresh, Southern, by Matt Lee and Ted Lee. The fact that I was heading into summer 2010 without this cookbook by the James Beard Award-winning team is frightening. Some of their recipes will be turning up on DALS this week.
What words of wisdom from Jimmy Dean, Sausage King (1928-2010) I plan on quoting to my kids tonight: “You can’t take rejection personally. You have to say, ‘Well, that dumbass just didn’t know any better.’” (From the always brilliant What I’ve Learned column in Esquire.)
What I’m supposed to be reading (for book club): Cutting for Stone, by Abraham Verghese
What Andy is reading: Manuscripts that will soon be books, proposals for books. But no books. (Though, he did just acquire a book by the Pulitzer-Prize winning Michael Moss tentatively titled Salt, Sugar, Fat.)
What Phoebe, 8, is reading: Athena, the graphic novel by George O’Connor, via Myles at You Know, For Kids
Have a good week.