Bookworm: The Family Dinner

Last weekend, The HOTY (a/k/a Husband of the Year) and I schlepped my sinusitis-ridden, chemo-filled body to a dinner party held by Laurie David in honor of Dr. Marisa Weiss, President of The theme of the evening was how eating healthfully and organically can help prevent breast cancer while simultaneously doing a whole lot of other good things for your body and the environment.

Even though I was a bit of a train wreck (and had to sit down for most of the evening), just being around these incredible, enlightened people…people who are literally changing the world lifted my heart, soul and even head (Silver Lining!).

Upon leaving (unfortunately, we were the first out the door), each guest received a copy of Laurie’s new book: The Family Dinner: Great ways to connect with your kids, one meal at a time.

If you haven’t already purchased it: Get it. Read it. Gift it.  It’s fantastic!

As we all know, Laurie is the co-producer of the 2006 Academy Award Winning documentary: An Inconvenient Truth. Laurie has also produced several projects to bring the issue of global warming into mainstream popular culture – including authoring the bestselling Stop Global Warming: The Solution is You! and co-authoring The Down-to-Earth Guide to Global Warming, written for kids of all ages and published in eleven languages.

Laurie is the real deal. And I LOVE her new book!

The Family Dinner is FUN to read.  I’m not one of those people who “reads” cookbooks.  I have friends who do (and I admire them for it), but unless there is purpose (i.e., to cook something!), a cookbook sends me to Snoozerville.  However, I have been pouring over The Family Dinner!

It offers not only fabulous, easy to make, kid-pleasing recipes for meals by Kirstin Uhrenholdt, but step by step chapters on how you can make rituals a part of everyday meals. Rituals have always been important to me, both personally as well as professionally. They are a true expression of a family’s values, attitudes, beliefs and goals.

One of my favorite chapters focuses on Table Talk and Games and other ideas to make mealtime not just more nutritious but also more fun! This chapter resonated with me immediately.  At almost every (grown-up) dinner party, the The HOTY and I ask each person at the table to answer a couple of questions, e.g., What was your first job? What is your special skill? It always evokes a lot of fun dialogue and engages the entire group.  It is just as fun to play with our kids as well (though we ask different questions!).

“Fun for the whole family,” as The HOTY and I always say.

Another favorite chapter is “Grace is Gratitude:  Ways to say thank you and appreciate life’s gifts.”  This chapter demonstrates that you don’t have to be religious to have gratitude and be thankful for the blessings around your table. So cool.

The extras throughout the book are terrific. Tips for creating a non-stressful way that kids can help cook.  Cheat sheets. Quotes. Stories. Interviews.  Random and useful tidbits of information. Using leftovers. Bits of history. Pantry lists. Green tips. The information is very useful and accessible….and FUN (did I already mention that?)!

May we eat with mindfulness and gratitude so as to be worthy to receive it.

– Thich Nhat Hanh, Vietnamese Buddhist monk, a SL quote from the gratitude chapter.

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  1. Nancy Weltchek says

    You are amazing. And you articulate so eloquently, poignantly, and humorously the emotions and physical atrocities that I experienced in my similar journey seven years ago. I never went to the hospital with sinusitis, but I remember standing over a steaming pot of water and tea tree oil in a desparate attempt to be able to breathe. I poured half the bottle in when only about 1/2 teaspoon was called for. I nearly burned my skin off! I was just paralyzed by this cold. It was almost as bad as the cancer.

    You really are an inspiration.