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Author Topic: At the dinner table...
Ecofem
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Here's a question for all users:

The short version:
What are meals like at your home?

Or a longer one...
Do you all sit down together for meals or it is more grab-n-go? What do you eat? Who makes it? Do you go out to eat a lot or eat in a dining hall? In which room do you eat?

If you eat with others (parent/s, siblings, other relatives, friends), what do you talk about at meals? What would you like to talk about? Do you eat together because you want to, or because you have to? Do you enjoy meal times?

Was it always this way or has it changed over time? Or do you now no longer live with your family at all?

What'd be your ideal dining situation?

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LucysDiamonds
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When I'm at home, generally my mom and I eat together. My dad works really late, and my sister doesn't live at home anymore, so it's just the two of us, and what we talk about can vary. I don't open up to her a whole lot, so usually it's just mundane stuff (how was your day, what are your plans for the weekend, kind of thing, occasionally discussing current events, local news, updates on family friends).

That said, I'm in college, so most of the year I'm eating meals here. I tend to go down to the dining hall whenever I get hungry and not bother trying to gather other people to go to dinner with me, but if I run into someone I know there, then yeah, we'll eat together. But I don't mind eating alone at all, and usually I bring a book, classwork, or a crossword puzzle or two to keep myself occupied while eating. I love to read and eat at the same time, and there's something called the "singles bar" in my dining hall (I think it's there to de-awkwardize people eating alone) that's basically a long bar-like thing with stools, but the seats all face a courtyard, which is really nice to look out on while you eat. I know some people who can't stand eating alone and think it makes you look like a "loser," but really, I'm quite satisfied with my own company. [Big Grin]

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So if you care to find me
Look to the western sky
As someone told me lately
Everyone deserves the chance to fly

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Beppie
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When I still lived at home (I moved out eight years ago now) we would have family dinners most nights, which was always really nice. When friends would visit they would often comment that they felt it was unusual-- they would often only have a family dinner once a week, if that.

These days, I live with my partner, and we usually eat together in the evenings-- in fact, before living with me, my partner wasn't in the habit of having regular evening meals, so I think the old influence from my family is still there.

My ideal dining situation is with my partner, and a few friends, with a nice bottle of red wine or two, and some good conversation. [Smile]

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cool87
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Concerning myself, I am still living with my family but given my pretty busy school schedule I can't afford going home to eat at noon. So most of the time, I eat dinner at school. I usually eat with other students although I do enjoy to eat alone sometimes too !

As for supper, this is a pretty tricky thing given I come home at different times each day (and my family since I have younger sisters and brothers usually eat at a fixed time each day, it's routine) and given the fact that I'm a vegetarian while my family is not.

I sometimes share meals with them when those meals contain something vegetarian but most of the time I make my own meals really often. Or my mother do make them when she feels like to which is always appreciated. [Smile] So we sometimes eat at the same time, but I can't say that it is quality time, really not. It often involves a lot of arguying like from example between my brothers and sisters and my mother getting tired of it, so she starts taking all her frustration on me. My father is really busy so he eats fast and then go. There is no talking time, there are never any. it's more conflicts. So you'll understand that sometimes I prefer not really being there when comes supper time.

I went away few months ago in another family for about a month for a school thing and it was so nice because they had a really nice quiet family supper where they took the time to talk about issues and things and I really enjoyed that. It was so relaxing. I so wish I was able to have that in my family too but it's not possible. This would be I guess my ideal dinning situation.

[ 12-14-2006, 06:28 PM: Message edited by: cool87 ]

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September
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When I'm at home, I usually have dinner with my mom. I like having a real kitchen to work in, so I cook dinner for us. If my brother is around, he'll join us. My dad usually comes home so late from work that we'd starve waiting for him, so I just cook things we can reheat for him later. We do try to eat together on weekend nights, though. We'll go out for pizza and just sit together for a long time and talk, and I really enjoy that.

When I was little, my mother would cook for my brother and me. But we never really had family dinners as my dad was never home from work early enough.

I've been living on my own for nearly three years now and I tend to eat my dinner alone. I live on campus, so I could walk over to the cafeteria for dinner, but I do have a small kitchenette in my room, so I prefer cooking my own dinner. That way, I can do homework on the side and I don't have to worry about looking like a dork because I am on my own.

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Johanna
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wobblyheadedjane
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When I lived with my family, dinner was usually the one place we were all together, at least when I was a bit younger. When I was older, it was different - three or four nights a week, my brother had hockey, mom had karate, I had drama rehearsals, and during golf season, forget it. But if any of the family were home during the dinner hour, we tried to eat at the same time so some of us were eating together. Usually we'd talk about our day, or hockey (there's a lot of politics to deal with in hockey to a Northern Ontario hockey family!) or we'd talk about things like the Olympics, or big news items. Sometimes there'd be arguments, especially if gay rights were involved, but usually we were just joking around and have a good time catching up in each other's lives. When my fiance and I announced to my parents (and his parents for that matter) we were getting married, we did it at the dinner table.

Now that I live with my partner, we don't usually eat at the table together. Sometimes we'll eat in the living room together, him playing WoW and me taking some time to unwind watching the Simpsons, or I'll be grabbing something easy on my way to work, or eating at the computer while I'm surfing or working on a paper. I love to cook though, so when I have the time to cook a nice meal, I like to sit down with him and eat at the table. Catching up on each other's day isn't as important because we attend the same school, and spend quite a bit of time together, but I know that will change when we move into the workforce, so it'll be important to me to have a kitchen/dining space where we'll be unwinding each day.

Woo, novel much? Commensality is a really important aspect of my heritage, though - holidays were always about pushing five tables together so 25 of us could eat in the same room, and playing cards afterwards in the kitchen while everyone took turns doing dishes. Many awesome parties I've gone to have ended up in the kitchen, and cooking is just one of those things I love, either for myself or for others. So I have a lot of feelings on the subject [Smile]

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-Lauren-
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When I was little, we all used to gather around the dinner table and have the ideal sit-down arrangement. I hardly remember those times.

My parents became more reclusive as we got older, and to this day come home from work and lock themselves in their room. It's usually up to one of us kids to cook dinner and clean up afterwards (which causes much argument).

Everyone just sort of dishes up and then goes back to whatever they're doing while eating.

Now that I think about it, it's sort of sad to me. But after so long, a sit-down family dinner has an air of insincerity and falsity to me, even when dining with others.

[ 12-15-2006, 01:48 PM: Message edited by: Miss Lauren ]

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LilBlueSmurf
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I've always envied families that sat down at the table to eat together.

I was raised by a single mother, who often worked 2 or 3 jobs at a time 'make ends meet'. Being the oldest, it was my responsibility to make dinner for my sister and i. Very rarely did we sit at the table, but instead, in front of the TV. And that's fine ... We ate together. Very rarely did we get dinner w/ mom though.

When i moved to my dad's house, dinner was a big deal. He always made dinner, and we always ate together. If one of us was late, the other waited. It was nice.

Now that i'm on my own w/ my soon-to-be husband, it's a special occasion when we get to sit down to eat together. I'm an RN, and work 12 hr shifts ... My dinner table is very often the break room, and sometimes when i'm really busy, the nurses station w/ paperwork all over the place. My fiance is a cook, and works dinner hours most of the time. I'm really hoping that when we have children, one of us will be home to eat dinner w/ them ... I think it's important.

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feefiefofemme
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During the week, my family usually eat seperately. I eat at the table while I'm doing my homework, and my brother often eats with me. My mum usually eats some time before me, and my dad eats when he comes home, which is much later.

We usually eat at home at our dining table (which is super casual and also serves as a homework table), though sometimes on weekends we eat in the living room while we watch a movie. For Christmas dinner, we move the dining table into the living room so we can see the tree from our seats, and set up the table all fancy with candles and stuff. We also dress up the table for birthdays, Thanksgiving (when we're home), and our semi-monthly family game nights with several other families in our neighborhood, or for other parties.

When we do eat dinner together, we don't talk a whole lot. We talk some about our every day lives (like school, work, etc.) or, sometimes, my dad reads from one of the books of conversation starters he has and we talk about whatever the topic is, though usually not for long before we end up talking about other things. I like to talk at mealtimes, because, to be honest, I can't stand the sound of chewing. I like to talk or have music in the background (which we often do) to mask the sound.

On the whole, I do enjoy mealtimes. I like to be together with my family, especially over holidays and breaks where I'm not stressed out over school. I like it even more when we have people over, though, because conversation is so much more varied. In large groups, I love to sit and listen to people talk.

I don't really wish that my family would have dinner together more often. I think my mum wishes we would, but mostly I eat a semi-small amount of food quite quickly, and then go back to my room. I do a bit of walking-through-the-kitchen-before-meals snacking, though, and I talk with my mum as she cooks. That's enough for me, really. I absolutely enjoy sitting down for family meals, but I think I'd enjoy it less if we did it every night. As things are, whenever we have dinner together it's like a special occaision, and I like that.

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summergoddess
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I live with my husband, and have been for the past year and half. Sometimes, we will eat dinner together at the kitchen table or in the living room in front of the tv. Other times, we make our own dinner, and just eat seperately (usually with me at the computer, and Isaiah with his videogame).

My partner and I actually still alternate sunday night dinners with my parents and my in-laws. So that's when we still have the family all together and eat together which is wonderful. I'm glad that we still have that going. We had dinner with my parents and my bros this past Sunday [Smile]

When I did live at home, it was mostly sundays that everybody ate together at dinnertime. Although, when I was a kid, eating with my parents and my brothers was just about every night. So obvously that had changed as me and my bros grew up.

Anyway, Isaiah and I do feel that we eat together with our kids when we do have them especially at dinner time. It's important to us too.

Jules

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Ecofem
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Everyone's answers are really interesting!

Growing up as one of the oldest of many siblings (meaning we all were still living at home) we'd eat together and talk about our days. I didn't appreciate this enough at the time, but I'm sure it was important. Although my dad would say bad stuff like, "whoever finishes first gets dessert!" [Wink]

My mom cooked for a number of years, then my dad cooked for awhile, then we all took turns. We'd never really go out to eat because it was too expensive, but if we did it'd be cheap Hamburger/Cheeseburger night at McDonald's (with water to drink, no fries, and a free kids cone.)

Now I live with three roommates and our kitchen is kind of gross so I'm not usually very inspired to cook. We don't have a real kitchen table, more of a coffee table, so I eat at the big table in my room. I'd glad to cook for others, but I expect them to help wash the dishes at the very least. We need to work on a new dishwashing schedule. [Smile] Cooking and enjoying tasty meals with friends is one of my favorite activities of all time.

[ 12-26-2006, 05:18 PM: Message edited by: Ecofem ]

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jak c
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My family eats together round the table in the kitchen, what my parents have cooked. My parents do the same job, so they usually talk to each other about it. I don't really like to talk when I'm eating, so I don't get asked many questions. These days, I look forward to dinner, not for the family element but for the break it affords me from studying! At breakfast, we don't eat together at all. My dad gets up early, my mom stays in bed, I get up when my dad wakes me and that's about twenty minutes before my brother and sister get up. I like this, I just read whatever's lying around or just stare at my cereal!
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nixieGurl
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When I was little we all had to sit at the dinner table together and eat pretty much every night except for friday, which was when my mum could go out with her friends and Dad usually took us out for dinner. But that was only up untill I was 4 so I dont really remember it. When Dad left I would sit at the table with mum and eat dinner and talk, but my brother and sister would usually just sit in their rooms or whatever. When we were older it was just mum and I and my stepfather, so I would usually not come home untill very late and not eat dinner at all. I usually hung out in the library or anywhere they would let me stay late so I would not have to be at home. And on weekend's I usually was just out the whole time.

When we all have to sit down for dinner now I find it really difficult because none of us knwo what to say to each other. My sister and I can do it, but only if none of the rest of the family are there, otherwise we argue because we are both stressing! I know that if I have children I would want them to eat with me, at least just for the catch up and its a good time to talk about stuff thats concerning them etc. Its kinda sad really that my family stopped doing that when I was so young, I sometimes get jeolous of my sister because she was 7 when I was born, and had all the good stuff for so much longer! [Razz]

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-Lauren-
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Hey, Ecofem: this is only semi-on topic. [Wink]

When I have problems getting others to help with dishes after cooking, I make it a policy that anyone who wants to eat, does dishes BEFORE the meal is served. The food is doled out amongst the plates and set aside, and everyone helps with the pots and pans.

Reheat the food if necessary, and designate one different person per session to load/wash the plates and silverware.

Just a suggestion. Works for us! [Smile]

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bellaitaliana69
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Dinner is a very big deal in my family. My dad often works late, but my mom and my sisters and I always wait until he gets home to eat. Our conversations usually start out with typical things such how our days went and such, but this usually turns into some kind intellectual/philisophical debate about one thing or another. When the conversation gets to this point, it's usually just me and my dad talking and sort of arguing while my mom scolds my middle sister about her schoolwork and my youngest sister just stares off into space. There's rarely a dull moment at my family's dinner table.

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"Only fear the things which have the power to harm" --Dante Aligheri, "Inferno" canto 2

A miracle is not the suspension of natural law, but the operation of a higher law.

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Ecofem
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quote:
Originally posted by Miss Lauren:
Hey, Ecofem: this is only semi-on topic. When I have problems getting others to help with dishes after cooking, I make it a policy that anyone who wants to eat, does dishes BEFORE the meal is served.

Thanks for the suggestion– this sounds like a really good idea! I'll definitely try it out, although it seems to be either the plates we eat off or, the biggest offender, "phantom dishes" that anonymously pile up in the sink are the main problem. [Smile]
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lindsaymarie
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Growing up, the five of us would always eat together at the table. My mom would make dinner and then call us. We would usually watch tv during dinner too. Now my brothers are in college so it's just me and my parents.

About a year ago I went vegan, and I love to cook, so now I cook all my own meals and my parents eat their own seperate meat. I eat with them about half the time depending on how busy I am and what they're eating(I can't stand the smell of seafood). If I don't eat with them, I either go in my room and eat or just eat at the table but at a different time. I like it cuz it makes the time I do spend with them more meaningful than if I were to eat with them every night.

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ember
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Generally the three of us (I'm only child, so it's just me and my parents) eat together, when our schedules permit. Mealtimes are still pretty casual though, and we tend to eat at very erratic hours. When there's two or three of us eating at the same time we'll usually eat in the dining room, however if I'm eating alone for some reason I'll often eat in the kitchen.

Traditionally, my parents have split the cooking fairly evenly between the two of them; though recently I have been trying to cook more of the meals myself when I have time, since cooking is something I actually really enjoy. My dad tends to be the more innovative one when it comes to recipes/meals, but cooking with my mother is often more enjoyable since my dad gets a little uptight about his kitchen space.


Because I am a vegetarian, my mom is a pescatarian and my dad cooks amazing vegetarian food anyway, most of the meals we eat are vegetarian. On the rare occasions that my parents do decide to have fish or sea food, there are usually enough side dishes and/or left overs that I can make myself a pretty decent meal.

I actually really enjoy meal times with my parents (sound a little lame I know). For one thing, I get tasty food. That's always a plus. For another thing, I find that meal times (by which I really mean dinner) are a nice break in my evening, which is otherwise pretty busy. It is also pretty much the only time in the day that we all spend together and are not off doing our own thing, so it provides an opportunity to catch up on life and discuss anything important. We also have the strangest, most hilarious conversations, with topics ranging from deep philosophical discussions to current events to interesting characters we met on the subway.

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