Family Dinner

March 2020 changed our family’s life…like many families. In many ways, our family life is stronger now. Before Covid, my husband’s commute, meant he left early for work and stayed late-all to avoid traffic. I was often on my own after school straight through bedtime. Needless to say, evenings were always hectic and our family life was suffering. I grew up with family dinners as often as possible, everyone gathered around the kitchen table. My kids didn’t have that…

Unit Covid. We were all home and family dinners became part of our routine. My husband worked from home for nearly two years and he took on the grocery shopping and making dinners. We gathered around our table regularly, often having to clear away the crazy day…you can read more about that here. These moments together are something we all cherish now.

In August of 2020, my younger brother opened a pizza shop in town, called The Parlor. In the heat of the pandemic, good help was hard to find, so my mom started helping out after her daycare closed each afternoon. In January of 2021, when my dad retired from forty years as an ICU nurse, he also found himself spending his evenings helping out at The Parlor. You can say that the restaurant became a family affair. While it’s so great that my parents are able to help my brother, their new “jobs” have kept them pretty busy and there have been plenty of days we find ourselves missing them.

So this summer, I vowed to try to find a way to bring us all together again. Time always seems to be an excuse…no time for cooking…no time to have people over…But summer gives me, a teacher, the gift of time. Since the restaurant is closed on Mondays, I declared all of our summer Mondays, Family Dinner Night. These nights have given me a chance to get back in the kitchen and take the time to not just throw something quick together, but to try new recipes I think my family will enjoy. Mondays have also given us all a chance to sit back and enjoy being together. My kids now look forward to Mondays and all the joys gathering with the people we love bring.

Mondays are pretty busy during the school year. I don’t think I’ll be able to keep Family Dinner Night up…but maybe we can figure out a creative solution so make time for what matters most.

The story of our summer through recipes:

Week One: Avocado Blueberry Quinoa Salad

Week Two: Strawberry Spinach Salad with Avocado

Week Three: Summer Farro Salad with Grilled Steak

Week Four: Crazy Good Street Corn Chicken Tacos

Serendipitous, that my friend Tracey gifted me this book today, after writing this slice. ❤️
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16 thoughts on “Family Dinner

  1. This strikes me as a nice ‘moving on from covid times’ piece. Your family routine changed (a LOT, as you tell us about your extended family), you saw what you valued, you established a new routine. What a nice one! Thanks for ending with the dishes- that was fun to read. This reminded me of my sister-in-law’s routine of going to her mother in law’s for dinner every Sunday . They all complained about what a terrible cook she was, but they all went over every week! We know its more than the food…

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  2. I love this post ! What strikes me most is that you saw a need, thought of a creative way to fill it, and did so with style (yummy sounding food!). I bet everyone in your family looks forward to those Monday nights and they must have a wonderful store of Monday night memories! You’ve got me thinking now –As of this weekend all my children are living within a one hour drive. Maybe we can institute some sort of regular weekly or bi-weekly affair?

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  3. I enjoyed reading the way your Monday family dinner night’s evolved. I can’t wait to check out those recipes!

    As we head into a new school year, my kids will be out of the house for school for the first time in 28 months. I know two nights a week will be consumed with soccer and Hebrew school. And, to be honest, I’m terrified about losing our family dinners, which are a staple. I am happy you got me thinking about this again today.

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  4. Your slide is a celebration of ritual and often rituals occur around a table (love Peter’s newest book, too!). I hope you push back on the things that get in the way and keep your family ritual going. As teachers, we deserve work-life balance. I hope as you plan your school lessons, you also keep planning your family gatherings around the table. Thanks for including the recipe links!

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  5. This is so relatable, where COVID actually brought your family closer. Family time is definitely important. The gift of time in the summer is also very a precious gift that teachers uniquely have. However, after school starts, that time seems to disappear. I hope you find a solution!

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  6. Family dinners are what everyone needs! If you value it, you make time for it! Clearly you and your fam value it and are willing to do the work to simply be together…this matters and will have a lasting impact on all!❤️❤️❤️❤️

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  7. Love how you took us from your childhood through COVID to this new tradition. The passage of time, the interweaving of food and family, all make for a great read. Thanks for sharing!

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