Happiest Place in the Home

Dinner Ideas

We’ve all been there, right?

We call everyone in for dinner and then it begins:

“Do I have to eat this?”

“I don’t like this stuff.”

“I wanted the blue cup!!”

“I don’t want to sit by him.”

(You remind yourself to breathe.)

Then one child starts complaining about others chewing with their mouths open and the little boys start squirming off their chairs while playing with their food.  It’s no surprise you begin shoveling in the food as fast as you can just to get the meal over and done with.

This was our family life a month ago.  I was beginning to dread making dinner, eating dinner, cleaning up dinner (though, in theory, the kids were supposed to be helping), and then meal planning and grocery shopping for yet another week of complaints.  I started to wonder what experts were thinking when they told us that eating one meal a day together as a family was a vital part of keeping us close. My view was to the contrary.

Until I read this:

french kids

This book has revolutionized our home (most days, anyway), so much so that there is just too much to write in one post. Today I will simply say this:



When the French are shown a picture of a cake, they think CELEBRATION.  

When Americans are shown a picture of a cake, they think GUILT.

This made me laugh and cringe at the same time because I totally see it!  I wanted to change that image for myself and my children.

Eating is to be joyful!  The earth was created to be a place “good for food.”  Food is essential to sustain life, it is one way in which we are asked to help the poor and needy, it is one way we can give an offering to the Lord (through fasting).  Food not only feeds the body, but the spirit and the soul. Le Billon says, “The table should be the happiest place in the house (p. 127).”

Looking at food this way, I knew I needed to change my own attitude about dinnertime.  I wanted to see food as good, not just a necessity.  I now try to talk differently about food.  Certain foods aren’t “bad,” they are unhealthy.  If kids don’t like the food, that’s okay, they’ll try it again another day.  When making dinner, I think more about those I’m nurturing rather than checking something off my list.  Though we are far from my earlier dreams of hour-long, peaceful dinner conversations, I no longer dread bringing our family together to the table and most of the complaining has disappeared.

 – – – – – 

 Mothers, who are “primarily responsible for the nurture of their children,” can be a powerful force for strengthening families when they use mealtimes to gather loved ones. They follow the example of the Savior to calm, teach, and help their families remember important things as they feed, cultivate, educate, and rear at the consecrated tables in their homes. –  – Julie Beck


This post first appeared on Real Imprints.