Growing up in a large and loud Italian family, I quickly learned meals weren’t simply events to feed our bodies before rushing out the door – far from it. Our family would gather as a whole in the kitchen, and each member was responsible for some aspect of the cooking process, start to finish. While the kids took on the mundane tasks of setting the table or rinsing the vegetables from my grandpa’s garden, we were still very involved in the preparation, and happily so. It gave us a sense of accomplishment and importance; we were actually contributing to the family.
Mealtimes became rituals during which we’d come together as a family and share a common experience. We developed this kitchen tradition to learn about ingredients, preparation techniques, old family recipes and most importantly, each other. This process brought us closer, bridging the gap between generations and creating strong family ties that would last a lifetime.
With families now juggling so many activities and responsibilities, we so easily forget how mealtime can truly bring a sense of family togetherness. Next time you’re planning a family meal, add a child’s favorite dish to the menu and allow them to actively assist with preparation. Whether it’s washing lettuce or stirring a simmering sauce pan, getting the family involved will not only teach them useful skills in the kitchen, it’ll also bring them closer together in a way that only family mealtime can.
Does your family have a favorite meal you enjoy preparing together?
Brian Azzarello wrote this post for Together Counts on behalf of Edelman Digital and loves meal time.