The Importance of the Family Dinner Table

by Leanne Ely

"Dinner! Come to the table!"

Do you remember your mom hollering that very statement when you were a kid? Do you remember running down the stairs to familiar smells and rushing to take your place at the table?

The family dinner table is a place of communion, fellowship and a means of reconnecting with those we care about the most. Over a simple dinner of scrambled eggs or more elaborate family fare of meatloaf and mashed potatoes, important stuff happens. Relationships are realigned, the news of the day is exchanged and coming events are discussed. More importantly, memories are made for both adults and children. One day, your child will look back on all those dinners around the family table with fondness. One day, you will look back wistfully, actually missing the chaos of trying to get everyone to the table while the meal was still hot!

Unfortunately, today's family dinner table is all but missing from the home. We have sacrificed our family table for all manner of activities and way too often, our meals are situated around the blue glow of the family television. Conversation is limited to pass the salt and stony silence while the blare of TV fills the room.

But actually making the meals is a big issue, too. Women are busy, tired, exhausted and overwhelmed with responsibility. Mom works hard at the job or at home all day. Making menus to post on the refrigerator doesn't happen anymore because there is "no time". Going to the grocery store usually means going without a list and throwing a bunch of prepackaged stuff into the cart because dinner needs to be easy and fast.

The simple practice of making a menu each week will not only help you provide some structure to the family dinner hour, but also will save you a lot of money on your food budget. A simple thing like keeping a running grocery list on the fridge will help you avoid last minute trips to the grocery store. Your family will be eating healthier and you won't be as stressed out because you know what's for dinner Tuesday night. And while you might not be able to pull of a Norman Rockwell picture perfect family dinner every night, I bet you could do it at least one night a week.

Menus aren't just for restaurants. They deserved a special place of honor on every family's fridge.

Leanne Ely is a New York Times best selling author of Body Clutter and the popular Saving Dinner cookbook series. According to Woman's Day Magazine, she is the expert on family cooking.

Leanne's syndicated newspaper column, The Dinner Diva can be found in 250 newspapers nationwide and in Canada. Her vast broadcast experience includes media satellite tours, QVC several times as well as guesting on several national television shows, including HGTV's Simple Solutions, ABC Family's Living the Life, Ivanhoe's Smart Woman, Small Talk for Parents and Talk of the Town. She has guest chef-ed on the cooking show, Carolina Cooks and has taught cooking classes all over the country for Bloomingdale's.

In addition, she is a seasoned radio personality. Leanne's own radio show, Heart of A Woman aired during drive time in two major California markets, Los Angeles and San Diego. Her current show, The Dinner Diva is one of the top Blog Talk Radio shows on the Internet.

On the Internet, she pens the Food for Thought column for the immensely popular,, with over half a million readers weekly. She has been featured in Woman's Day magazine, the Chicago Tribune, St. Petersburg Times, Orange County Register - to name a few. Additionally, she is a sought after speaker and has spoken all over the country, with keynote addresses to corporate and non-profit entities. Visit Leanne Ely on Google+.

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