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The B4FD Project features blog posts from guest writers that explore the far-reaching benefits of family dinner.

Family Dinner Month 2012: Sept 17 -- Oct 29, 2012

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All Kinds of Families and Family Dinner

by Grace Freedman

This month at Blog for Family Dinner, we explore the concept of “family” as we celebrate the importance of communal dinner rituals for everyone. Although the stereotype of family dinner usually involves two parents and all the kids sitting around the table, we know that this is not the reality for many families, even so-called “traditional” families. Obviously single parents can be committed to family dinner as can parents where only one of them is typically home for the evening meal. Family can be committed life partners, newlyweds or empty nesters; you certainly don’t need children to be a family. Family can be dependent on your stage in life or even your geographic distance from blood relatives; the “closest thing” to family might be your  roommates, your friends, the members of your church or synagogue or your neighbors. Family, in its most inclusive form, can be “the people who sit at your table.” Breaking bread with other people on a regular basis, whether those people are strictly ”family” or not, is rewarding, fulfilling and important. At Blog for Family Dinner, we want to recognize and celebrate that and all month we will have posts on the theme, “All Kinds of Families and Family Dinner.”

Last year, Adriana Velez wrote about “The New Family Dinner” on Civil Eats and in the article, our B4FD co-founder Billy Mawhiney’s words sum it up best. (It also portrays how his organization Time at the Table “walks the walk” on reaching out to all kinds of families.)

“The idea of family is open to interpretation. Family is what you mean in your heart,” Bill says, and he would know. For three years he was a guardian to a troubled teen, now 22 and living independently…. [Time at the Table] is especially interested in reaching out to single people with roommates, college students, and single parents.  He recently did a workshop in a Kansas City assisted living space for people with disabilities.” Read more of this article. 

Our call for posts about “All Kinds of Families” generated a wide range of responses. This month, we will feature a family who has “dinner, family style” despite having a child with special needs feeding issues. We also have a post about a group potluck where people regularly cross the great divide of community racism to sit together and learn from each other. We have posts from “quarter-life” cooks, college students, and, a-hem, more mature people who are ready to make new connections. We will feature newlyweds thinking of children that might be and “almost” empty nesters who are re-connecting as a couple over the dinner table.

We hope you enjoy this month’s posts and that they will help us all re-think what family dinner is and can be.

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