I grew up eating dinner almost every night, at the dining room table with my family. My parents were flexible and creative and not too tied to "rules" ... except when it came to dinner. The TV was turned off, homework put away, and we all sat down to eat. Dinner usually followed the traditional food pyramid -- a vegetable or salad, a protein, and some carbs.
Mom didn't do frozen or fast food. She Cooked, with a capital "C." Which meant our food was fresh and usually pretty healthy (although there was the occasional Domino's pizza, of course). I never understood, until I moved out of my parents' home, how critical that dining room table was.
For years, I lived in apartments that I considered too small to accommodate a dining room table. I ate sitting on the couch, resting a plate on my knees, my glass of water on the coffee table. The TV? On.
Then, close to two years ago, I moved into an apartment with an actual area that could be considered a dining room. I bought a small table and four chairs. And then, suddenly, dinner changed. I started Cooking more and reheating less. I started planning full-blown meals rather than just bowls of pasta. I started making the farmer's market a regular part of my week, and buying organic whenever possible.
Can I attribute all of this to having a dining room table? No. It also coincided with my move to Berkeley, Ca, a community that values very few things more than fresh, local, organic food. However, the dining room table is a big piece of the puzzle -- sitting down, purposefully, with my partner almost every evening as part of our daily routine has changed (or, rather, repaired) my relationship with dinner.
Do you feel the same way about your dining room table? Have you had a similar experience? How important is sitting down for dinner -- and do you consider it part of a green lifestyle?
image via lotusutol; Flickr.com