Around the Family Table - A Sheep in Wolf's Clothing?

Laurie David, the producer of "An Inconvenient Truth," is out with a new book - "The Family Dinner: Great Ways to Connect with Your Kids, One Meal at a Time." I've never seen the movie, haven't read the book, and don't have kids...but it interested me nonetheless, especially when I saw all the comments sparked on the Huffington Post article announcing their new Friday night Family Dinner Downloads - oh, yes, they will provide ALL the materials needed to make a perfect family dinner and dynamic - the recipes, the tips, the questions and topics. Given the perfect set-up, a perfect family follows, right?

So it made me wonder, who is the "they" that flies so easily off my tongue.

Well, looking at her Bio, I found out that Laurie David had a hand in Ideal Bite! Never head of it? It used to be a daily email that arrived in my inbox, very chic and cute, giving tips and reasons for going green. I loved it and missed it when it stopped coming. It got turned over to Disney Family and the Ideal Bite that I liked disappeared.

Please don't do this to family dinners. They don't have to fit a formula. Both the Arianna Huffington and Laurie David expostulate this as well, that it can be simple food and the important part is sitting around together talking and eating and sharing. But as written, it comes off to me more as a disclaimer. Anyone can do it! Just to make sure, we'll sell it to you by telling you exactly how to do it, so you don't mess up. We've got your back.

Plus, both use generalizations of the days past when everything was rosy and families sat down to dinner together, and use experiences from their own pasts to illustrate the point. It's a 'what we and our families did right, and the rest of America is doing wrong.' Is this the only difference between their families and the families sitting in the middle or low-income class brackets? I highly doubt it. So where's the methodology behind the reasoning that family dinners will solve all a family's problems?

Where are we? Evidently still in a U.S. where access to big names (which are in abundance in the book) and big money can give you an opportunity to turn your everyday experiences and ideas into more money and big names. Now I love trashy reality tv shows, but that's what they are. What is this? Is it really part of the rumblings of the push for a food revolution in the U.S.? I suppose I'll have to read the book to find out. However, unless my library gets it, I'm not going to have a chance. Nope, I'm not buying this one. While I agree with the general theory behind it, heck, I even did a research project on the folklore and importance of food preparation and family dinners, too much surrounding it smacks of an elitist enlightenment that makes me want to vomit last night's dinner. Is there a chapter on cleaning it up?

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