Getting the family together for dinner is no easy task. From sports and activities to incessant emails and work demands, it can be hard for one person to slow down and eat, let alone coordinate multiple people sitting down together. But there is something powerful that happens when friends, family or teammates share a meal together. You are able to share what is going on and connect with one another. Brooke Griffin and Melissa d’Arabian know the power of meal time. Griffin was a former NFL Cheerleader and Fitness Universe Champion. She is the author of Skinny Suppers, a cookbook, with quick, healthy recipes to inspire family and friends to gather around the dinner table. d’Arabian is Food Network Star’s fifth season winner, author and mom to four. We interviewed them and asked how meals have the ability to bring people together and how they practically do it with busy families.
Griffin shares how meals have the power to bring people together and her hope for her cookbook.
“I grew up in the south and had the privilege of living next door to my granny. She would cook for my entire family. I can remember squeezing into her country kitchen and having this great meal and we would share memories with each other. We would have conversations and discussions about each other’s lives. I knew that when I was in the process of writing this cookbook I wanted my family and son to have a reason to get together; good food. I wanted to make sure we could share conversation and know what was going on in each other’s lives and pray for each other. I hope that is what this book does. Yes, you will have good meals, the recipes are delicious, but I hope that it encourages families to turn off the TV, and all the other electronics, and have a conversation and create memories.”
d’Arabian shares why she feels eating dinner together as a family is more than just a meal, it is a time for family connection. She encourages other moms who want this but might not feel likes its achievable.
“As moms, I think we are really hard on ourselves as a group. I think there is this tendency to think, “If I can’t do it perfectly, then I’m not going to do at all.” And I’m here to say, “Do it imperfectly.” If it seems overwhelming to get a cookbook and cook a dinner every single night, then take baby steps. Order your pizza. But maybe you sit down and have your pizza at the dinner table together instead of in front of the television. Get into the habit of the dinner table first, without worrying so much about what you are serving. I know it sounds like the opposite of what a food person would say. I believe that if I have to choose between the people around the table or the food that’s on it, I would choose the people.
It’s amazing how once you get in the habit of having family sit around the dinner table, then you’ll find a way to toss something into the slow cooker, as I have mine going right now since we’re interviewing and I won’t have that much time to make dinner. It will be a simple dinner, nothing fancy. But that’s okay; I’m still going to have dinner with my family. Once you get into the habit of sitting for dinner, then you find the three minutes for the slow cooker. Or maybe on a Sunday, you find an hour of time and think, “I’mmake a roast pork, or roast chicken and freeze half of it. Or I’ll make a lasagna.” Then next thing you know you have some leftovers in your freezer you can pull out one night. Here’s the thing, and I’ve found this to be true for sort of any endeavor, I think if you take a baby step, that little bit of traction that you create will turn into something much bigger, almost all on it’s own. My experience is that if I take one tiny step toward what I think God wants me to do – as a mom, career person, whatever– I feel like He reaches out and pulls me three steps. So every step I put, I get three more for free. Take the one step. Sitting down at the dinner table will turn into cooking dinner regularly for your family. This is my experience over and over and over again.”
To read our entire interview with Brooke Griffin, click here and to read our entire interview with Melissa d’Arabian, click here.