Today, being the fourth Monday in September (for 2022), is National Family Day; which promotes making and sharing meals together, as well as family bonding around the kitchen table, according to NationalDayCalendar.com.
Furthermore, they claim that when parents engage with their children over a meal, their relationships greatly improve. It’s an opportunity for children to learn about responsibilities in preparing meals, setting the table, and cleaning up. It helps in making them feel like they’re part of a team. By the way, September is also Self-Improvement Month!
It’s widely believed that when family meals are prepared and eaten together, it provides a vast amount of opportunities for strengthening bonds, building better relationships, and creating a sense of belonging, all of which leads to better self-esteem.
As I’ve described in many other blog posts, when my siblings and I were growing up, Mom always made our meals family-style. Everyone sat together, at the same time, talking about our days while passing the serving dishes around the table, and occasionally elbowing or kicking each other when Mom and Dad weren’t looking.
We’re far from being like the Brady Bunch or Walton’s family. Nonetheless, we always ate together. Basically because that’s when the meal was served. Mom always reminded us that the kitchen wasn’t a restaurant, where you could drop in any time and place an order for whatever you’d like.
In our household, we ate what was made and when it was served, or we might have to go hungry until the next meal. However, I can’t remember any of us willing to miss one of Mom’s meals, anyway; so that was never really an issue in our household.
Mom would always joke, in her many editorials, about being a bad cook. However, long before she became famous for being the Secret RecipesTM Detective, she was already a great cook in our house! I’m grateful for all she’s taught me.
There was a time, pre-Covid-19, when most average families led busy lifestyles, with both parents working outside the home and the kid’s having after school activities and weekend sports; making it very difficult to eat just one meal together, let alone three.
Then the pandemic struck and, unexpectedly, families were, more or less, confined together, 24/7 for many months – all the meals and everything else in between, as well! Our homes suddenly became central hubs, encompassing the office, school, library, gym, salon, cinema, diner, bar and so much more!
‘The divine principle of good cooking is not a secret! It is taking pleasure in the activity; in the information previously retained and called upon through the facilities of memory. The spirit of good cooking is individualistic. It is not shrouded in mystery – but in love, for what you are doing and for whom you are doing it!’ – Gloria Pitzer [As seen on the front page of the 128th issue of Gloria Pitzer’s Secret Recipes Newsletter (Sep-Oct 1987).]
FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…
As seen in…
Gloria Pitzer’s Reliable Recipes For Reluctant Cooks (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Oct. 1983, p.6)
COOKING IS MORE THAN TURNING ON THE STOVE – IT’S PLEASING PEOPLE!
AS OFTEN AS WE PUT things off, in life, it’s a shame that we don’t care more about the ‘now’, the ‘todays’, the here-I-am and here-you-are, and what can we do for each other to make things as good as possible for [both of] us! I know! There are people who can’t be bothered with such nonsense. They have jobs to work and bills to pay, things to worry about and goals to achieve.
‘If you’re going to talk about cooking and foods… what are you going off on tangents for, talking about people and their feelings?’
This is a question I’ve been asked over and over by inquiring reporters, wanting to know why we’re successful at what we do, why people go to such trouble to locate us and order our books! I think they answer their own question. Don’t you?
After all, cooking is not for robots! The way we present our food to those who share our table with us takes into account more than plopping the pot roast onto a platter and announcing, ‘supper’s ready!’ Is that where it ends? When a meal is presented, there are many considerations for the cook.
Besides the balance, nutritionally, there’s the effort to please those who will hopefully enjoy the food. And trying to please those you’re feeding is a direct appeal, a definite effort, to consider someone’s feelings, the feelings of enjoyment and consequently of approval – approval of the food and… the one who prepared it.
Every day, the homemaker, with a family to feed, meets the challenge of proving they can be proficient, both, in the selections of foods, [as well as] the preparation and presentation of it and the management of the cost.
Cooking is more than turning on the stove and opening the refrigerator. It’s pleasing people! It’s caring about what they might like to eat. It’s doing your best to prepare and present the dishes so that mealtime is not just a daily routine – but an occasion.
The cookbook industry has offended us… as if the recipes were designed for mindless bodies – not for folks with feelings! Food fanatics continue to advise us on how to feed the body while we let the famished affections go hungry.
The critics’ smoking guns right now are aimed at curing physical maladies with food administered medicinally. Food, as medication, is used as both a preservative and a cure. But what heals the broken spirit – the sensitive, the distressed, the lonely, the shy and withdrawn?
It takes more than adequate fiber intake; minimum daily nutritional needs being filled to cure the body of ills created by stress and anguish. It takes loving, caring and being loved and cared about in return!
SunshineClinic.org’s blog, Five Steps To Strengthen Family Relationships, (author/date unknown) nails a lot of great points about the importance of family bonding. I also like what Lindsey Veeh suggests in her timeless article, 6 Ways To Bring Your Family Closer Together (June 3, 2013). She suggests, “Make Sunday night family night. Invite extended family over to promote bonding with grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and other relatives.”
There are other great family bonding activities besides cooking and eating together. Have a family game night or movie night. Go for a walk together. Do volunteer work as a family unit. Write your family story, with everyone contributing their favorite memories! Any time spent together, bonding and enjoying each other’s company, is priceless.
‘THE TOTAL OF LIFE is measured by the good we do. It is our cherished hope that every branch of our family tree will bear luscious fruit that will enrich mankind and make the world a better place.’ – Gloria Pitzer, This is not a Cook Book! It’s Gloria Pitzer’s Food for Thought (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Oct. 1986, p. 23)
In honor of TODAY, being National Dumpling Day and National Pancake Day, here is Mom’s secret recipes for “Beer Batter – Pancakes & Dumplings”; as seen in… Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; Jan. 2018, p. 114). [A revised reprint of Gloria Pitzer’s Better Cookery Cookbook (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; May 1983, 3rd Edition)].
P.S. Food-for-thought until we meet again, next Monday…
September’s observances include: Better Breakfast Month, Little League Month, National Americana Month, National Blueberry Popsicle Month, National Chicken Month, National Courtesy Month, National Honey Month, National Italian Cheese Month, National Library Card Sign Up Month, National Mushroom Month, National Potato Month, National Rice Month, National Sewing Month, Self-Improvement Month, and Whole Grains Month!
Today is also… National Johnny Appleseed Day!
September 28th is… National Drink Beer Day, National Good Neighbor Day (which used to be on the 4th Sunday), National Strawberry Cream Pie Day, and National North Carolina Day! Plus, as the last Wednesday in September (for 2022), it’s also… National Women’s Health & Fitness Day!
Thursday, September 29th is… National Coffee Day!
Saturday is the start of October, which observes, among other things (as pictured below):
[October is also the anniversary of Mom’s FIRST appearance on the Kelly & Company show, in Detroit (1990).]
October 1st is… National Homemade Cookies Day! Plus, as the first Saturday of October (for 2022), it’s also… National Play Outside Day, which is the first Saturday of every month. The week of October 1st is also… Active Aging Week. Additionally, it’s… the start of the National Christmas Seal Campaign (which always runs Oct. 1st to Dec. 31st).
…39 down and 13 to go!