Sunday, October 21, 2007

Dinner Stories

In France the average family dinner lasts something like 60 minutes. When I first heard this, I started keeping my eye on the clock. Could we even make it to 30 minutes? Could we be maybe 1/2 of the way toward being like French people?

It's hard, especially when you have young Ann-Margret-in-the-making, standing up in her chair, rocking the house instead of focusing on eating her beans. I don't keep my eye on the clock anymore, but I do always try to make dinner last longer. It's like, this is it. This is our time together. One of the best ways to keep my kids focused on the table is to tell stories, and one of the best kinds of stories to tell at dinnertime are food stories.

This is our parsley story: When my mom was little, her neighbors had a parsley patch. When she was a little girl, she used to sneak through the hedge and sit in the neighbors' parsley patch, nibbling on parsley. Sometimes she sat there for so long and so quietly, rabbits came up to her. Rabbits love parsley! And it makes your breath smell good!

That's it, that's the parsley story. My son loves this story and wants to hear it every time we have parsley on the table, which he likes to nibble raw, like a rabbit. I swear it was the story that made him love parsley.

Food stories are a great way to make the acquaintence of a new food, and just to keep kids at the table for longer. Plus, times have changed. We're the old fogies now, who used to go fishing for food, and get mussells for dinner at the beach, and buy Grape Ne-Hi's for a nickel out of old-fashioned soda machines that had the glass door that opened up and you pulled the soda bottle out of the shelf (we really did, in North Carolina, with my grandfather). Everyone has some kind of obsolete food story by now.

Make dinner last longer! Tell Food Stories!

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