Monday: Shredded Beef Tostadas
Reflections from the Backcounter
Children thrive on routine. All mothers learn (some earlier than others) that a bedtime routine benefits mother and child. A household that has a predictable rhythm provides children with a sense of security and a center. As children get older it becomes much harder to enforce routines. Each family member may be running on a different calendar, after school activities often conflict with dinnertime and homework can keep a teen up until the wee hours of the morning .
The family dinner is an opportunity to bring the family together in a relaxed and comfortable environment. Coming together over a meal encourages communication and bonding between siblings as well as parents and children. As idealistic and appealing a family dinner routine is to those of us who were raised on the June Cleaver pearls for dinner model of the perfect family, such a simple concept is in practical terms often "nigh on impossible.!" The challenge of getting everyone in the same place at the same time is daunting.
One solution is again, the use of the Backcounter Buffet. Setting up the food and utilizing the countertop near the stove to layout the dishes, silverware, napkins and cold dishes allows the hot dishes to remain on the stove for easy serving. A meal prepared like this can be served in shifts and usually keeps well for the few hours that are needed. Although this is not the classic meal ,served June Cleaver style, I believe that it still conveys to my children the importance of a healthy meal and the importance of making an effort at making dinnertime special family time.
Simple additions can add a special feel. Tonight was Cinco de Mayo and so we had a Mexican themed meal served on the kitchen table which was covered in a Mexican serape. One simple item added a festive feel to the meal and was enjoyed by all.
Stay strong and continue to plan for meals and to celebrate the rituals associated with the non traditional holidays. These traditions can form a strong thread in the fabric of your children's lives.