French can be grumpy and rebel but one thing they do well is conviviality. We love our long Sunday lunches with more food than needed but the amount of dishes being served is directly linked to the time we sit around the table, so the more the merrier. We love the talks, the arguments, the different views that come with generations, the youngest always so sure that they know it better and still full of that “fighting fire” wanting to create a better world. We love the food and the wines that go with it, not too much though just enough to enhance what is in your plate and let that tiny bit of reserve, if any, disappear.
Sitting around a meal is in our genes, French kids still have a 2 hour lunch break at school so they may come home for a proper meal, have that break and return to learning reenergised. if you work close enough you come back home for lunch when possible. And if you can’t you go out to a restaurant with friends or colleagues. It seems that relaxing around food is a great way for us to express what we feel and think.
At home everyone knows that if they have something to say it will be heard at dinner time. Growing up in such a way gives a chance to children, even the shyest ones, to tell what happened in their day, to share a concern or simply to belong. It is not about gender, not about age, it is about being part of a family, always knowing that someone will be there to listen to you, to comfort you or even to challenge your ideas and that is what life is about… isn’t it…
So if it isn’t something you do already try to make it a priority, set a pretty table, involve your kids in picking and setting, let them be creative. Use everything you have don’t leave things looking pretty in cupboards while you could enjoy them on a regular basis. I am sure you all agree that a pretty table is more enticing than anything, and pretty could just mean fun or the feel of the moment. It is all about anticipation, what we are going to eat, what happened to Mum and Dad or to the other siblings today, what will we do for the weekend or next holidays, that bit in the news that was frustrating or so great.
Let’s have discussions, let our kids grow a sense of justice, a sense of humour, a sense of repartee, let’s give them the opportunity to BE!
Photo from "Loulou" French movie 1980