Q&A: Laurie David on the Importance of Sharing a Meal Q&A: Laurie David on the Importance of Sharing a Meal

Q&A: Laurie David on the Importance of Sharing a Meal

by Amanda M. Fairbanks

November 20, 2010

Are shared meals with friends and family a regular part of your life? If you're anything like most of us, the answer is likely no. Laurie David, environmental activist and an ex-wife of Larry David, is hoping to change that with a new book called The Family Dinner. Part-cookbook, part-shared meal bible, it chronicles her family's relationship to the lost art of eating together and offers tips for how the rest of us might make shared meals more of a routine.
GOOD: Are you a good cook?

LD: I definitely have to follow recipes. I’m not someone who can invent recipes and I almost always leave out an ingredient. But I love to cook and I love everything about cooking, love the smells in the house, love creating the mood, love having guests over.

GOOD: Tell us about family dinner after divorce.

LD: Here’s the thing, more than half of all marriages end in divorce. When parents split up, people stop doing rituals, everyone's hurt, everyone's a mess. It's also the time families need rituals more than ever before. Family dinners got us through that miserable time and even got my ex-husband back to the table. Now we eat together as a family every other week.

GOOD: Your rituals include: Meatless Mondays, Taco Tuesdays, Shabbat Friday, and "If It's Sunday, We Must Be Eating Chinese Takeout." What's your biggest tip for starting the ritual of a shared meal besides setting a regular time and drinking tap (versus bottled) water?

LD: The most important thing about the shared meal is sitting down. Your meal can be soup and a salad, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches—not three courses and a homemade crumble from the oven. Or do ritual lunches or ritual breakfasts. The single most important thing is the yact of sitting down and talking. No screens, no phone, no TV. Your brain needs the rest. And after dinner, everyone can go back to doing their solitary thing.

Author photo credit: Maryellen Baker. 

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Q&A: Laurie David on the Importance of Sharing a Meal