Nothing beats enjoying a good meal with your family, whether it’s in your kitchen, at a restaurant, or on your patio. When was the last time you and your family sat down to eat a meal together? If it’s been a while, here are some ideas for bringing everyone together for a delicious meal and quality time.
1. Host a backyard barbecue
Who doesn’t like a good backyard barbecue? Whether you’re a meat-eater or a vegetarian, just about everything tastes good on the barbecue: hamburgers, hot dogs, potatoes, veggie skewers, and anything else you can wrap in foil or grill naked.
To bring people together, host a backyard barbecue and let everyone pick at least one food item to put on the menu. You can make it a potluck and have each person bring their own contribution, or you can just buy everything yourself.
Although most of the focus will be on food, be sure to stock some ice coolers with beverages, snacks, and desserts. Don’t forget the beer!
Plan on everyone hanging out a little bit after dinner so you can talk to each other to see what’s going on in everyone’s world. People are often busy and overwhelmed with work and don’t get much time to really have meaningful conversations. To make the night feel cozy, get a fire going in a chiminea from the eFireplaceStore. People love connecting over fires, and it might help everyone open up a little more.
2. Host a proper 3-course meal
Would your family know what to do with two forks, two spoons, and three plates? If not, take the opportunity to host a proper 3-course meal. It will be an experience they’ll never forget.
Planning a 3-course meal is easy once you learn the basics for setting the table. You’ve probably seen it done at restaurants, but don’t rely on your memory. Reference this guide from Real Simple to learn how to set a table for casual and formal meals.
To plan your experience, choose your courses; you’ll need an appetizer, a main course, and a dessert. You can stick with dishes you know how to make, but you’ll have a better meal if you make something new that everyone will enjoy.
When hosting a 3-course meal for your family, be sure to choose a theme. The theme can be cultural. For example, you can make traditional Thai food or go with a cooking style theme like fried foods. If you stick with fried foods, you’ll want to find a dessert that can be fried like apple turnovers or even fried ice cream.
3. Get your whole family involved in making the meal
Sometimes it’s hard to cook with too many people in the kitchen, but make an exception to get everyone involved in making a family meal. Depending on how many people are in your family, you might need to set up teams to make each part of the meal. For example, if you have ten people in your family, you won’t have time to make ten separate dishes. Have a few people team up to make each course.
If you have kids, have them make a dish as well. Kids love baking cookies, making banana bread, and other treats they can snack on during the process. If you don’t want the mess, get some basic frosted cookies from the grocery store and have your kids decorate the cookies with icing.
There’s something special about preparing a meal with others. Each family member who contributes to the meal will feel great about their contribution. Family-made meals are also tastier than meals made according to routine.
4. Ban cell phones, tablets, and other devices
The best way to enjoy a family meal is to ban devices at the dinner table. While some people stack their phones in the middle of the table and penalize the first person who grabs their phone, they don’t even allow devices in the dining room. Require everyone to leave their devices in their bedroom with the ringer turned off.
People have become addicted to their cellphones mostly because of social media apps. Social media apps deliver a constant flow of notifications for messages, posts, and comments, and that gives people a big hit of dopamine. It’s physically addicting. However, it’s time to bring people together without the distractions of social media. If you can get everyone to focus on each other rather than their devices, everyone will have a better time.
Unless someone in your family is an on-duty police officer or first responder, there’s no reason they can’t enjoy a meal at the dinner table with family and let their calls and messages go unanswered. Technology limits are important. Tech has no place at the dinner table.
5. Order takeout from your family’s favorite restaurant
You don’t have to cook to enjoy a good meal with your family. Take a poll and see what restaurant everyone prefers. If there’s a tie, settle on one or two restaurants that are reasonably close to each other.
If nobody can agree on what foods to get, plan on creating a smorgasbord of food from a handful of restaurants so that everyone is happy. However, to make it fair, have each adult share the chore of picking up the food.
If you get takeout, make sure you get paper plates and disposable silverware. It’s pretty much guaranteed that nobody will want to do the dishes after your party.
Pull up the menus online and order a variety for pick-up or use a service like GrubHub. You’ll get to enjoy a good meal with your family at home, and you won’t have to wash any dishes.
Family meals are worth planning
If you’re used to rushing around to make a basic dinner at the last minute, consider planning a good family meal that will bring everyone together. You don’t have to plan an extravagant meal, but it’s worth taking the time to create a delicious meal you can enjoy with your family.