Of sharing meals and swapping stories

April 7, 2024

Of sharing meals and swapping stories


n the ever-spinning wheel of time, where the rush of life seems to consume us, the once-cherished tradition of family meals has been swept away like autumn leaves in a brisk wind. We, the denizens of the digital age, find ourselves in a web of convenience and individualism and have forsaken communal dining in pursuit of instant gratification.

I can’t help but feel nostalgic about the simpler times when the clatter of cutlery and the hearty laughter of loved ones filled the air around the dining table. The lone television set in the living room brought us together like moths to a flame, ensuring that we were all in one another’s company.

The times have changed. Today, we find ourselves scattered like fallen leaves, each member of the family marching to the beat of their own drum. Gen Z, with their insatiable appetite for novelty and adventure, prefer to dine out with friends at trendy restaurants, indulging in exotic cuisines and Instagram-worthy dishes. Caught in the relentless grind of modern life, those older to them grab a quick meal on the go as their busy schedules leaving little time for leisurely dining.

The once-sacred ritual of family meals has been relegated to rare occasions like birthdays and Eid holidays. It’s a sobering realisation. Breaking bread together has long been hailed as a cornerstone of familial unity and cohesion.

Repercussions of this irreversible shift in our eating habits extend far beyond sentimental burden. Most mothers find themselves burdened with the Herculean task of catering to the individual preferences and schedules of each family member. Gone are the days of preparing a single meal for the entire brood; now, it’s a juggling act of epic proportions, as they strive to appease picky eaters, accommodate late-night snackers and ensure that the elders are properly nourished.

Let’s not overlook the toll it’s taking on our health. With the rise of fast-food culture and on-the-go dining, we’ve become accustomed to prioritising convenience over nutrition. Skipping meals altogether as we chase after the elusive ideals of productivity and efficiency has become almost a norm.

At what cost? We’ve lost sight of the simple joys of sitting down together as a family, sharing a meal and swapping stories. We’ve forgotten the power of food to nourish not only our bodies but our souls as well. It’s time to reclaim that lost tradition, to carve out moments of togetherness amidst the chaos of modern life.

Let’s put down our smartphones for once, turn off the television and once again gather around the table. Let’s savour the simple pleasure of breaking bread together and rediscover the magic of family meals. In a world that’s constantly pulling us apart, it’s more important than ever to come together and nourish the bonds that bind us.

Let’s make a pact to make family meals a priority once again, for the sake of our health, our happiness and our collective well-being.

As we strive to revive familial dining, we must also confront the societal forces that have conspired to erode this time-honoured tradition. The relentless march of progress, with its insistent pursuit of efficiency and convenience, has left little room for the slow, deliberate act of sharing a meal with our loved ones. We’ve become slaves to our own busyness, rushing from one obligation to the next without stopping to savour the simple pleasures of life.

The writer is the head of content at a communications agency

Of sharing meals and swapping stories