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Mumsnet users discuss family mealtime rituals with Uncle Ben's & Dolmio

(313 Posts)
AaronMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 17-May-18 16:19:42

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While some evenings are for a hastily prepared and eaten meal as you taxi your child around to football/ballet/karate, others are for taking the time to share the chopping and stirring, then sit down and enjoy dinner as a family. Family dinners come in all shapes and sizes and can be noisy and often messy affairs - but they’re the perfect opportunity to create family mealtime rituals and spend quality time together.

Uncle Ben’s and Dolmio believe in the power of dinnertime to bring people together:

‘We all know that one of life’s pleasures is to share a meal with family and friends where you can take time to connect with the ones that you love, but in the midweek mayhem it’s not always possible to take time to cook and eat together. We want to hear your stories, what mealtimes in your house are really like, tips and tricks to overcome barriers to a great mid-week dinnertime and the rewards that eating together can bring.’

Did you make your daughter’s first boyfriend sweat over a flaming hot chilli con carne? Is it while your kids help you in the kitchen they have suddenly chosen to open up to you about their feelings, school day, worries or dreams, or did this time together produce a mini Nigella, now boasting cooking skills and flare far beyond what you’ve taught them. Does the dinner table give rise to stage-worthy performances, perhaps an impression of their teacher so legendary that it still leaves you in stitches, even now? Or do you still brag about the famous spaghetti bolognese in which you successfully hid a grand total of four portions of veggies and hit your family’s nutrient quota for the day?

Whatever your meal time wins, and rituals might be, share them below to be entered in to a prize draw to win a £300 voucher of your choice (from a list).

Thanks, and good luck!


Standard Insight T&Cs Apply

BristolMum96 Thu 17-May-18 21:03:10

At the moment due to hard saving to buy our first home, there are no meal time wins or rituals. We shop for offers or in the reduced section and knock up what we can out of it. May not taste great always, but mind the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves. No time or money to be choosy or the world's best chef this year.

Aftereights91 Fri 18-May-18 10:15:12

Our only rituals are that everytime I get food, the toddler steals it

TheWizardofWas Fri 18-May-18 10:19:05

We all cook together on Friday evening - which is a lovely way of starting the weekend. On Sunday we do a roast for DM and all chip in again. Of firm belief that we all need to sit around what we call 'the festive board', to talk, get off devices, be with each other, enjoy food.

HRoosevelt Fri 18-May-18 10:32:40

I hate the overtired , hungry bickering weekday dinners so my tip is to lay out plates of raw or cooked veggies while you're cooking the rest of the food so they're not starving by the time you eat

LorelaiVictoriaGilmore Fri 18-May-18 10:58:56

Friday night kitchen dancing! This started when my sister and I were teenagers. Mum and Dad would have a couple of glasses of wine with dinner and somehow after dinner would start dancing in the kitchen to the tunes of their childhood. Soon, my sister and I started mixing it up with our music. Other family and friends came over on Friday nights and everyone would end up dancing in the kitchen. Those Friday nights are some of my favourite childhood memories.

Goodygoodygumdrops Fri 18-May-18 12:46:20

Mixed family, here. I'm Jewish, dh isn't. On Friday nights, I light the candles and recite the blessings with our dc. We all then say Shabbat Shalom to each other and kiss each other. Dh makes his own, atheist (or possibly humanist) contribution: he wishes us all "A good weekend and a good week", and we respond likewise.

A good way to end the week. smile

Goodygoodygumdrops Fri 18-May-18 12:48:43

I just realised that our mealtime ritual is nothing to do with the food! grin

ThenBellaDidSomethingVeryKind Fri 18-May-18 12:52:23

We try to cook together at least once over the course of the weekend. DD, 10, specialises in starters (crostini, at the moment!) and I try to engage DS in chopping veg in the vain hope he’ll eat some one day!

wanderings Fri 18-May-18 12:58:41

In childhood years, having to sit through long meals hosted by well-to-do French relatives, we as children were trained to say "puis-je me lever de table?" when we wanted to go and play (of course, we must never interrupt anybody to do this).

More recently: not exactly a ritual, but a very memorable meal: just after some very long months of building work which had taken much longer and cost much more than anticipate), we felt we had to "take possession" of the new space, after we had been confined to a few other rooms for a long time. We had a picnic dinner in one of the new rooms - a cloth on the bare floor, surrounded by unpainted walls, and still a few builders' tools there which they hadn't yet removed, and in candlelight because the electricity hadn't been installed yet.

asuwere Fri 18-May-18 13:12:13

My DC take it in turns to help cook - depending on the meal and the age of the DC, it could be actually helping with the cooking, dishing, putting salad on plates or setting the table. It's nice for them to learn what's involved, gives them some responsibility and some one-on-one time with me. It's nice!

MargoLovebutter Fri 18-May-18 14:05:30

Friday Dinner. It is the best meal of the week. Me and the DC always have something special - usually a curry or thai from M&S, so that I don't have to cook. When they were younger, I'd get a bottle of fizzy elderflower and we'd have 'Friday Fizz', now they're nearly grown up, I get a bottle of prosecco and we have proper fizz and we all have a chat about the week, have a laugh, mull over all the news from school, work, even the real world sometimes etc. Even if one of us is going out, we try to have Friday Dinner all together first.

kateandme Fri 18-May-18 15:48:52

sit down and have meal together.there is no such things as not having enough time if it become something done from the start.then life worsk around you not the other way round.and the evening meal just becomes standard.or mosrly so anyway.obvious exceptions do happen of course.
you might argue or laugh or cry or be silent but those family meals are so important.
weve got one of those old cow bells we ring when teas ready and the feet come rumbling!
it doesn't matter what you call it what you make for cost or all cost just having that time when the table is laid for tea helps.
take it in turns to lay the table.
ask what the kdis want.give choices if you can.
choose recipes to cook together.
fish and chip Friday.
teach them.get them involved with tasting.adding.trying.learning.
don't make a rigid ll never stick with it and someone will always be doing it at a better time lol.

Gazelda Fri 18-May-18 16:33:45

We try to sit down together as a family for our evening meal. Other than that, our only ritual is that we have pancakes in bed on each of our birthdays.

MrsFrTedCrilly Fri 18-May-18 16:39:13

Our favourite family meals are the ones where the kids are involved in the preparation, even it’s something as basic as stirring a saucepan dd will then think that she has cooked the meal and will eat it! Meals where no one complains about what’s on offer are the best...and most infrequent type in our home

sharond101 Fri 18-May-18 17:06:38

I do alot of prep in advance so dinners are quick and stress free. We eat as a family and when the weather allows always eat outside. We always chat about our day and live to eat out often too.

jacqui5366 Fri 18-May-18 17:17:50

My favourite meal is 'mums special mince' so it's chopped yellow and red bell peppers, chopped red onion, diced carrot, fried with mince and a tin of chopped tomatoes, when it's simmered for an hour, the veggies are soft and tasty, and served with Uncle Ben's golden vegetarian rice make a super tea. They are getting a colourful meal and their 5 a day.

daniel1996 Fri 18-May-18 17:22:35

We have fajita Fridays where I make the sizzling chicken treat,I can add as many vegetables as I can (peppers, and spiralised veg too), warm the tacos on the microwave, and with Uncle Ben's long grain rice, makes a filling quick and fun tea.

bridgetosomewhere Fri 18-May-18 18:21:39

Friday tea times we have an informal tea and watch our favourite programme - 1980s gladiators!

The kids have a little table in the living room to eat at and we have lap trays. It’s kids choice for their tea as well on a Friday so they always look forward to it!

Everyone always ends up shouting at the tv then cuddling up after to watch the finals. It’s good fun.

NeverTwerkNaked Fri 18-May-18 18:24:12

Favourite family meals are things like fajitas - where lots of different ingredients are put out and everyone can build their own to their own preferences. That way it feels like we are all eating the same meal but the varying tastes of different family members are accommodated.

Crumble67 Fri 18-May-18 20:22:42

Our family always eat dinner together around the kitchen table with no devices on. It is fun to get the kids involved with cooking the dinner and getting them used to different ingredients and how they can all work together. One of our latest favourites is spicy rice, which involves cooking up some fresh peppers, onion, mushrooms and garlic then adding some curry powder or spices and chilli, then adding rice. It is a fab one pot filling meal that we all enjoy and can be adapted. It is really good with Chorizo or a bit of leftover chicken and my DC's love to make this with me.

IrisApfelRocks Fri 18-May-18 21:08:46

Dinner is a great time for my family to come together to tell each other exactly what is wrong with the meal I made

wontbedoingthat Fri 18-May-18 21:15:51

We currently have 3 small children, so the only constant is the extensive clean up afterwards. I am hopeful that this is a ritual that we will move on from. Looking forward to chats about what's happened in the day instead of hearing about how much dinner dropping off the spoon looks like poo.

LynetteScavo Fri 18-May-18 21:33:37

When my DC were small I always expected them to say "Thank you for my lovely the, please may I get down?" Before leaving the table.

Now, even though they teenagers who can be very grumpy, and utter litter more than a grunt during an entire meal...they still always say "Thank you for a lovely lunch/tea/diner" at the end of ever meal without fail. Even if they hated my latest kale creation.

del2929 Fri 18-May-18 23:48:20

i guess the only ritual i can think of is the children laying the table which almost always ends up with 3 bickering kids and one stressed out mummy.

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