Georgie and I have instituted 'Friday Night Dinner" at our house, which consists of a date — not romantic (well, not necessarily), but a commitment to dine together, at the dinner table, without any electronics on, at least on this one night. As often as we can, we share this repast with friends, and look forward to when Joe is part of the tradition — he's a big reason we're doing it.
We have been inspired by my sister's family in Jerusalem, which takes the Sabbath meal much more seriously than we ever will. We aren't drawn to the larger rituals (correction: I'm not), but we do admire the idea of having a committed time to be together, and to be with each other only, without glowing pixels or soundtrack.
When i was growing up, meeting at the dinner table was a requirement, and the only consistent time when the family was together. I remember dinner-table times as among the sweetest times of our rearing. I understand and grant that today's world is quite different. What that means to me, and for us, is that we have to work harder if we want the ties that dining together brings.
So finally, the point of the post: The Family Dining Project, which calls itself "a start-up grassroots movement of food, fun and conversation about things that matter." They offer tips for all three of those elements: recipes that facilitate home-cooked meals for busy families, games families can play (such as "Guess That Ingredient" and "Iron Chef, Family Edition"), and conversation starters. There's also a blog.
Organizers describe themselves thusly:
"We are men and women from a variety of personal and professional backgrounds, brought together by our shared belief in the power of family dinners. We are parents, a grandparent and non-parents, single and married. Our ages range from early 30s to Medicare-eligible. Our collective professional experience includes education, family therapy, conflict resolution, research, food, design, marketing and communication."