FOULDS: Breaking bread together can change lives

There will be many leafs pulled out of storage this weekend, dusted off and inserted into numerous tables across Kamloops as families feast on Easter dinner.

(And if the only leaf you know is wearing a jersey and battling the Bruins in the playoffs, then the rarity of the subject of this column has been established).

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Not since Christmas have so many turkeys and stuffing and mashed potatoes been prepared.

And not since Christmas have so many families actually set aside their cellphones long enough to sit down with one another and use their thumbs for something other than texting a message.

Yes, Easter is a time for family dinners. As is Christmas. And Thanksgiving.

And that’s about it.

It may be that our memories of life back in the good old days are more idealized that factual, but I certainly recall, at least until my early teens, dinner being dinner, at precisely six o’clock each evening.

Everyone was at the table in the kitchen, with Tony Parsons, Norm Grohmann and Bernie Pascall’s voices wafting in from the living room TV, telling us the news, weather and sports of the day.

I know this because I am still squinting from the blinding sun that shone directly through the kitchen window and into my eyes as I ate.

I still wonder why mom or dad never bothered to reach over and close the orange and brown curtains that epitomized chic kitchen fashion in Abbotsford circa the 1970s.

I know this because I can still taste the liver and onions that occasionally appeared on the dinner menu like a terrifying nightmare.

I know this because I can still taste the liver and onions that became breakfast when we gagged our way through dinner and could not finish that vile meal.

(If you were hungry in the Foulds abode, you ate what was placed in front of you, if not for dinner, then for breakfast, lunch or the next day’s dinner. After all, there were children starving in China.)

But at least there were meals, usually eaten together at a table.

Nowadays? Not so much.

This is why we have the Hands-on Cook-off Contest, which began this week for the 10th consecutive year.

The contest, which can be found online at, challenges families across the province to cook and eat together each evening until May 15, with the ultimate goal of promoting the family dinner movement in B.C.

The contest was created back in 2009 to promote the benefits of cooking and eating together — and the benefits, particularly to kids and teens, are staggering.

According to a wide array of studies, regularly eating dinner together as a family can lead to better grades, better diets and better behaviour, and to less use of alcohol, drugs and alcohol and decreased chance of depression.

It seems eating together as a family is a miracle cure for so much.

Don’t be surprised to find studies that show a four-course meal with your clan can eliminate your allergies, give your kids natural immunity against measles and bring the Cup to Toronto.

But these benefits come with a caveat, according to the Ministry of Health: “The benefits of eating together are greatest if you don’t eat in front of the TV and other screens.”

So, enjoy the feast this weekend and embrace this now unusual custom of sitting together to break bread.

However, even though the Leafs will soon be put away for the season — as they are each April — don’t be too quick to do the same with the leafs.

Perhaps this odd family dinner craze will catch on and we won’t have to wait until Thanksgiving to again break bread with those people in our homes glued to their phones.

Twitter: @ChrisJFoulds

© Kamloops This Week


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