The kitchen is often the epicenter of the home. It is the place where meals are prepared and shared. Family members may pull their chairs around the kitchen table to play games, work on homework, laugh together, and discuss their stresses, disappointments, hopes, and plans for the future.
Even the act of meal preparation can be shared, with children joining parents in the kitchen to chop vegetables, roll cookies or stir soup. Families can have quality time together after meals as they wash and dry dishes.
A family that enjoys eating is likely to enjoy cooking, too. When a family member wants to try a new recipe, the rest of the group may wait with excited anticipation. They can then decide collectively whether the recipe is a keeper. Parents can pass down food traditions in the kitchen, sharing recipes that were made by grandmothers and grandfathers in years past.
Though some families have the luxury of eating multiple meals together, dinner is often the only meal when all members of the family are present. Family members often leave the house at staggered intervals in the morning, often grabbing a quick breakfast bar or bottle of juice on the way out the door. Lunchtime is often spent at work or school, with family members eating with friends or co-workers.
Dinner is the chance for family members to reconnect. At the dinner table, they take the opportunity to keep up with the latest news, developments, or individual achievements. They talk about what has been accomplished during the day and the problems they encountered. Dinnertime conversations can be great therapy. And indeed, there is a strong correlation between happy, stable families and a tradition of consistently eating dinner together.
The kitchen can host more than just family members. It is often at the center of kids’ play dates. Older children may have friends over to study or work on class projects—often at the kitchen table. It’s hard to overemphasize the importance of the kitchen in the family home.