Busy families seem to find it a chore to make decisions about what to eat every night. This often leads to catch-as-catch-can grazing, ordering in or eating out. Yet studies show over and over the positive impact of eating family dinners together as often as possible.
Liz Edmunds shares what she has learned from years of family dinners in her book “The Food Nanny Rescues Dinner: Easy Family Meals for Every Day of the Week.
Liz Edmunds, now known as The Food Nanny, wants to bring more families home to dinner. As the mother of seven children, she and her airline pilot husband were committed over the years to keeping family dinnertime an every-night commitment.
Advance planning, Edmunds found, was the key. And to simplify the planning. Edmunds began by choosing a “theme” for each night of the week to make menu planning easier. (e.g. Tuesday=Italian, Saturday=Grill Night) What has worked for her (and now her children’s families) for more than 30 years can work for families everywhere.
“I must emphasize that ‘theme night’ does not mean having a ‘party’ every night of the week at dinner,” Edmunds is quick to explain. “The night’s ‘theme’ is merely the starting point for deciding what to have for dinner.”
So if Wednesday is Hold the Meat, Edmunds chooses something like Roast Salmon with Tarragon or Vegetable Lasagna or perhaps Blueberry Croissant French Toast and builds the rest of the meal around that. Then on Thursday, which for her is Mexican Night, the options include Mexican Chicken and Black Bean Soup or Texas-Style Beef Tacos. This fun, easy, consistent starting point for meal planning is made easier by grouping her tried-and-true and delicious recipes according to these themes in The Food Nanny Rescues Dinner. The chapters on salads, breads, side dishes and desserts let you fill out any meal.
The Food Nanny also shares tips to help cooks get organized, equip the kitchen, supply the pantry, involve every family member in the preparations, and forge family bonds around the dinner table. She understands that life is hectic – especially when you are raising a family. But, with her system of planning along with her terrific collection of recipes, there is no reason not to have a home-cooked meal on the table every night.
What about those people who say they don’t know how to cook, or they’re not good at it? What if they don’t feel like cooking or eating a big meal some night? Well, as far as Edmunds is concerned, these are two of the common excuses for not cooking; she has counter arguments for the 10 most common excuses, which she convincingly offers in her chapter “Yes , But….”.
“Nothing makes us happier than the smells coming from the kitchen enticing us with our favorite foods,” Edmunds states. “I hope my approach helps you gather your family around the dinner table where you can then start building family togetherness as you enjoy good food and share ideas and concerns.
About the Author
Liz Edmunds raised seven children with a commitment to a consistent dinnertime with the family, despite her husband’s extensive travels as an airline pilot. Her passion for the importance of family dinnertime led a kitchen-store manager to dub her “the food nanny,” and a business was born.
Today Liz serves as part teacher, part counselor, part coach for families in need of organizational help and cooking instruction so they can implement a weekly dinner plan in their own homes. She also teaches cooking classes at Sur La Table in Salt Lake City, focusing on food that is family -and budget-friendly while also tasty and easy to make.
“The Food Nanny Rescues Dinner” is available at bookstores & cooking stores nationally and online. . Liz Edmunds web address is www.TheFoodNanny.com