Alice Waters and Ruth Reichl gave a great interview to Grub Street last week. In the interview, they talk about eating locally, the recent issue of Time magazine that failed to include female chefs in their “Gods of Food” article, and food coverage in the media merging with lifestyle coverage.

I found the entire interview interesting, but there was one small quote that Waters made that really caught my attention.

Reichl commented that when her son went to college, his biggest problem with eating wasn’t the food itself. It was the fact that in the culture of food trucks and eating whenever you want, he missed dinner.

Waters replied, “I think you’re right. Otherwise there’s just no punctuation in the day – you’re a run-on sentence.”

I really like that imagery. I try very hard to have a sit down family dinner as often as possible, but as the boys get older and life’s complications pop up, it’s not as often as I’d like it to be. A couple of days can go by when we don’t get to eat dinner together, and Waters hits the nail on the head as far as I’m concerned.

Life feels like a run-on sentence for me when my family is unable to take the time to sit around the table and share a meal.  We need the punctuation of dinner, the comma or the period, to make our day pause or stop running at full tilt. We need the punctuation to breathe. We need it to connect with each other. We need it to look into each others’ eyes as we discuss things so we can hear more than each others’ voices yelling up or down the stairs to “hurry up because we’re going to be late to….”

I know tonight we have exactly a half hour to sit down for dinner between the time one boy gets home from his activity and the other one needs to leave for his activity. But, it’s a half hour I’m going to guard fiercely. Tonight will be more of a comma than a period, but that will be much better than a run-on sentence.

Also on MNN

Robin Shreeves ( @rshreeves ) focuses on food from a family perspective from her home base in New Jersey.

Dinner: The punctuation in your day
Alice Waters makes a comment about dinner that’s a great way to think about the impact eating together makes.