Here’s what I knew about Guy Fieri up until yesterday: He’s a little loud, and he has a show called “Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives” on the Food Network where he sometimes eats really disgusting-looking food that could stop an elephant’s heart.


Perhaps it’s simply that Fieri features non-New Jersey diners on his show, and I’m a diner snob from New Jersey (we don’t think diners in other states are actual diners, just sad copies of the real thing), but his show has never been one I’ve given more than a passing glance to.

Yesterday, I read something in The Vancouver Sun that’s making me take notice of Fieri. He wants to find a way to designate a day that focuses on kids and food. In fact, he’s already accomplished that in California. He helped draft state legislation a few years back that mandated Sundays as official Cook With Your Kids Day, a now weekly state-sanctioned event.

This might sound a bit over the top, but I think that a state-sanctioned day that encourages families to cook together is revolutionary.

I had a conversation with my husband a couple of weeks ago (okay, I ranted; he listened) about how in our family-friendly small town, it’s perfectly normal to never spend alone time as a family. There is always something going on. The need for parent volunteers is so great for these family-friendly activities that it would be possible for me to be attending school function organizational meetings, staffing the “snack bar” that’s turned into a fully functioning fast-food restaurant at the ball fields, town Green Team meetings, and various other events that would take me away from my family most nights — all this to say that the town I live in is a great place for families.

I told my husband that there should be a designated night of the week, when all community, school, house-of-faith and other organizations agree to not schedule anything. It would be one night a week when family members know they’ll be home together at the same time. They could cook together and eat together and play board games together and whatever else they want to do while they have no outside distractions.

Looks like Guy Fieri had this idea first.

In addition to his work getting Cook With Your Kids initiative, he’s started a foundation called CWK (Cooking With Kids) and the Food Network features several Cooking With Kids videos, recipes to cook together, and other helpful information. Fieri has two boys of his own, and they often cook together using food grown in their own garden.

Ideally, we shouldn’t need to designate a night for families to cook and eat together. Families should be making it a priority to do it several nights a week and find the time to eat together once a day (remember breakfast and lunch are meals, too). But, that’s not what is happening, even in small family friendly towns like mine. That’s why I think this idea is revolutionary.

It would take a revolution to get people to see that even though they’re spending so much time in family friendly activities, they’re not spending much alone time as a family together. It’s during that alone time, when parents and kids are face to face at the table that a lot of the important conversations happen. Those important conversations just don’t happen around the snack bar at the ball fields.

I’m curious. Those of you who live in California, did you know that your state has designated Sunday as Cook With Your Kids Day? Does anyone in another part of your country live in a community or state that is promoting the idea of setting aside time to cook and eat together? 

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

Guy Fieri wants families to spend Sundays cooking with their kids
The celebrity chef advocates families cooking and eating together once a week. In fact, he succeeded in getting Sundays declared Cook With Your Kids Day in Cali