An open letter to all who identify with Virginia Heffernan’s “What if You Just Hate Making Dinner?”

To all who identify with Virginia Heffernan’s article in The New York Times “What if You Just Hate Making Dinner?”.

I was struck personally by Mrs. Heffernan’s article not because I identify with it, but because I didn’t.  Not at all.

I grew up with 10 brothers and sisters and dinner was not only a nightly session of physical nourishment but human nourishment as well.  It was a place to laugh, cry, vent, shut down, open up both lovingly and not so… lovingly.  It was total chaos and symphonic sharing all at once. One family friend would always wait till after dinner to get a plate (as if 11 kids weren’t enough mouths to feed) and my mother would say,”Steven, you’re more than welcome to sit down with us”.  He would respond’ “are you kidding, there is no time to get a fork to my mouth with all the please pass this, and can you put some of that on my plate”.

After digesting (couldn’t help myself) Mrs. Heffernan’s piece I realized that she of course doesn’t dislike sitting down to dinner, just making it.  I also think she and others misunderstand the health benefits of doing so.  As the book Outliers proves, it’s not what you eat, it’s the energy of togetherness and sharing and community that works on the human spirit and keeps you healthy.  I am in no way a fan of complicated, stressful food prep. The healthy eating movement seems extreme at this point. Dinner can and should be easy and fun, and Virginia is right that ‘defrost and share’ should be acceptable, and not frowned upon.  The health portion of the dinner comes from sitting down and connecting with each other. The food part of it is secondary.  Getting your kid to explode milk through her nose from laughter is way more healthy than any gluten free range organic low salt piece of anything.  Can I get an Amen.

That is the Mangia Way.   Now, if you can easily put together great meals for friends and family, you have it all.  MangiaTV has this as its highest calling.  Join the crusade today.