It is not only the best meal of the week, it is often the only meal at which family members gather, talk, and eat together.
I came across this sentence last night as I was reading a book about Judaism by an American Jew. The author was obviously referring to the Friday Shabbat meal.
It reminded me of a conversation I had had a month earlier with a friend. During the holidays she had met a Belgian executive who had gone to the US on a business visit. He was there for several days and got invited to evening meals by several American colleagues. The thing that surprised him the most was that he shared a family meal in only home: that of an African-American family – who incidentally was also the only one where Grace was recited. I have no idea who the other families were.
In France family meals are an institution and if people cannot always eat lunch together they certainly try to do so for dinner. Those that do not are considered dysfunctional. In addition a lot of people do not have the TV on while eating. It is something I enjoyed as a child and still do now.
Is this totally different where you live or in your family?