Volume 14 No. 1

Fall, 1999

Dinner Is a Different Experience in Different Families
by Worachaya Chaovalit
People have all various backgrounds because of where they’re from. They do many things differently including when and how they eat dinner. But family cultures, more than ethnic cultures seem to be the main reason for their differences.
When the question is, “What’s for dinner tonight?” The answer might be just a simple word, “chicken.” But for many people, it’s not just what’s for dinner. In fact, for them, dinner might mean that their father is not going to be home on time. It might mean that everyone has to eat their own meal by themselves. Some people may find hotdogs that are taken out of the fridge will be their sad dinner.
For some people, dinner is just food, not a time to be with family. “I cook, and when the table is ready, they just eat,” said Brenda Ramirez, a sophomore from El Salvador. “We just have dinner together sometimes,” she said.
Conversely, in some other families, dinner gets lots of attention because it’s something that brings all the family members together. When they are at the table and wait until everyone is ready, they have dinner while having discussions about what happened each day.
Sam Miller, a sophomore from the United States, has a father who likes cooking and fixing food for him and everyone in his family. “My dad spends lots of time for dinner,” he explained, “and usually we’d sit down after he’s done cooking.” Sam’s family would have dinner when everyone gets ready. “They’d like us to eat together,” he said.
Pimolwan Cheeva-kriangkrai, a senior from Thailand, likes it when her family has dinner together. “It’s like a thing we have to do everyday. I enjoy having dinner with my parents and my sisters because I would get a chance to talk to them all at once,” she explained. “We always do it. We never change this custom even though we’ve moved here from our country,” she said.
However, most of people this author spoke to don’t have dinner with their whole family. Because of all the work that people have to get done, it's hard for families to eat together, even if they want to.

Copyright Silver International 1999.