How much time do you spend in the kitchen preparing a meal? How much time do you spend cleaning up after a meal?
Almost 50 years ago, in 1965, the average American mom spent 44 minutes preparing meals and 21 minutes cleaning up. I can’t help but think of all the things would have happened during this time; like stress being lifted by a meat tenderizer, hands made softer with dishwater, actually making food was sharing love with your family and not just a task to mark off the list, hands were used for peeling and chopping instead of box opening and scissor cutting packages.
What about the 21 minutes of clean up? I would like to think that this clean up involved mom and the kids. I know when I was growing up my siblings and I rotated who helped mom with the dishes as we were the dishwashers. And during that time, we talked about our school day, our friends and any struggles that might be going on. While actually doing the dishes wasn’t my favorite activity, I enjoyed the time with my mom in the kitchen.
In 2007, meal preparation had dropped to just 26 minutes in the kitchen and only 4 minutes cleaning up.
Are we gaining anything by finding the quickest way out of the kitchen? No, I believe we aren’t. The older I get, the more I realize how quickly time passes. And I’m not about to let those fleeting moments of meal preparation and clean up become something I dread. Instead, I am making it a family affair.
Make it your mission to get back in the kitchen – with your family! Chop up vegetables together, set the table together, clean up and actually do dishes together. Food is the ultimate connector for a family. How will you use meal preparation time to connect with your family today?