Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

'Family meal' ideal is stressful, impossible for many families

Date:
September 3, 2014
Source:
North Carolina State University
Summary:
Magazines, television and other popular media increasingly urge families to return to the kitchen, stressing the importance of home-cooked meals and family dinners to physical health and family well-being. But new research shows that home cooking and family meals place significant stresses on many families -- and are simply impossible for others.

Magazines, television and other popular media increasingly urge families to return to the kitchen, stressing the importance of home-cooked meals and family dinners to physical health and family well-being. But new research findings from North Carolina State University show that home cooking and family meals place significant stresses on many families -- and are simply impossible for others.

Related Articles


"We wanted to understand the relationship between this ideal that is presented in popular culture and the realities that people live with when it comes to feeding their children," says Dr. Sarah Bowen, an associate professor of sociology at NC State and co-author of a paper on the ongoing study.

The researchers interviewed 150 female caregivers in families with children between the ages of 2 and 8, as well as conducting in-depth observations of 12 of these families for a total of 250 hours.

"We found that middle-class, working-class, and poor families faced some similar challenges," says Dr. Sinikka Elliott, an associate professor of sociology at NC State who co-authored the paper. "For example, mothers from all backgrounds reported difficulty in finding time to prepare meals that everyone in the family would be willing to eat."

In addition, middle-class mothers reported being torn between their desire to spend quality time with their children and the expectation that they needed to provide the children with a home-cooked meal.

But, while all families reported financial considerations as a factor in meal planning, finances affected family decisions in very different ways.

For example, middle-class mothers were concerned that they weren't able to give their kids the best possible meals because they couldn't afford to buy all organic foods.

Poor families, meanwhile, faced more severe restrictions. Their financial limitations made it more difficult for them to afford fresh produce, find transportation to grocery stories, or have access to the kitchen tools needed to prepare meals -- such as sharp knives, stoves, or pots and pans.

"Poor mothers also skipped meals and stood in long lines at non-profit food pantries to provide food for their children," Bowen says.

"This idea of a home-cooked meal is appealing, but it's unrealistic for a lot of families," Bowen adds. "We as a society need to develop creative solutions to support families and help share the work of providing kids with healthy meals."

"There are a lot of ways we could do this, from community kitchens where families work together to arranging to-go meals from schools," Elliott says. "There is no one answer. But we hope this work inspires people to start thinking outside the family kitchen about broader things we as a society can do when it comes to food and health."

The paper, "The Joy of Cooking?," is published online in Contexts.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by North Carolina State University. The original article was written by Matt Shipman. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. S. Bowen, S. Elliott, J. Brenton. The Joy of Cooking? Contexts, 2014; 13 (3): 20 DOI: 10.1177/1536504214545755

Cite This Page:

North Carolina State University. "'Family meal' ideal is stressful, impossible for many families." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 September 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/09/140903105642.htm>.
North Carolina State University. (2014, September 3). 'Family meal' ideal is stressful, impossible for many families. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/09/140903105642.htm
North Carolina State University. "'Family meal' ideal is stressful, impossible for many families." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/09/140903105642.htm (accessed December 18, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Science & Society News

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Kids Die While Under Protective Services

Kids Die While Under Protective Services

AP (Dec. 18, 2014) — As part of a six-month investigation of child maltreatment deaths, the AP found that hundreds of deaths from horrific abuse and neglect could have been prevented. AP's Haven Daley reports. (Dec. 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
How 2014 Shaped The Future Of The Internet

How 2014 Shaped The Future Of The Internet

Newsy (Dec. 18, 2014) — It has been a long, busy year for Net Neutrality. The stage is set for an expected landmark FCC decision sometime in 2015. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
UN: Up to One Million Facing Hunger in Ebola-Hit Countries

UN: Up to One Million Facing Hunger in Ebola-Hit Countries

AFP (Dec. 17, 2014) — Border closures, quarantines and crop losses in West African nations battling the Ebola virus could lead to as many as one million people going hungry, UN food agencies said on Wednesday. Duration: 00:52 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Los Angeles Police To Receive 7,000 Body Cameras

Los Angeles Police To Receive 7,000 Body Cameras

Newsy (Dec. 17, 2014) — Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced the cameras will be distributed starting Jan. 1. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Science & Society

Business & Industry

Education & Learning

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins