During the Kaunas
Meeting partners agree to look for adolescents’ happy memories writing a letter
about “My best family dinner”. Between the partners DIR obtained 143 adolescents’
letters that partners interchanged and discussed during the next Lichfield
What we wanted to
investigate was if there were some similar characteristics or some
philosophical or psychological parallel lines between those memories.
We found that all the letters reflected a likeness for family celebrities that were warm, noisy, happy and funny. Appreciating the teenagers much more the atmosphere than the menu.
“Female (16 years old, memory of 6 years old).
Dinner with my Dad. My dad worked as an accountant and he worked long hours, so
he returned home very late. I saw my dad very rarely, because I had to go to
bed early. I remember once my dad promised that when we get back home from work
we will make a pizza. Unfortunately, my Dad came back later than he promised,
but I saw that my Dad still was very enthusiastic about making pizza with me. I
remember that I was already very tired and I wanted to go to sleep, but I tried
not to fall asleep, because I saw that this dinner was very important to my
dad. Even though it was almost 12 o’clock at night, I with my dad ate few slice
of pizza and went to sleep.”
“Male (13 years old, memory of 7 years old).
„Usually we celebrate Christmas at home, all family members at one table. I
remember when at one Christmas my parents said that we will go to have
Christmas dinner in the restaurant and we will go with my younger brother and
grandmother. Our family rarely go to the restaurant and today we all are going
to celebrate Christmas dinner at the restaurant! I still remember the
restaurant environment: there was Christmas lights everywhere, we were hearing
Christmas music in the restaurant, there was a lot of people who was sitting at
the tables nicely dressed up. I remember happy parent’s smiles. “
“Female (16 years old). “I don’t remember the
most memorable dinner I have had, but I remember that during my childhood, I
and my mom very often were making desserts on weekends. Before the weekend we
always were planning that we will cook for the next time. We had found the recipes, bought the products
which we will need and at the weekend we were ready to cook. I remember I
decided to keep those recipes which for me was the best and the most delicious.
I still have some recipes saved from those times then we were cooking. Maybe
one day I will use those recipes as I will be cooking with my own children.”
The Saturday Gala Dinner (Female 18) “With my disguise as an old lady that Santa Claus had brought me at my grandparents’ house, together with my brothers properly disguised as a roman soldier and a fairy respectively, we were looking forward to the table of the gala dinner on any Saturday.
The gala dinner was the occasion for the greatest of luxuries: we ate elegant dresses-costumes, the wedding dress of my uncles, a nice combination of elegant shawls and my mother’s jewellery …, and it took place in the dining room -the rest of the days we had dinner in the kitchen-, with silver tablecloths, covered with silver, pretty crockery … preparing it excited us all! And the dinner? It was chosen democratically by brother and sisters, although for that there was quite unanimity: pasta carbonara, pork ribs, Moorish sticks in souvlakis that my parents bought in Greece, and snow eggs. As dessert, my mother is a specialist: chocolate mousse, strawberry ice cream, and a list is quite long. What good memories! «
«Family Dinner at a Paella Restaurant (Female 17) A great family meal was the one we had with my parents and my brothers in Valencia. We went to eat paella to a place by the sea, and there, sitting near the window with the sea breeze coming in we savoured some fried fish and salad appetizers and then a rich Valencian paella, the best of all. I love family meals in restaurants because everyone really enjoy watching everything and my brothers do their best to eat well, and my parents are relaxed because we do not have to cook or to prepare anything. We talked about everything, because in those moments of family intimacy my brothers are more spontaneous than ever, and they really comment on everything they want, or are concerned, with the ability that they have to move from one topic to another without having to link conversation themes. My brothers told stories of school, of friends, recalled recent anecdotes of plans with their friends and family. My parents enjoyed it a lot, they were relaxed without hurry, and they loved the paella, one of their favourite dishes. I enjoyed seeing them so happy, and being able to eat so well watching the sea and noticing the sea breeze, it was all wonderful. A great meal for the whole family.»
The Christmas Eve Dinner (Male, 18) “One of my favourite family dinners was the Christmas Eve at my maternal grandparents house with my parents, brothers, uncles and cousins. I will always remember them, year after year it was one of the best times of Christmas and of the whole year. I hope I have given enough thanks to my grandparents, who are no longer here, for how much I enjoyed myself. We all dressed very elegant, I always chose the best jacket I had then. When we arrived, we waited in the entrance hall for all of us to come and see the gifts that Santa Claus had left us. We lined up in order of age, and when we were correctly placed my grandparents opened the screen that gave access to the entrance hall to see if Santa had arrived. And yes, he always arrived and he was always very generous! There was a table for adults and one for children, the small one was the coffee table in the living room. Both elegantly decorated. After dinner we sang Christmas carols with tambourines. These celebrations were warm, noisy, happy, funny, elegant and very endearing … one of the best memories of my childhood”.
And 137 more letters…………….