By KAITLYN NAPLES
The holidays are over and most Americans probably sat down to a meal or two with loved ones, local and those who may have traveled.
Unfortunately, a former Bristol resident notes in her latest book, in today’s society many are constantly on the go, both mentally and physically, and don’t have the time to sit down to dinner with friends and family on a regular basis. Or, if they do sit down to have a meal with each other, many are glued to cell phones or other electronic devices. While the bodies may be present together, the minds are wandering elsewhere in cyber space.
When author Carol Archambeault was a young girl, she remembers the days of sharing meals with her 10 siblings and her parents right here in Bristol. In 2000, Archambeault lost her mother, which left her feeling “a little lost,” she said via email.
“I started reconnecting with others over shared meals and those experiences made me rediscover how significant meal sharing has been in my life,” she said, adding the idea for her book “The Shared-Meal Revolution: How to Reclaim Balance and Connection in a Fragmented World Through Sharing Meals with Family and Friends” began coming to fruition while she was raising her own children and remembering the times her family would gather together for a meal, and how important it was during her childhood.
“I saw how the simple activity of sharing a meal helped keep us connected, but I also saw how it became harder and harder to keep the ritual steady as they grew older,” she said, adding that in society today, everyone’s lifestyles are more complicated than ever, and while many people may want to share a meal every day with their friends and families, they may not know where to start. “I was inspired to help others make their goals of a shared-meal ritual become a reality.”
Archambeault, who now lives in Burbank, Calif., said she went to get her graduate degree in human development, and completed a master’s thesis “on the family meal ritual and how it’s changed over the generations.” She said she studied her own multi-generational family, and decided that she could take what she learned through her own family’s experiences and share the information to benefit others.
Through her new book, Archambeault said readers can encourage their peers and friends and family to get involved in the practice of sharing meals. She said not every shared-meal plan will look alike, her book will help create one that works for you.
“We need meaningful connection with each other at some point each and every day,” she said, and by sharing a meal daily with our loved ones will help keep the connection with on another. “I’ve never met anyone who has a shared-meal ritual and regrets it. That’s because we are taking care of ourselves and others when we make the time to share a meal. It feels good.”
Social media is everywhere in our society today, and although it is a great way to stay connected, Archambeault said there is nothing better than face-to-face interaction and communication, especially for individuals who may live alone.
Through the message in her book, Archambeault said she hopes to “help people find ways to bring daily joy and life balance back into their lives, and help others create a shared meal plan by providing them with the resources and tools. “Let’s bring this ritual back into households across America.”
For more information on her Shared-Meals Revolution, visit Archambeault’s website at www.shared-meals.com. Archambeault’s book is available on Amazon and through her website. She is also in the process of working on a new book with the working title “Sharing Meals: Global to Local,” which will be based on meal rituals from around the world.
Comments? Email knaples@BristolObserver. com.