SOURCE: Author Joe Fitzpatrick

Author Joe Fitzpatrick

November 25, 2009 16:34 ET

How Dinner Time Can Bring Families Together

Chef Reveals Why Sunday Dinners Are So Important

BOTHELL, WA--(Marketwire - November 25, 2009) - It all starts at mealtime.

That's what the statistics show, and at least one chef can attest to it. According to a study released last week by The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University, the family dinner is linked to everything from better grades to teen use of alcohol. The study, called "The Importance of Family Dinners," said that teens who report typically receiving grades of C's or below in school are likelier to smoke, drink and use drugs compared to teens who typically receive all A's or A's and B's in school. Compared to teens who have five to seven family dinners per week, those who have fewer than three family dinners per week are one and a half times likelier to report getting mostly C's or lower grades in school.

Joe Fitzpatrick knows the value of family dinners, because it has become a tradition in his household every weekend. Fitzpatrick, author of the gourmet cookbook "Strictly Sundays" from Book Publisher's Network (, believes his Sunday dinners are what help keep his family close. It was part of how he was raised.

"Ever since I was a little boy I enjoyed helping my mother cook in the kitchen," he said. "She made it fun and I learned a lot. It helped shape my attitudes when I had children of my own. Recently, when business slowed down, my wife and I would cook in on the weekends instead of going out. I subscribed to Bon Appetite magazine and started to make unique intimate dinners for the two of us on Saturday nights."

When Fitzpatrick's grown children got wind of the Saturday night dinners, they felt like they were missing out. They were right.

"So, I made a rule that Sunday was for faith, family and gourmet meals, no exceptions. They've almost never missed Sunday dinner, and they still come home once a week to help me create these fabulous meals. It used to be about the food. Now, it's more about being together."

About Joe Fitzpatrick

Joe Fitzpatrick, author of the cookbook "Strictly Sundays" (, realizes that gourmet meals can be served any day of the week. His family simply prefers Sundays.

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