SOURCE: National Pork Board

August 30, 2005 08:00 ET

A Decade of Dinner Together: Gail O'Grady and National Pork Board Celebrate 10th Annual National Eat Dinner Together Week

DES MOINES, IA -- (MARKET WIRE) -- August 30, 2005 -- In the past decade, dinnertime distractions have multiplied with the advances in technology. But despite the ringing telephones, blaring televisions, pumping portable MP3 players and text-messaging cell phones, family dinnertime is still as important as ever.

Through a decade of great change, dinner remains at the heart of the family. In celebration of the 10th annual National Eat Dinner Together Week (September 18-24, 2005), a recent survey by the National Pork Board uncovered this comforting truth amidst all the sensory stimulation of 21st century life.

This year, more than three out of four people surveyed (78%) said that it is very or extremely important to enjoy an evening meal together as a family, up five percent from 1996. And, more than half (52%) said they eat dinner as a family five or more times per week.

Ten Years Strong

In 1996, America's Pork Producers and the National Pork Board established National Eat Dinner Together Week as a forum to develop and nurture relationships with family members.

"America's Pork Producers remain committed to celebrating the natural connection between food and family by providing tools and solutions to make dinnertime more enjoyable," says Pamela Johnson, Director of Consumer Communications for the National Pork Board. To help families focus on connecting during dinner, the National Pork Board supports busy parents by providing recipes, time management tips and family activity ideas at TogetherForDinner.com.

Additionally, to help raise money for hunger relief, the National Pork Board is sponsoring a special celebrity-designed dinner plate auction, benefiting America's Second Harvest - The Nation's Food Bank Network. O'Grady and other celebrities will donate personalized dinner plates that will be available via this special online charity auction, hosted on eBay®, The World's Online Marketplace™, from October 3-13, 2005. For more information, check out TogetherForDinner.com.

Reality: It's Not Like TV

To mark the 10th annual National Eat Dinner Together Week, Gail O'Grady, star of ABC Television Network's "Hot Properties" and formerly of NBC's "American Dreams," is helping the National Pork Board salute the importance of shared family dinners. "For my family, time spent around the dinner table is among the most precious time in my day. It's a chance to recap the day's happenings and keep connected with one another's lives," says O'Grady.

As a busy mom, O'Grady says she prefers menus that offer satisfying flavors and relatively simple preparations. To make the most of mealtime, O'Grady says she also feels it's important to consider preparation and clean-up as fair game for family involvement.

"I tend to gravitate towards easy-to-prepare meals -- whether I'm grilling or sautéing -- and pork is a delicious option that's very versatile," says O'Grady. "My favorite recipe is pork tenderloin with apricots and fennel." One of O'Grady's family favorite recipes is a sweet and savory Brandied Apricot Pork Tenderloin.

Special Web Site Honors a Decade of Dinner Together

To draw attention to the importance of sharing the dinner meal, the National Pork Board also has launched a new Web site -- TogetherForDinner.com -- to celebrate the 10th annual National Eat Dinner Together Week. The site features 30 recipes that can be prepared in 30 minutes or less, meal management tips, family activity ideas and more.

Imagine and Win

Visitors to TogetherForDinner.com will also have the opportunity to banish the blahs by entering the "Imagine and Win" sweepstakes for a chance to win a dream family getaway including air travel, lodging and spending money -- a total trip value of $10,000. If you can imagine it, you can win it. Whether your family dreams of enjoying Southern barbecued ribs at Graceland in Memphis or a family reunion pig roast on a Hawaiian beach, there'll never be another family dinner like it! Just provide your family's favorite dinnertime tip for a chance to win. Complete details and entry information can be found at TogetherForDinner.com.

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