The family dinner in a period of culinary transformations: A case study from Israel

Yasmin Einav Aharoni, Dafna Hirsch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Dinner patterns have been changing in Israel in recent decades. While the evening meal is still commonly associated with a specific model comprised of bread, cheese, eggs, and fresh vegetables, the culinary reality is more diverse. In this study, we examine the fate of this “national” model in a period of culinary transformations, based on interviews with upper-middle-class mothers of young children and on an online survey. While the association of dinner with the “classic” model is still prevalent, in practice its dominance has declined, giving way to new dinner models—primarily the “cooked dinner,” which requires more investment of time and effort. At the same time, the “classic dinner” is still one of the dominant dinner models. We argue, that the current status of the “classic dinner” results from the tension between the growing social and nutritional importance of dinner and its functioning as a token of the mothers’ love and care on the one hand, and life circumstances that leave little time for preparing dinner, on the other hand. This model, which is no longer considered sufficient as a family dinner, nevertheless constitutes a socially legitimate option for a “good enough dinner.”.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)296-318
Number of pages23
JournalFood and Foodways
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2023


  • commensality
  • cooked meal
  • Family dinner
  • food habits
  • Israeli foodways
  • meal patterns
  • working mothers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Health(social science)
  • Cultural Studies
  • Anthropology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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