Neo-neocon concludes her post on family dinners:
My family had its share of problems, and our meals sometimes ended in yelling and/or tears. But mealtime was the time when we most felt like a family, and just as often there was a lot of laughter. Come to think of it, sometimes political discussions would happen at the dinner table as well, perhaps fostering the development of the future blogger in me—one had to learn to defend one’s position with a certain amount of logic and grace
The importance of this tradition can not, I suspect, be overestimated. My experience, too, was not always positive in my childhood (if it is the one time a family comes together to talk, it can also be one time the family comes together to fight). But as far as building a sense of the familial, the importance of nurturing of both ideas and bodies, little comes close. Lee Harris discusses this more philosophically and Carmen Strache more lyrically (both quoted in this old post).