book review: The Hour That Matters Most

The Hour That Matters Most: The Surprising Power of the Family Meal

Authors: Les & Leslie Parrott, Stephanie Allen, and Tina Kuna

Publisher: Tyndale House

Rating: A-

(Complimentary Copy from


Promo: The facts are on the table. Dinnertime is truly the most important hour in a day that a family can spend together. Focusing on the family meal, this book will help strengthen families by showing them how to reclaim this important time in order to build relationships, draw closer to one another, and restore a sense of peace in their homes. Millions of parents in America can picture the kind of home life they want but don’t know how to make it a reality. The Hour That Matters Most will help readers strengthen and transform their own families—specifically around the dinner table.

Tired of preparing four different meals for the five members of your family? Not exactly sure how to engage your teens at dinner-time? Looking to develop a habit of creating meaningful *and fun* meals together? Overwhelmed by the warp-speed pace of life and desire to reclaim some time for yourself? Are you a newlywed committed to starting your marriage off on the right foot—with dinners at home? Does the rushed life of a “Soccer mom” on-the-go exhaust you to the point of needing some fresh ideas on how to ditch the drive-in routine? Currently experiencing life as an empty-nester, in the process of reconnecting now that you’ve survived raising children? If so, this book is for you!

In our fast-paced world, shared family meals, like dinner, are a thing of the past, found (mostly) in reruns of “Leave it to Beaver” and “The Brady Bunch”. The facts do speak for themselves:

  • Less than 40% of all families eat together.
  • In the span of one generation, regular family meals have disappeared from our cultural landscape.
  • Americans currently spend $110 billion annually on fast food; more money than movies, books, magazines, newspapers, videos, and music combined,

In the pages of The Hour That Matters Most, Les & Leslie Parrott, practicing psychologist and family & marriage therapist, pack a whole-lotta know-how in every chapter. As a sociology geek, I appreciate the balance of stats and research with the practical techniques for building strong, family relationships at any stage. Building on clinical experience, Les & Leslie Parrott emphasize the benefits of sharing a meal together. From creating a space to speak honestly and support one another to transferring family values, research shows that shared dinner meals is critical to developing a foundation of respect and responsibility while increasing a child’s sense of belonging and overall wellbeing. Oh, and let’s not forget to have some fun! In addition to presenting dozens of practical tips to assist listening and communication skills, the Parrotts offer plenty of ideas for having fun with one another, while preparing and sharing a meal, the point of which is to create lasting memories round the table.

It may sound a bit hokey, but how many of us long for a slower pace of life? or healthier, home cooked meals? For more time with family? For the “good old days” when families spent time together—without TV or the laptop or distractions? The point is this: the time we sacrifice to the demi-techno-work-social media-gods is lost once we allow it to slip through our fingers. *Poof* Gone. Forever. The people we share our lives with—mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, uncles, spouses, children, friends, etc.—matter above all else. Period. In the end, work can wait, the gym will still be there tomorrow, television programs can be TiVoed, and the iPod can be docked.

I encourage you to pick up this well-intentioned read. Take up the challenge to reclaim the dinner-time hour. Join me. Try it for one month. Let me know the wonderful changes that happen in your family.

To help you along, here are a couple of my favorite recipe sites:

Just Making Noise:

Healthy Slow Cooking

The Blooming Platter:

The Food Network

I received this book free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 

So, two days after posting this review I discovered WordPress offers a feature allowing bloggers to incorporate polls into posts …. hmmm…let’s give this a try.


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