Letter: In defence of the family meal

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The Independent Online
Sir: In her amusing diatribe against the middle classes and their dinner snobberies ('How food snobs guard the right to scoff', 28 July), Jane Jackson has missed a really important point. 'The mythic warm family life' offers almost the only structured opportunity for parents and children to talk.

Everybody has to eat - if you eat in family company, instead of as a couch potato or dashing out for work or play, you talk, you debate, you ask questions, you listen. Thus children learn about their parents and vice versa, and gradually the family learns the skills of conversation - a rapidly vanishing, civilising art - whether the subject matter is football, Top of the Pops, sitcoms, jobs or the arts.

Yours truly,

E. A. SERPELL

Kenninghall, Norwich

31 July

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