From Habit to Choice: Transformations in Family Dining Over Three Generations

  • Cathy Banwell
  • Dorothy Broom
  • Anna Davies
  • Jane Dixon


Changes in family dining are explored in  Chap. 3, focusing in particular on the meal that Australians have most consistently eaten together: the evening meal. The plain and predictable food that older Australians (the Lucky Generation) remember consuming has given way to meals that are full of variety and the influences of European and Asian culinary cultures. While family meals are still held in high regard, modern Australian families struggle to maintain them in the face of individualised food preferences and schedules that make it increasingly difficult to achieve commensality.


Baby Boomer Evening Meal Family Meal Special Occasion Brussel Sprout 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. Australian Bureau of Statistics. (1945). Year book Australia 1944–45, 1301.1. Canberra: Australian Bureau of Statistics.Google Scholar
  2. Bannerman, C. (1998). Acquired tastes: Celebrating Australia’s culinary history. Canberra: National Library of Australia.Google Scholar
  3. Banwell, C., Dixon, J., Broom, D., & Davies, A. (2010). Habits of a lifetime: Family dining patterns over the lifecourse of older Australians. Health Sociology Review, 19(3), 343–355.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Cahn, A. (1977). Australians in the early twentieth century. In B. Wood (Ed.), Tucker in Australia. Melbourne: Hill of Content.Google Scholar
  5. Cameron, E. (2004). The sixties. Fremantle: Fremantle Arts Centre Press.Google Scholar
  6. Charles, N., & Kerr, M. (1986). Issues of responsibility and control in the feeding of families. In S. Rodmell & A. Watt (Eds.), The politics of health education: Raising the issues (pp. 57–75). London: Routledge and Kegan Paul.Google Scholar
  7. Conveney, J. (2006). Food, morals and meaning: The pleasure and anxiety of eating (2nd ed.). Oxford: Routledge.Google Scholar
  8. Dingle, T. (1998). Electrifying the kitchen in interwar Victoria. Journal of Australian Studies, 57, 119–127.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Dixon, J. (2002). The changing chicken. Sydney: UNSW Press.Google Scholar
  10. Fahey, W. (1992). When Mabel laid the table, the folklore of eating and drinking in Australia. Sydney: State Library of New South Wales.Google Scholar
  11. Farrer, K. (2005). To feed a nation: A history of Australian food science and technology. Melbourne: CSIRO Publishing.Google Scholar
  12. Fischler, C. (1993). A nutritional cacophony or the crisis of food selection in affluent societies. In P. Leatherwood, M. Horisberger, & W. James (Eds.), For a better nutrition in the 21st century. New York: Vevey/Raven Press Ltd.Google Scholar
  13. Germov, J. (2008). Food, class and identity. In J. Germov & L. Williams (Eds.), A sociology of food and nutrition: The social appetite. Victoria: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  14. Gillman, M., Rifas-Shiman, S., Frazier, L., Rockett, H., Camargo, C., Field, A., et al. (2000). Family dinner and diet quality among older children and adolescents. Archives of Family Medicine, 9, 235–240.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Gollan, A. (1978). The tradition of Australian cooking. Canberra: Australian National University Press.Google Scholar
  16. Griggs, P. (2006). A natural part of life: The Australian sugar industry’s campaign to reverse declining Australian sugar consumption, 1980–1995. Journal of Australian Studies, 87, 141–154.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Horwath, C. (1988). The food habits of elderly Australians. In A. Truswell & M. Wahlquist (Eds.), Food habits in Australia, proceedings of the first Deakin/Sydney universities symposium on Australian nutrition (pp. 224–249). North Balwyn: Rene Gordon.Google Scholar
  18. Kime, N. (2008). Children’s eating behaviours: The importance of the family setting. Royal Geographical Society, 40(3), 315–322.Google Scholar
  19. Kirkby, D. (2008). From wharfie haunt to foodie haven: Modernity and the law in the transformation of the Australian working-class pub. Food, Culture and Society, 11(1), 29–48.Google Scholar
  20. Kociumbas, J. (1997). Australian childhood: A history. Sydney: Allen & Unwin.Google Scholar
  21. Lees, S., & Senyard, J. (1987). The 1950s: How Australia became a modern society, and everyone got a house and car. Melbourne: Hyland House.Google Scholar
  22. Luxton, M. (1980). More than a labour of love. Toronto: The Women’s Press.Google Scholar
  23. Mamun, A., Lawlor, D., O’Callaghan, M., Williams, G., & Najman, J. (2005). Positive maternal attitude to the family eating together decreases the risk of adolescent overweight. Obesity Research, 13(8), 1422–1430.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Martens, L., & Warde, A. (1997). Urban pleasure? On the meaning of eating out in a northern city. In C. Caplan (Ed.), Food, health and identity (pp. 131–150). London/New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  25. Murcott, A. (1983). “It’s a pleasure to cook for him”: Food, mealtimes and gender in some south Wales households. In E. Gamarnikow (Ed.), The public and the private (pp. 62–77). Aldershot: Gower.Google Scholar
  26. Murcott, A. (1997). Family meals—A thing of the past? In P. Caplan (Ed.), Food, health and identity (pp. 32–69). London/New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  27. Patford, J., & Breen, H. (2009). Homes away from home: Registered clubs as leisure providers for older people living the tweed heads region of Australia. Annals of Leisure Research, 12, 172–191.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Poulain, J. (2002). The contemporary diet in France: “De-structuration” or from commensalism to “vagabond feeding”. Appetite, 39, 43–55.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Quiggan, J. (2000). The end of the generation game. Australian Financial Review. Accessed 27 Nov 2012.
  30. Rozin, P. (2005). The meaning of food in our lives: A cross-cultural perspective on eating and well-being. Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, 37, S107–S112.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Santich, B. (1995). ‘It’s a chore!’ women’s attitudes towards cooking. Australian Journal of Nutrition and Dietetics, 52(1), 11–13.Google Scholar
  32. Shove, E., & Southerton, D. (2000). Defrosting the freezer: From novelty to convenience. Journal of Material Culture, 5, 301–319.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Symons, M. (1984). One continuous picnic. Ringwood: Penguin.Google Scholar
  34. Symons, M. (1993). The shared table. Canberra: AGPS.Google Scholar
  35. Symons, M. (2006). From grandmas to gourmets. Food, Culture and Society, 9(2), 179–200.Google Scholar
  36. Symons, M. (2007). One continuous picnic: A gastronomic history of Australia. Melbourne: Melbourne University Press.Google Scholar
  37. Teow, B., Wahlqvist, M., & Flint, D. (1988). Food patterns of Australians at the turn of the century. In S. Truswell & M. Wahlqvist (Eds.), Food habits in Australia (pp. 60–75). Melbourne: Heinemann.Google Scholar
  38. Thomson, D. (1999). How history is failing our families. Family Matters, 52, 12–18.Google Scholar
  39. Veugelers, P., & Fitzgerald, A. (2005). Prevalence of risk factors for childhood overweight and obesity. Canadian Medical Association Journal, 173(6), 607–613.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Walker, R. B., & Roberts, D. C. K. (1988). Colonial food habits. In A. Truswell & L. Wahlquist (Eds.), Food habits in Australia, proceedings of the first Deakin/Sydney universities symposium on Australian nutrition (pp. 40–59). North Balwyn: Rene Gordon.Google Scholar
  41. Williams, M. (1985). Australia in the 1930s. Sydney: Trocadero Publishing.Google Scholar
  42. Worsley, A., Blasche, R., Ball, K., & Crawford, D. (2003). Income differences in food consumption in the 1995 Australian national nutrition survey. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 57, 1198–1211.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Wyn, J., & Woodman, D. (2006). Generation, youth and social change in Australia. Journal of Youth Studies, 9(5), 495–514.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Cathy Banwell
    • 1
  • Dorothy Broom
    • 1
  • Anna Davies
    • 1
  • Jane Dixon
    • 1
  1. 1.National Center for Epidemiology & Population HealthAustralian National UniversityCanberraAustralia

Personalised recommendations