It means immediate family to most, plus extended family for holidays.
It also means the honor of cooking for fellow cooks and staff at a restaurant. I did that during my one-month internship after cooking our meal to family and friends a meal at the James Beard House in NYC for our culinary school graduation.
At my brief unpaid internship there would be an excess of just-caught wild salmon, or just picked chanterelle mushrooms and I’d have to make do with anything we had in the walk-in refrigerator. Fishers, farmers and foragers made their way to our door and some of it became our “family meal.”
No need to worry about me going on “Chopped” or “Top Chef.” I took a job after that, back home, did one shift and had a few hours the next day to look for a better job. I was offered one. They called me a Cadillac in a VW factory. Handling my folder, sun glasses and car keys I tripped up the stair, broke a finger and couldn’t use my knives for six weeks.
So I became a consultant for arts and education non-profits and decided to work in only one kitchen, my own. Now family meal means my husband, and we usually sit on the sofa, this weekend we watched Star Wars VII. Of course our old dog had already eaten but was hanging around in case something dropped. That is our immediate family.
I made a pork tenderloin, s&p, grainy mustard slathered above it, and hard apple cider placed in a zip bag in a bowl (in case it leaks) in the frig overnight. Potato salad from small, boiled colored potatoes with mayo and tarragon, and small romaine leaves and tomatoes for a green salad. I placed the pork in a cast iron pan and seared it then put it in the oven until done to taste. I’ve cheater instructions for that so you don’t have to go out and buy a thermometer pen. Sorry, Alton Brown. My husband uses one for the grill but I go by feel.