11/24/2010 02:00 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

This Week's HuffPost Family Dinner Download: Giving Thanks While Many Americans Go Hungry

In her new book, The Family Dinner, Laurie David talks about the importance of families making a ritual of sitting down to dinner together, and how family dinners offer a great opportunity for meaningful discussions about the day's news. "Dinner," she says, "is as much about digestible conversation as it is about delicious food."

We couldn't agree more. So HuffPost has joined with Laurie to launch a new feature we're calling HuffPost Family Dinner Downloads. Every Friday afternoon, just in time for dinner, our editors highlight one of the most compelling news stories of the week -- stories that will spark a lively discussion among the whole family.

The family can gather around the laptop, smartphone, or iPad -- or just print out the post and pass it around the table. Each Dinner Download will end with a question or two that we hope will get everyone thinking and sharing their thoughts, feelings, and opinions.

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This week we celebrate Thanksgiving -- a nation coming together for coast-to-coast family dinners -- and putting thoughts on food front and center.

And while most of us will celebrate with heaping plates of turkey, stuffing, pumpkin pie and all the traditional fixings, a lot of Americans will struggle to get enough to eat. Did you know that 50 million Americans are often unable to put food on their tables -- the most in years?

And did you know that the average American family throws out at least $1,350 worth of food every year? To give you an idea how much food that is, picture the 90,000 seat Rose Bowl in Southern California (here's a photo). Now imagine that giant stadium filled to the brim not with football fans, but with food. Tons and tons of food. That is how much food America wastes every single day. Yep, you read that right: every single day. The thought of that is enough to spoil anyone's appetite.

How can a country that is facing an obesity crisis, also have so many people going hungry? What kinds of things do you think we should do to make sure everyone in America has enough to eat? Have you wasted food this year? Do you think most people you know take having three meals a day (and a snack or two!) for granted? Do you sometimes put more on your plate than you need, and end up throwing food away? When was the last time you were really hungry? How did it make you feel? Are there kids at your school who you think sometimes don't have enough to eat? Do you think it's their fault?

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To see last week's Family Dinner Download, click here.

Subscribe to receive HuffPost Family Dinner Downloads by email every Friday afternoon.

For more tips and recipes, check out The Family Dinner: Great Ways to Connect with Your Kids, One Meal at a Time by Laurie David and Kirstin Uhrenholdt.