The Dinner Things in Life
What do you do when your children expect dinner EVERY night?
I have a friend who posted on Facebook that she was making breakfast for dinner. (Yes, these are the types of things we moms happily post on Facebook.) My friend was psyched because it was an easy meal to make; and her family was equally thrilled because it was just as yummy to devour. (Pancakes with fresh blueberries and sausage, you know you want some.)
“SCORE,” she wrote.
Almost immediately she started getting responses from friends who were practically jumping up and down (and drooling) over the idea. Pancakes for dinner? No downside to that. I remember when my mother would whip up breakfast foods for supper. We’d feast on Oscar Meyer bacon, eggs, biscuits from a tube, and peaches from a can. We were so happy you would have thought it was Christmas morning. My mom was quite pleased as well, it was a simple and economical way to feed six rapidly elongating children.
In my current household, we eat omelets for supper at least once a week. I use up whatever veggies and cheese we have in the fridge, and present the results on fancy dinner plates under the glittering lights of our dining room chandelier. It makes for a colorful and delicious meal that takes all of about seven minutes to prepare and three minutes to clean up. Everyone’s content, especially when I throw in some cinnamon buns from a tube—then they’re downright giddy. Score.
As the oldest daughter in my family, I would often help my mother make dinner in our large country kitchen with the brown and cream accents and big, oval oak table with matching chairs. I remember Mom saying she didn’t mind preparing supper every evening, it was the planning that drove her crazy—coming up with a variety of sufficient, healthful meal ideas that pleased everyone, and then making sure the necessary ingredients existed somewhere in the house. That’s no cake walk when you’ve got a family of eight to feed. I have only half the family she did, and I know exactly how she felt. As much as I’d love to have a personal chef, I’d gleefully settle for a benevolent supper fairy to plan my meals for me and provide me with a coordinating grocery list organized by aisle. OK, if she could do the shopping as well, I’d joyfully gift her with a rainbow painted unicorn to help her cart the groceries home and some finely milled glitter dust to strengthen her wings so she could stock the high shelves.
I guess the biggest hurdle I face is that my children want dinner EVERY night. And they usually anticipate a meal in the morning and afternoon as well. Seriously. I’m not making this up. I could break my back making Rare Roast Beast for dinner with homemade who-pudding and an exceptionally satisfying who-hash, and still, the next morning, my children would emerge from their little who-beds expecting MORE FOOD.
Even if I was Wonder Woman, Martha Stewart and Julia Childs all rolled into one, I'd still have to face the fact that my 1930s Brookline kitchen, while appealingly vintage and adorably accesorized, is about the size of a nickel. My refrigerator is one of those shallow "space saving" units that can barely accomodate a frozen pizza, let alone a week's worth of nourishment. And my pantry, although recently redone, doesn't have the girth to withstand anything with the words "bulk-sized" printed across it, which rules out just about everything from those magical, mystical warehouse stores I visit in my dreams.