Family Dinner: Book It!

April 23rd, 2010 · 1 Comment · Dinner, Kitchenlightenment, Rituals

Short of actually feeding you and your family a meal at my kitchen table, I can’t imagine there is anything more satisfying than hearing about the successes you’ve all had using recipes and advice from DALS. Last night my neighbor Bonnie left a message for me — there was unmistakable triumph in her voice as she described the dredging stations she had set up for Homemade Chicken Fingers that she planned on serving her kids. (“No chicken nuggets for us tonight!”) At an event honoring my mother-in-law in Virginia last week, I sat next to the nicest woman named Courtney who told me her husband was at home making Buttermilk Oven-Fried Chicken for her daughters. Kiera, a friend from high school who I haven’t seen or talked to in two decades let me know via facebook that Todd’s Minty Peas were a huge hit at her house. (Btw, based on the traffic report from that post, I’m thinking the keywords “minty peas” might be more poplular than “tiger woods affair.” Thanks Todd!!!)

The other thing I’m hearing a lot these days is this: Do you actually, truly, for real sit down with your family every night for dinner?

The answer is yes — for the most part. But… Do I sit down to a fresh-from-the-farmer’s market meal every night? No. Do my kids eat the same things that we do every night? No. Are both you and Andy home from work in time for dinner every night? No.

You may remember my “two out of three” rule for family dinner. It’s incredibly rare for everything to work out perfectly — and the way around this, I’ve found, is to: 1) lower your standards and 2) plow ahead anyway. Sometimes, it even means deciding on the night a few days ahead of time and then actually writing it in the calendar (or the chalkboard in my case) to give it as much weight as the soccer practice or the 6:00

budget meeting. I’m not talking as matter of course, here.  I’m talking just one night next week. Shall we do it together?

What to make…what to make. Plan ahead for that one, too. Choose something you can pull out of your pocket — a meal that you’ve never needed a recipe for if at all possible. Or, how about at this weekend’s shop, you pick up these ingredients: orecchiette (or any small pasta), 1-2 links of sweet pork sausage, some broccoli (or peas), and Parmesan and check back in on Monday for a superfast pasta recipe that I’ll be making for my family, too. It will be almost like we are all eating dinner together. Almost.

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1 response so far ↓

  • 1 Meinhart // Oct 24, 2011 at 12:19 pm

    I’ve started this since my last birthday. I find it’s embarrassingly easy, and the impact such a week menu has is astoundingly great.

    Oddly enough, the idea wasn’t new to me… I think it’s the photos with your posts that finally convinced me, so thank you.

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