Last Night’s Dinner

7:30 AM During breakfast (yes, dinner starts at breakfast in my house), I transfer frozen chicken thighs from freezer to fridge and watch in awe as Phoebe prepares her own lunch for the first time. (Andy and I have sworn to each other that the enabling is over, but ask me about this again in a week.) Pride fades to annoyance as girls argue again over a pair of neon green socks.

8:00 Buses, trains, drop-offs, kisses. See you tonight!

~ Ten hours later ~

6:45 Late start to the girls’ home (Bless you, O God of Sports Scheduling) lacrosse game. Eagles vs. Garnets tie 10-10. (At least we think that was the score — at this age, even the ref loses track after a certain point.)

7:45 Do our best to divert daughters from the fund-raising bake sale and ice cream truck strategically positioned right at the field exit. Fail. Two brownies (baked by me, by the way, and then purchased by Andy for a dollar each) will apparently be tonight’s appetizer.

7:50 Pile into car. Immediately start fending off requests to go out for pizza. It’s late. I’m starving. Please! We are just tired enough to concede, until the backseat becomes a warzone, the girls can’t agree on which pizza place to patronize — old-school vs. “artisanal” — and within minutes, we are headed home in the direction of my thawing chicken.

8:10 Andy pan-fries that chicken, noting that, as usual, I’ve thawed about enough to feed two squirrels. He pops a few of those Trader Joe’s Pastry Pups into the oven for the girls. (OK, who are we kidding, we stole at least four when girls weren’t looking — those things are sick). I boil some fat asparagus (four minutes, then shock in ice water) picked up at Union Square’s Greenmarket earlier that afternoon, top with one avocado (sliced), a mustardy vinaigrette, and a pile of crispy shallots (aka rich man’s French’s fried onions; aka fairy dust, etc.) that, frankly, were better than any artisanal pizza. Both girls, miraculously, agree. (To make: Using your fingers, toss thin shallot slices with flour and salt, then fry in canola oil over medium-low heat until crispy — about 8-10 minutes — before removing with a slotted spoon to drain on a paper towel.)

8:40 Dinner.

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13 Comments

jill melton

I love this post! Just like my house, but told in a much more, umm, generous manner. My son always wants a milkshake (Dairy Queen cookies and cream to be exact) after lacrosse or basketball or now, a golf match. And since he’s 13 and built like a piece of linguine, I concede without a bit of guilt. Love your house. Jill

Reply
Ellen @ CheapCooking

I remember those days. My girls swam and came home starving and wet. I became the master at getting dinner “almost” ready so I could finish it off while they showered. I was lucky in that they walked to/from swim practice so I could be in the kitchen.

Reply
Murphy

This makes me feel better because sometimes I feel like I’m the only one who has dinner so late. ‘

Also those lax socks are so cute!!

Reply
Melissa

Love to see that our house is not the only one eating so late.

I struggle with the what to feed them between school and the game/practice that pushed dinner out so late in the first place. We have tried eating dinner early, which basically means I need to provide two dinners one at 4:30 and then another at 8:30/9:00. The kids have a love/hate relationship with this solution. They aren’t hungry all evening but they are to full for the sports event.

Any ideas on snacks/tied overs so they have enough energy to make through sports until the late dinner is ready?

Reply
Bea

My 6th grader just started making her own lunch too. I forced myself to let go when I found her completely uneaten lunch, made by me, still in her lunch bag at the end of the day. It is nearly impossible for me to resist the urge to make her lunch too (because I am still making lunch for my 6 year old) but hang tough on this one because freedom from this love hate chore is a good thing. My daughter doesn’t choose what I would have made for her but her choices are surprisingly good. Just know that you have laid the best possible lunch making foundation for her. It’s hard to watch them grow up but I am not going to lie – I love the extra 10 minutes I have gained each night.

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Nicole

Hold fast with the lunch packing thing – it’s liberating! I do facilitate with cut up veggies/fruit and leftovers in small bowls (which I also use), but they have all done theirs all year. And there are days I shake my head and thing, “ugh!” when I see what they pack (i.e, 2 granola bars, carrots, apple, string cheese). But I also think that on some days my own packed lunch isn’t the most wonderful either!!

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Elizabeth | threebeansonastring.com

My boys too have said goodbye to an opportunity when bickering broke out. It’s reassuring to see another mother’s everyday effort (and it is an effort) to get dinner on the table. Eating late might not be ideal, but eating real food and eating it together makes up for it.

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Cynthia

I think Melissa’s question is the one needing Jenny’s expertise…how to feed the kids something healthy and substantial between 3 and game time and then part two post-game. It’s shocking to think of young children being out until 8:30 without having had a meal since lunch!

Reply
Robe de plage

I love this post! Just like my house, but told in a much more, umm, generous manner. My son always wants a milkshake (Dairy Queen cookies and cream to be exact) after lacrosse or basketball or now, a golf match.

Reply