Late-1970s-late 1980s: dinner nearly every night with my family. Few responsibilities in regards to food preparation. The child of a good cook who filled our bellies with casseroles, veggies, and rolls, but who, in general, does not appreciate the work that goes into making a home-cooked meal for a family of 6.
Early 1990s: high school student with 1 or 2 jobs and 2+ extra curricular activities at all times, dinner was often at work or heated up when I got home from whatever activity I had just finished.
1995-1997: dorm food for dinner. Big groups of friends sitting around long tables, sharing average meals and fabulous stories, and potentially, honing their boy-stalking skills. Occasionally, dinner with the boyfriend somewhere besides the dorm.
1997-1999: dinner in our apartment, when possible. 4 Roommates that like to cook together, but don’t have the time to very often. Dinner often consists of a bagel and cream cheese brought from home to eat between class and work, or a picked-up sandwich eaten while walking around campus.
1999-2002: as young marrieds who both work full-time and make not a lot of money, dinner often consists of a plate of pasta, a salad or vegetable, some bread, and a glass of soda, eaten while sitting on the living room floor at the coffee table, watching TV. Totally comfortable, relaxing experience, and a great way to end a long day of work by just being together. Dinner out when we could afford it.
late 2002-mid 2004: 1 baby in the house doesn’t really change mealtime that much for a while, though eating happens much more on-the-go.
By 2005, though…whoa, things have changed.
2005-present: by now, you’ve procreated multiple times. Dinner* consists of the following: telling small humans, “yes, you do have to eat that if you’re interested in dinner;” “no, I will never make you something else, this is what’s for dinner;” telling people how many bites they have to have to be able to eat dessert; shoveling mouthfuls of whatever you’ve made into your own mouth while saying all of the above, and realizing later that you barely tasted your food.
Which is why Matt and I, on Saturday nights, often opt to feed the kids something, put them to bed, and do carryout from one of a few of our favorite local restaurants.
Hooray…it’s Saturday 🙂
*Don’t get me wrong; I still think family mealtime is very, very important. It’s just not always pleasant, ya know?