Dinner: A Timeline

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?

5 responses to “Dinner: A Timeline

  1. Whoa….this is kind of scary to read, because we are on the same timeline apparently!

    I totally relate–hurray for Saturday night takeout after bedtime! (Although we usually do this on Fridays–at least there’s one difference! And my 4 aren’t all boys like yours–although we did very nearly name our firstborn Jack Henry!)

    Visiting from SCL, btw.

  2. Sometimes I think if the boys never ate in front of me again I would like it. If I pay too much attention it grosses me out so much! No matter how many times (4000 so far?) we tell Wm not to put his fingers in his mouth, he does. No matter how many times I serve Chris a veg, he has to whine before he eats it. SInce the boys and I frequently eat just the 3 of us on weeknights, I find that if I read or surf a little as I eat, I see less and still sort of participate in the conversation. Sometimes it’s all I can do to keep sanity in place at 7pm!

    Oh, and pre-kids I think we ate at the real table maybe twice. Dinner was always on the coffee table around 8pm after work; we’d swap stories and surf through TV shows. I think Boyd shed a tear when I gave that hideous old coffee table to Goodwill before our last move. Very good memories!

    • Ha! I love knowing that we aren’t the only ones who practically never sat at a table to eat a meal before kids!

      And yes, boys are gross at eating. I keep thinking, at what point between now and you taking a girl out on a date are you going to figure out that table manners are not merely a suggestion?

  3. I’m confused by 1995 – 1997.

  4. Love the Saturday idea! And what ‘ya know, we have almost the same time line!

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