Dinner: What is the big mystery?
Once upon a time, your mother sat at the kitchen table with a piece of
paper and a pencil and she planned meals for the week.
She calculated how many quarts of milk your family would drink; how
many loaves of bread to buy and how many pounds of hamburger and
chicken she would use to feed all of you. She would estimate how
many potatoes or how many packages of noodles (high falutin’ pasta
and had not been invented yet) to buy.
She would need to create seven dinners for your family that week.
Dinner would be comprised of a starch, meat of some kind, and a
vegetable. Noodles with a meat sauce was a quick, cost-effective and
healthy dinner. Some people served white bread and butter at the
Artfully, she consulted cookbooks and magazines and spoke to
friends, neighbors, the butcher about their recipes- and what they
served for dinner.
Women shared recipes:
With scissors in hand, they they clipped recipes out of the newspaper
and magazines. They discovered, invented, and shared recipes.
White rice was a staple
You didn’t have to be Irish to appreciate hearty servings of potatoes –
they (in their four classic forms: baked, fried, scalloped, or mashed)
would round out many dinners. Butter was considered healthy.
Birdseye invented frozen vegetables- so away with the canned
vegetables – and in with the frozen. Yay! Variety!
And in those days, you might have a green salad for dinner served
withe something exotic like 1000 Island Salad dressing. Or, for a
special occasion, you might have had canned fruit on iceberg lettuce.
You, or your sister, might have set the table. Someone poured the
milk. Everyone drank milk or water at dinnertime.
Dinner was served at a table. Everyone sat down together and had
dinner. Together. Everyone ate the same thing. Some people pushed
the vegetables around the plate; some people refused to eat Brussel
Sprouts or Lima beans.
After dinner the table was cleared – somebody washd the dishes.
Then the kids had their baths, finished their homework and went to
Could you watch TV on a school night? Depends where you lived.
Mom was probably making a mental list of what to fix for breakfast
the next morning: what to pack for lunch- peanut butter and jelly or
bologna? Dinner would be a snap… she already had the week planned!