February 2, 2010

What's for Dinner?

What's for dinner?

How many times a day do you think that question is asked?  A million?  A billion, give or take a couple million?  I'd say that all of us, regardless of what culture we're acclimated to, has an evening meal. 

If we all do it, then why is it so hard to figure out what to have?  Is it a matter of being so tired at the end of the day, that we just don't want to think about it?  Are we so overwhelmed with choices at the grocery store that we don't know where to begin?  Do so many of us have dietary restrictions that it limits our choices as to what we can eat?

Just a couple weeks ago there was a story on TV about a Texas family who have their meal plans all laid out for the entire YEAR.  Yes, they know what they're going to have on August 16.  You can see the menu here.
Okay, maybe that's a bit extreme.  But maybe we would all eat healthier meals if we planned them ahead of time. 

And whatever happened to certain foods that people would eat regularly?  Was it Gen X or the Boomers who decided that aspic was disgusting (and for the record, it is.)?  Or how about Spam?  Does anyone eat Spam (or its lesser known counterpart, Treet) anymore?  And let's talk about vegetables.  A restaurant in Fond du Lac called Schreiner's is a statewide landmark and has been a part of our city since 1938.  And judging by its menu, not a whole lot has changed.  For example, on certain days you can get creamed rutabagas as your vegetable side.  Rutabagas!!  Have you ever had them?  Lord knows they were never served at our house, mainly because my dad, who you'd think would've liked that sort of thing because he grew up in the Thirties, really didn't like many vegetables at all.  So I gave them a shot.  And you know what?  They were really good.  Of course, they were creamed so that may have had something to do with it.  But Schreiner's also has more "elderly" fare like liver & onions.  I never had that growing up, either, and I found I love that dish as well.

You might be saying, "Wow!  We can't eat those things anymore; they're all so high in fat and full of cholesterol!".  Well, I have a (very medically unfounded) theory about that.  I think that processed foods are what are making us heavier, not necessarily fatty foods.  I think back to when I was a kid, in the 70's, and there were a couple of people on the block that were really heavy.  Now think about your neighbors - chances are that the heavy ones are in the majority (and yeah, I can count myself in that majority, too).  We're eating a lot of fast food (sometimes all three meals) or frozen pizzas, when those things used to be a Friday night treat.  We're eating Lean Cuisines and ready-made stuff instead of from scratch.  All of it has high fructose corn syrup (HFCS).  I think there may be a connection.  And I don't think our "scratch" foods have to be Certified Organic, either; I just think we have to be smarter about what we eat, however hard that may be.

So if you haven't eaten yet tonight, there's some food for thought.  Now, what's for dinner?  :D


  1. Sadly, I had cereal for dinner because I was too busy working on art projects, and Glen had a late lunch and wasn't hungry. If I had been less lazy, maybe I would have fried up some Spam! :D

    Seriously tho' now that I'm doing the office job thing, we're having more frozen pizzas than we should, alas.

  2. Carolyn - we call those "fend for yourself" nights at the ol' Kolstad Ranch. :D One of the wonderful/horrible things I discovered in the past couple years is frozen pizza - I never had it growing up, ever, but WOW! There are so many fantastic varieties to choose from! It's evil and wonderful at the same tame. Curse you, Palermo! :D

  3. We had Palermo for dinner tonight :D (But I feel like I'm supporting a local business at least, and their pizzas are pretty good :o) Tomorrow I'll make something healthy & nourishing from scratch!! Really!

  4. timely post, considering I just ate microwave popcorn for dinner tonight! (I drank a glass of OJ though, so that made it somewhat healthy! ha!!) I never gave it much thought growing up, but now I really admire my mom for cooking from scratch 3x/day, 7 days a week... it was an unusual "treat" for us to have a frozen pizza for dinner when I grew up. (and do people do the "meatloaf Monday, fish on Tuesday, chicken Wednesday, etc." sort of planning anymore?? I think that might make it easier for me, but have a feeling I wouldn't want to have it that planned out, let alone an entire year!!)

  5. Oh, Jennifer - how I've been there SO many times! :D As for the cooking from scratch, I don't know how our moms did it, either. I think it may have been easier back then because there were FEWER choices - sometimes, deciding is the hardest part!