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Who’s in the Kitchen?

(Please note: this was first posted on my new website YourBiography2.com.)

No one is in the kitchen, not even Dinah. Nor is anyone making dinner, not even “simple, easy, everyday meals,” per chef Mark Bittman in an October issue of Time.

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No one’s in the kitchen. No one’s home. Photo by: designbuildinhabit

That’s a shame for a lot of reasons.

As Bittman points out, it’s so much healthier to eat at home. A home-cooked meal, compared to the same served in a restaurant, has two hundred fewer calories. It’s less expensive, too.

Sure, eating out is convenient. That’s why fast-food restaurants are so popular. But, when was the last time you had a real conversation at MacDonald’s or Burger King or even Chipotle? Do you even remember your last meal in a fast food restaurant? Who were you with? What did you talk about? Did you try something new?

Currently, Del Webb, the retirement community developer, is running a slice-of-life commercial narrated by a young-looking senior citizen who proudly claims, “I never cooked Thai food in my life, and now I’m cooking it for twenty people.” Well, I used to laugh at the ad, thinking he was treating his guests no better than guinea pigs. Now, I think, why not?

Why not step out of your comfort zone? Why not learn a new skill and make new friends? As a personal historian, I’m all for creating memories, as well as recording the past.

By the way, those of you who didn’t catch my reference to “Dinah in the kitchen” probably never had the pleasure of singing “I’ve Been Working on the Railroad” around a campfire. You can make up for lost time by listening to Muffin cartoon characters here. I’m sure any resemblance to “Hell on Wheels” is purely coincidental.

© 2014 Susan Marg – All Rights Reserved

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What’s for Dinner?

(Please note: This was first posted on my new website YourBiography2.com.)

Today’s Parade magazine in the Sunday morning paper was all about “What America Eats.” It was as loaded with statistics as a twice-baked potato is with calories.

Fish tacos with mango. Photo by: jpellgen

Fish tacos with mango. Photo by: jpellgen

In some cases, I was with the majority and, others, with the minority. For example, 71% of us take supplements. That’s my husband and me. He meticulously puts out our supplements to take with meals. If we’re eating out, he puts them in his and her old film canisters to take with us.

However, only 12% have a sweet after dinner. We fall in this category, too – his influence. He saves room for dessert. As much as I like sweets, his portion is almost always larger than mine.

95% said they had started diets on either a Sunday or a Monday. Nope, that’s not me. I start diets every day of the week.

11% said they don’t have anything at all at breakfast. Nope, that’s not me either. I always have a cup or two of coffee.

The Parade article doesn’t go into how we eat. We’re all too aware that we don’t often sit down as a family at dinnertime anymore. Who has the time? As Marie Rudisill, also known as the Fruitcake Lady,  notes in her memoir Ask Me Anything:

“So much has changed since I was growing up or, even later, raising a family, and not necessarily for the better. That probably sounds like an old person’s point of view, but today, young or old, it’s rush, rush, rush. Go to school. Go to the office. Go to band practice or football practice or yoga. Go to the dentist. Cut the lawn. Wash the car. Do the laundry. Study, study, study. Pay bills. Pay attention. Meet that deadline. Work, work, work. And don’t forget to do your homework. Whew! Does that sound like a good way to live to you? Who has time to peel a carrot? Dice an onion? Chop up a melon? I guess no one, since everything now comes in little plastic containers already peeled, diced and chopped.”

Even as family rituals have changed, everyone has a favorite food or oft-visited restaurant. What are yours? They can be a meaningful part of a life or family history.

© 2014 Susan Marg – All Rights Reserved