The New Meaning of Dinner

This morning at the gym I was watching one of those WalMart commercials for back to school and there was this child on a bus looking back at his mom and she was waving goodbye, and I started weeping.  At the gym.  This is true, if pathetic.  I don’t even shop at WalMart.  (I’m a Target gal, myself.)

How does this shameless elliptical trainer display of emotion relate to cooking?  Well, I suppose it doesn’t, but we are all adjusting to the “new normal” of mommy working full-time, which means that, like most dual-income families (I imagine) the time we have together during the work week is mealtime.  Babyman gets up around 7 and we’re straight into breakfast, with time for a book or two before washing of the face and into the school clothes and out the door.  When we get home, there is the livingroom-floor wrestling/tickle match and pleas to watch Thomas the Tank Engine…but really it’s only about 30 minutes before we are all at the dinner table to chat and make a giant mess.

If mealtime was an obsession before, it’s downright sacred now, the only family time we have between daycare and the sacred Four B’s (bath, book, beverage, bedtime).

My husband and I lived in London for two years P.B. (Pre-Babyman), and I was fortunate at that time to work with a clatch of wonderful colleagues who were all hopeless foodies and excellent home chefs.  I would often hear one on the phone with her nanny, asking her to start The Barefoot Contessa‘s butternut squash soup as it would take a while to cook, and another would come to work and discuss her family-meal experiments including, at one point, Elvis’ favorite ham, which is apparently braised in Coca-Cola, of all things.

At the time, one of them made regular use of the rather wonderful website Saving Dinner.  I hadn’t thought about it much since but it warrants another look.  For very busy parents (aren’t we all?) — and particularly those who are intimidated by the prospect of cooking for a family — this is really a great resource.  Menu planners, shopping lists, kitchen basics…it’s all here.  Let’s hear it for the family table.


  1. Good stuff, Jaime…I would become a follower, but I don't have a google, twitter, or yahoo account. It's a miracle I was even able to find your blog…

    ps. I thought the crying at commercials ceased after pregnancy…I guess I am in for a longer ride than previously expected.

  2. I cry every time I see that SPCA commercial and I am not pregnant – so I guess we're all just softies.

    Also, stick to Target. I have been to Walmart several times after moving to LA and I regret them all.

Leave a Comment