For Baby Boomers and their parents, the kitchen was the most visited room in the house. At the kitchen table, everyone gathered most evenings from 5-7 to have dinner together and it wasn’t a holiday either.
Dinner time could be the only time of day the entire family could discuss daily events and it was not just an extra-curricular activity, it was a required family moment. This was a sacred time and missing it was not an option. My dinner time was always 6pm; not a minute before or after. If I was blocks away from my home, a cell phone alarm was not available to remind me when to return for dinner. On a warm summers evening or cold day in winter, my mother’s outdoor voice could be heard for blocks announcing that the dinner hour was approaching. A few children would hear the distant sounds of a dinner bell and you had better run in its direction.
Some were not reminded by their Mom or Dad screaming from the household porch or clanging the bell but were to show up at exactly the designated hour because that hour never changed regardless of illness or circumstances beyond control. There were serious consequences if arriving late or not at all.
Since most Moms were home, dinner time was their shining moment; one of Mom’s many talents along with organizing their children’s day and housekeeping. This was where they excelled at preparing mouthwatering recipes. Many meals followed a weekly plan that included special dinners on specific nights like Spagetti Tuesday and Meatloaf Thursday.
Meals were not popped in the microwave with help from Stouffers family size box. Jack’s Frozen Pizza and Swansons TV Dinners was an exception only if Mom was bedridden. Then the crock pot started to make its appearance.
Making homemade dinners in the 1980’s/ 1990’s, for a short time I was home making an historic meat loaf, pork chops with mushroom and cheddar cheese sauce and all day long spaghetti sauce but then I turned to the crockpot. Crockpot dinners included a variety of stews along with a few Hamburger helper meals thrown in.
Today it is the Instant Pot. My 31 year old son bought me one last year for Mothers Day making all day stews and even desserts in less than an hour. I must say it is the best
But why not relive family mealtime memories together by pulling out the oil-stained metal recipe box and leaf through the crinkled notecards along with yellowed newspaper articles of recipes long ago.
You may even find the recipe you were so proud when you asked Mom to contribute her best creation to be published in the PTA recipe book along with your friends. That contribution had made you a star and if she had won any ribbons, it would be a wonderful story to share with each other as you prepare. If you look closely behind the recipe box on the shelf, the book will be there, I guarantee it.