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What’s For Dinner?

27 May

The most pesky and persistent question that you can count on showing up every day. Single. Day. What’s for Dinner? Ironically as you grow up you shift from the question asker to the one expected to produce results on cue. Regardless of the full time job, the second job, the family obligations, or the dry cleaning that was forgotten (last month…eek), the dreaded question arrives every afternoon.

This is why they created 4:00 tea and cookies—to prolong and procrastinate the answer to the question. While the options seem very simple and limited (takeout, eat out, or cook), it’s much more complicated than that. Did you remember to thaw the fish? Are there any side dishes to go along with it? Will the frozen peas from last winter suffice? In our household, if any one of these questions yield a less than positive answer, the pizza man will be on his way. Sad, but true. When it’s 6:30 and there’s half a piece of chicken leftover from last night, choices are limited.

An entire industry (or many) is devoted to solving this dilemma. There are “magic” cookbooks like Rachel Ray’s Dinner in 30 minutes, and the Martha Stewart wanna-be equivalent. There are “magic” restaurants like Dream Dinners, who promise a home cooked meal, but rarely succeed and manage to drain your wallet anyway. There are “magic” cookers, but how many times can you eat crock-pot flavored pot roast? Because, let’s admit it, your choices are limited as to what “liquid” your perfectly marinated meat will cook in. Everything ends up tasting like chicken broth (insert cooking liquid of choice).

What’s worse, is that not answering the “What’s for Dinner” question in a responsible manner (Oh, we’re having tilapia and peas in about 20 minutes), leads to low relationship self-esteem. In spite of the strongest efforts for the female race to evolve past having to make the dinner every night, something deep down feels just a little bit bad if dinner is not planned. It may be old-fashioned, but it’s an inescapable feeling that even the best Chicken Lo Mein takeout can’t squander. Bummer. Oh yeah, and I haven’t solved anything here—What is for dinner?

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