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Wednesday, December 10, 2014

DINNER WHEN I WAS GROWING UP


DINNER WHEN I WAS GROWING UP
When I was growing up, my mom never asked what you wanted for dinner.  You ate what was put in front of you or you went hungry.  There was never one dinner for grownups, and one for the kids.  We almost never had take-out.  Once in a great while we ordered Chinese, which was probably the only take-out available. 

The only time we were offered a choice was on TV dinner night.  I preferred Swanson’s fried chicken or the Salisbury steak.

We always had dinner in the dining room.  The family always had dinner together; if dad was late from work we waited.

Children set the table, children cleared the table, children helped clean the dishes.

Conversations were mostly between mom and dad.  Mom did talk to the children from time to time:

Before ten years old.

“Eat, it won’t kill you.”

“Just try a taste.”

“You know, children in China are starving and would love to have anything to eat.”

“One bite or no dessert.”

“Don’t just push it around the plate.”

“Fine, but don’t go looking for anything after dinner.”

After ten years old:

“I thought you didn’t like that?”

“Slow down, you’ll get a stomach ache.”

“Take a breath!”

“Save some for your father.”

In High School:

“Can you at least wait until I serve it?”

“Where are you going?”

Home from college:

“At least stay for dinner.”

“Here, take some back with you.”

Visiting with my own children:

“Eat, it won’t kill you.”

“Just try a taste.”

“You know, children in China are starving and would love to have anything to eat.”

“One bite or no dessert.”

“Don’t just push it around the plate.”

“Fine, but don’t go looking for anything after dinner.”


Family dinners today are not the same.  Children are fed at different times, often different meals for each child.  Dinner is in the kitchen.  Tables aren’t set.  Adults can’t talk through children’s interruptions.  Dinner is centered around TV, i-phones and i-pads.

I don’t know if this is a bad thing.  I think it is, but usually old people think different is bad, often it is just different.

Time will tell. 

21 comments:

  1. About the same at my house when I was growing up, too. Today we don't eat dinner so much as just "graze". My mom gave me the same "there are starving kids in China..." spiel, too. My snappy comeback was, "name one!". My dinner-table humor was not well received.

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  2. When I was little I buried a lot of food in ketchup.

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  3. i'm not a parent or grandparent, so i try to hush when it comes to how kids are treated as 'equals' these days. oops...

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  4. I see we were raised in the same fashion. When I'd hear about the starving kids in China I'd always think...then send this slop to them. I never uttered that mind you, but I always thought this every single time.

    Have a fabulous day. ☺

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  5. I remember my mother mentioning those starving children in China and I said, "Oh yeah, name just two of them!" She wasn't pleased, not that I was a picky eater, unless it came to creamed corn that looked like vomit but my dad loved.

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  6. When my daughter and son-in-law first appeared with children and told us the children's menu my sister stepped back and said she was not a short order cook. I believe for several years they fed the children in the car. Now the childrlen live in the house of no short order cooks they eat meals at the table with the adults. They even help prepare them. Of course they set and clear the table and do the dishes. It's the natural order and should be preserved.

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  7. Gee... I coulda written that post.
    A lot of times, on weekends, we would actually have three meals as a family.

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  8. From an old post:

    We, too, had dinner as a family but no subject was ever off limits at our dinner table. Once Nameless asked what a homosexual was. We weren’t sure how to explain this to an 8 year old. We told her that while most men love women, there were some men who loved other men. We said this was the way God made them & it was fine. We asked her if she understood & she said, “Yeah—you mean like a lesbian, only a man!”

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  9. Same for me - if you didn't eat it you went hungry. There was a LOT of mince involved.

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  10. I'm happy to report that my grandkids are eating meals at the table, and observing basic table manners (most of the time). Of course they are still under age 10, so we'll see what develops.

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  11. With my kids, we always ate together. In Frank's family - one went to the basement to eat.. one to his room.. Frank to the television. Now that it's just Frank and me, there's always the struggle. I set the table and he would prefer to bring his meal downstairs and watch the game. I find that incredibly wrong. And lonely.

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  12. Never had the regular sit-down dinners. Mom and Dad worked different shifts until he passed, then Mom was so busy chasing/raising 3 boys she just made something and left it on the stove. We'd just eat whilst running through the kitchen or grab it and go to the living room and some TV trays.

    When we first married we did the whole at-the-table thing right up until the daughters had nightly junk to go to when we broke down and did the 'dinners made, eat whenever' thing and it's stuck since then

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  13. As kids, we had no choice in any matter. A tiny house + one table in the kitchen = if it's on your plate and not moving, eat it.

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  14. Same story when I was a kid. Except it was not starving children in China. It was starving children in Biafra.

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  15. If only some starving children had flown in to eat my peas! I had to sit at the table until bedtime and eat them before I could get up. Dishes were done. Lights were turned out. Still I sat there. Looking at the peas. In the dark. I don't know what warm peas taste like, because I haven't eaten them since, but they can't taste much better than cold peas at 9:00 p.m.

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  16. I always liked sitting down to dinner with the kids when they were younger. Son might have liked it too when he was living with us, even at 25 years old, he would text and ask what time dinner was. It is something to come together at the end of the day as a family and break bread together :)

    betty

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  17. "Children are fed at different times, often a different meal for each child."
    You're kidding, surely?? That can't be true.
    Dinners when I was growing up were the same as yours, we ate what mum put on the table, the only takeaway food available was fish and chips and we very rarely had that, more in summer when it was just too hot to cook.
    Same with my kids through the 70s and 80s, they ate what I put on the table. Unless it was a birthday, then the birthday child chose the menu, including what kind of cake I would make. Fast forward, and my grandchildren ate what my daughter put on the table....

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  18. Sounds like dinner used to be at our house - I remember sitting looking at liver for several hours on many occasions - I never did manage to eat it. We also never had take away as we lived in the middle of nowhere so a special treat was to go into the nearest town and have KFC a couple of times a year. We do still eat together and no TV is allowed while we eat but I am guilty of offering different meals if someone doesn't like something.

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  19. I'll never forget my brother saying he could not eat green beans because he would throw up. My mother made him eat two bites and he puked all over his plate. Dinner was fun as a kid.

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    Replies
    1. It was common to force children to eat something even if they said it made then sick...that I believe was a big mistake.

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