With two teenagers living at home, food shopping, prepping meals and cooking took on a life of its own. One-stop-shopping was near impossible, as each family member had different tastes, preferences and food sensitivities. This necessitated frequent trips to the supermarket, butcher, fish store, produce market and health food shop. While I generally cooked one primary meal for dinner, there were often variations to accommodate each person (for example, whole wheat pasta for my son and gluten-free pasta for my husband.) A large container of expensive berries would literally disappear in minutes. Every other day I was replenishing our supply of bananas. One might have thought we were raising monkeys.
And, with all the children’s fitness and sports activities, I had to keep an ever-ready supply of protein— including chicken, turkey and burgers— in the fridge at all times. Food shopping was a daily activity. When the children were young, I would typically cook four nights, then relax as we enjoyed “The Week in Review” on the 5th, and sometimes even the 6th night. Once the children were in high school the “week in review” became obsolete. No matter how much food I cooked, there were virtually no leftovers. If there were any, my son (who despite his tall, lean body eats like he’s a 240-pound linebacker) would consume them all for a “snack” the next day.
Now that our children are in college, the entire market-table-dining dynamic has changed. This past fall, my husband and I began dining alone regularly for the first time since we were newly married. I will admit that those first few nights sitting at our “Table for Two” were a little disorienting, with two empty seats at the table. But soon, we grew to embrace and actually look forward to our table for two. Sometimes we even open up a bottle of wine and really go wild! This has become one of our favorite times—a small chunk out of the day when we can relax, catch up and talk about whatever is on our minds. From work to our children, health issues, extended families, the dog, sports, vacations, politics and finances, we cover it all and relish this time alone together.
Having a husband who is flexible (at least in the eating department) and who enjoys whatever I prepare makes things easier as well. Now I make a home-cooked meal 2-3 nights a week and we do the “week in review” or dine out the other nights. If we run out of berries or bananas or, God forbid, don’t have enough protein in the house, I buy more the next day. Or not. We can always go out for dinner spontaneously. Waiter, we’d like a table for two, please…