Wednesday, March 7, 2012

When did we stop cooking dinner?

I often post pictures of my meals on my Facebook page.  And I think about the women who, two generations ago, would just laugh at that and think why is that dumb girl posting her dinner on the internet.  I mean when did actually cooking a meal and eating it at home more than three nights a week become something amazing?

There are hundreds of blogs out there that give out recipes and tell you how to meal plan because honestly, we don't know how to meal plan and most of us probably only knew how to cook about 2-3 meals when we first "set up housekeeping".   When did cooking dinner go from being what you just knew how to do to something that needed to be taught?

I was trying to figure this out in my own life because my Grandma made it look pretty easy.  She could put a big spread on the table and it seemed like it just happened.  My great-grandma could cook for about a hundred people (with my aunts and cousins helping) and it looked like it was the easiest thing in the world.

My Grandma cooked breakfast and dinner everyday for a lot of years.  My grandpa thought it was horrible how I ate "cold" cereal for breakfast.  He would never do that.  He had to have bacon and eggs or gravy and biscuits.  My mom worked outside the home full time for most of my life and she did not cook.  I've heard rumors (from her) that she cooked when I was like 2 but ya know, I don't remember it.

My stepmom cooked for us because she did mostly stay home but she also had some at home jobs like babysitting and such.  We were only at her and my dad's house half the time and so we were at my mom's house the other half.

Somewhere between the Great Depression generation and the Baby Boom generation we lost the simple art of cooking and eating at home and I see a huge move to get back to that but it seems like a lot of us just don't know where to start.

I will tell you though that after having cooked many a meal at home I now have a greater appreciation for those women who just "made dinner happen" night after night, month after month and year after year.  I now see how difficult it really is.  Yet I also see how important it is.

What do you think?  When did we stop cooking dinner?



  1. I love that you find family meals valuable.

    Yes- our family meals can be crazy at times...and I wonder sometimes, why did I go to all this work for THIS??

    But, it is important because it brings everyone together. We eat dinner as a family every night. I wouldn't want it any other way. It's a time for us to re-connect, even though with 5 kids, it gets a little crazy.

    I don't know what happened to family meals, or 'the family' in general. We ate together as a family once or twice(in my life) ...that's about all I can remember. One of those times we had hamburgers. It was great.

    When Josh and I first got married we ate Hot Pockets and frozen chicken patties every night. But we ate together.

    Since then my cooking skills have evolved! But I still wonder why I never learned how to cook anything until I taught myself...something odd happened between the depression and baby boom...just don't quite know what.

  2. I'll never forget a few years ago on a visit to my husband's family, his Nana was commenting to me in the kitchen on how there were just so many meals, how it just didn't end. She wasn't complaining - just, you know, there are always hungry people and another meal to make! I thought it was so strange, like, she's been cooking and baking for her family and friends for YEARS, I figured she'd be "past" being tired of meal prep. I realized that sometimes you really do have to just suck it up and do it because you need to serve your family that way...and the meal prep may never end - for 80 years or more! Whoa. (And, I don't know how these people can afford to only cook 3 nights a week - wow!)

  3. Thanks for reminding me how important it is. I was cooking a big supper last night and thinking "I can see why people eat out a lot"....I was tired.

    My mom worked, but she always made an evening meal and we always ate together. It WAS important.

    But, she never really taught me how to cook, so before the kiddos came, it was fast food most of the time around here.

  4. I come from a family with 2 working parents and my mom didn't cook much at all. When I first started staying home, I loved everything about making meals for my family. As the girls have gotten older & more involved in sports & other activities, it does become harder to enjoy all the cooking I'm doing. However, on the crazy-busy weeks that we eat out more than usual, I can tell you that we all crave those home cooked meals and miss them. This is a great post, Gretch!

  5. Eating dinner together as a family is often my favorite part of the day!

    In the summer when I was growing up, we did the milking and chores, worked in the garden, made a HUGE breakfast, the guys went to the hay fields and we made a HUGE lunch! It took most of the day to clean up from breakfast and lunch. I really loved it. I loved working with my family and preparing every thing.

    My friend in St. Louis thinks I grew up in the 1940s...but it was 1980s! I wonder what strife and problems would be avoided by families eating together.

  6. @Sarah
    I agree. I just hope we can all keep it going as the kids get older. I wonder how people balance it with kids involved in all kinds of activities.

  7. @Katy
    I agree if we look at is more as serving our family then we can look at it less as a chore. Good thoughts!

  8. @Ma
    I do think it is important. It is a source of comfort too for families - to be together at least every night.

  9. @Lynn Berns
    Eating and working together as a family would be a really neat thing. I hope my kids can also learn that.


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