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Old 09-08-2014, 10:34 AM   #21
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When I had custody of my granddaughter after her mother died, I had no other kids at home. With my crazy eating habits, at first I would cook her a meal and she would be eating alone. I quickly realized that eating alone is lousy. So even if it was just a cup of chicken broth for me, I made it a point of sitting down with her so she felt like it was family eating time. Whenever I could I would also take her out to eat so that we were both sitting and eating together.
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Old 09-08-2014, 01:15 PM   #22
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My father was a grumpy alcoholic and my mother worked shift work. She planned the meals well, and when she had to work, somebody either made them or they just needed warming up. We usually tried to eat at the same time at the table, whoever was there. We all started jobs as early as we could so you never know who was going to be home. I ate as fast as I could and got the hell out of there. Which is why I joined every extracurricular activity, sport and artistic endeavor I could. Reason to not be home. In some ways, it wasn't a bad thing....fond memories...
My mother and father worked as well and my father also drank to much after work every day. He was mean when he drank.
My mother would encourage me to eat and go out before he got home to lessen the chances of trouble.
There was no special place to eat at our house. Kitchen was to small for a table and there was no dining room. There was a small table in the corner of the living room and thats where i ate.

Today we eat watching TV. I have a TV tray and so does my wife.
My MIL sits at the table. We are all together as our dining room overlooks the living room.
We rarely use the dining room table. Only for holidays or when someone comes over for dinner.
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Old 09-08-2014, 01:53 PM   #23
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How did you have your main meal growing up?

We'd have dinner at the kitchen table when Dad got home from work. While he didn't drink then, he did have a very bad temper, and it made him mad that I was a picky eater. Dinner could be stressful. I too got involved in as many extracurriculars and after-school jobs as soon as I could.

Sundays were dinner at Grandma's, much more relaxing.
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Old 09-08-2014, 01:58 PM   #24
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I ate most everything without a fuss. However, as a child, butternut squash was enough to make me gag - literally. I could not get it down. As an adult, I love it. Dad mad me sit at the table until I finished. Sometimes mom would take pity and clear my plate after dad left for his chair in front of the TV.
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Old 09-08-2014, 02:04 PM   #25
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My dad was irritated that I was a picky eater, too. One evening he had enough and force fed me a bite of an artichoke heart - one of my fave foods to this day. I thought it "looked weird" and wasn't about to try it. I don't agree with his method, but it worked and I ended up willingly at least trying, and liking, many foods from then on.

Usually Mom did all the cooking, but on Friday nights, my dad made us a Mexican feast. It was us kids' favorite night of the week, partly because we loved Mexican food, and partly because it was just "different" to see Dad slaving away in the kitchen while Mom relaxed. He never did clean up, though.

My first year in high school, Mom went back to work. That's when I started playing around in the kitchen, and having dinner ready for them when they got home from work. Not every night, but at least some. Dinner still had to be at 6 sharp, even if it was ready earlier.
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Old 09-08-2014, 02:11 PM   #26
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How did you have your main meal growing up?

Hopefully parenting styles have changed since then. Nothing like facing a plate of cold, congealed sludge of which you were forced to sit there until you ate it, to make you love it later in life! Thankfully, I'm no longer a picky eater.

By the time my brother came along, my parents had lightened up. He hated vegetables, so he was allowed to dip a carrot in ketchup as his veggie. Now he loves, and eats everything as well.
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Old 09-08-2014, 04:30 PM   #27
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Bucky, we say grace at home and at restaurants as well. Both our families were like that and we have carried it on.

There was another very strict rule when I was growing up. If you didn't like something (for me it was pork chops before shake and bake) you had to have 5 bites of it and my Mom cut the bites. For my sister it was peas and Mom determined that 5 was a bite so she had to eat 25 peas!
Funny, my mom's rule was three bites! There were no separate adult/children meals, and we ate what Mom made. I have three younger sisters, and as we got to a certain age, we picked up certain food-related chores, starting with setting the flatware (not break-able!) and on to setting plates & glasses, then to washing, drying, putting away. I was the only one who really liked to cook, so I did a fair amount of food prep, leading up to doing a lot of full meals for periods of time when Mom was having serious health problems. It was a "chore" I didn't mind (the dishes was another story). We ate pretty much at the same time every day, after Dad got home, changed out of his uniform, cleaned up, and he & Mom had a drink. Often had company, often had our girlfriends over. Saying "yuck" wasn't allowed at the table, period, and basic table manners were observed. On Sundays (except in the summer) we stayed dressed in our church clothes, and used China and crystal, and had to use a little more formal table manners. We got cream soda in champagne glasses (until old enough for a bit of wine).
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Old 09-08-2014, 04:41 PM   #28
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I'm sometimes surprised I survived childhood. Don't get me wrong; my mom was a wonderful person, but not a very good cook. She knew it, too, and would often joke about it. More often than not, dinner began with the phrase, "C'mon boys. Get in the car," and we would head off to some restaurant, usually one of the two diners in town. Dad was a travelling salesman (no joke) and was not home much during the week. He was pretty good with a grill, so we had steaks or burgers on the weekend when he was home.

My mom could put together a meal from a can or a box. We had a lot of mac & cheese and hamburger helper kind of meals growing up. She could also make a decent pot roast with canned soup. We didn't eat a lot of vegetables, because my brother was very picky and the only two vegetables he would eat were corn or green beans, and then only from a can. I don't remember mom ever using fresh vegetables, unless you count a head of iceberg lettuce.

So I kind of looked forward to the restaurant dinners, because I could order whatever vegetables were on the menu.

When I was about 10-ish, I expressed an interest in learning to cook. So mom bought me a copy of the "Joy of Cooking." We would plan it out so I would occasionally make something under her supervision. By the time I was 13, I was not only cooking meals unsupervised at home about 3 nights a week, but also responsible for putting together the grocery list. Some of my meal plans were vetoed ("Spinach Souffle?... try again," dad said). My younger brother also cooked. In fact he ended up cooking for a living for about 25 years.

The one thing I will say is that, even though dad wasn't always there and we ate out often, we still ate together as a family. Us kids were expected to be home by 5:30 sharp every night for a 6:00 meal. Despite everything, I actually have a lot of good childhood memories of dinner time.
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Old 09-08-2014, 05:05 PM   #29
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...Despite everything, I actually have a lot of good childhood memories of dinner time.

I'm not surprised. Good childhood memories are a result of good family and good relationships, not food quality.
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Old 09-08-2014, 05:19 PM   #30
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The six of us (parents and 4 kids) always ate dinner (or tea as we called it) together at about 6pm every day in the dining room. The food was basic - for two reasons - one, my tyrannical father would only eat the most bland, boring food imaginable, and two, my lovely mum had no interest in cooking!

There was no TV and if my mum had her way there would have been no talking either! However, you can't really keep 4 kids from chatting and by the time we were in our teens it was actually pretty nice the way everyone would discuss what sort of day they had had and talk about the weather and the news or whatever else came up. We were absolutely not allowed to swear, but all opinions were listened to and debated. Looking back, it was pretty cool but we didn't really appreciate it at the time.

None of us was made to eat food we didn't like and we don't have any major food hangups now I am pleased to say.
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