Throwback Thursday #58 Family Meal Rituals

Maggie hosted Throwback Thursday this week. She picked a terrific subject that everyone can relate to.
This week’s prompt is: Family Meal Rituals. If you haven’t already done so, jump over to her blog and read the wonderful responses.

1) Let’s start at the top of the day, breakfast! Did your family have a sit down breakfast or were you more grab and go? What beverages were served at breakfast? What was your favorite (and/or least favorite) breakfast meal? Childhood meal memories are divided by before leaving my childhood home and my mom’s first 5 husbands and then after leaving that house, and the next 3. When I was very young, my brothers and I ate breakfast together at the kitchen table. We had no dining room. Breakfast was cold cereal and orange juice. My favorite was anything I could add sugar to. At one point when my mom wasn’t married, she hired a caretaker to watch us when she was working. We occasionally had pancakes, eggs, or waffles then. YUMMY

When I was older, we still made our own breakfast but sugar sweetened cereals were available then. Pop-tarts entered the picture too. They were not my favorite though. I like cereal that got mushy in milk and Pop-tarts weren’t the same thing. I did like taking them on my walk to school though. 

2) Did you snack before the mid-day meal? The only time I snacked before lunch, was when I was recovering from my ruptured appendicitis. It was mandated that I eat something every hour. I was all skin and bones and the doctors insisted that I gain some weight.

3) Lunch for most children was eaten at school with the exception of weekends, holidays, or summer vacation. At school, did you buy your lunch from the cafeteria, or did you pack lunch? We had no cafeteria in elementary school. Lunch was always brought from home. I lived on bologna sandwiches and PB&J daily. We would often have a piece of fruit, which may or may not have been eaten depending on what type of fruit it was. Cookies were part of the lunch meal also. 

.4) In high school, were you allowed to leave school grounds during the lunch period? In my first two years of HS we were allowed to leave the premises. My backyard was attached to the HS campus. It was easy to go to home, eat, and still make it back in time for the next class. Often my mom would have Hostess snacks, from the day old bakery to add to our lunch. On the times I had cash for lunch, I would often buy a freshly baked cookie, or two, in the morning from the cafeteria instead of lunch.

5) For times when you had lunch at home, was it sandwiches, leftovers, or a newly prepared meal? Lunch at home was typically sandwiches. There was never a newly prepared meal. There wasn’t often leftovers in the fridge, unless of course, it was something none of us liked.

6) The evening meal is usually the most formal meal in many homes. Did your family sit down together and enjoy the evening meal or were you more of a TV dinner in front of the TV family? When we had a “spouse” in the house, we might eat together at the kitchen table. It was never formal in any way. When I was a teen, my brothers and I would eat wherever we felt like it. More often than not, my mom would leave me directions as to what time and temperature to heat up whatever concoction she made. 

7) How did your weekend meals differ from your weekdays? Weekends were no different than weekdays. My mom worked most weeknights and all weekend evenings. 

8) Who did most of the cooking in your household? Did that person also do the meal planning and grocery shopping? Were you taught to cook or were you shoo’d out of the kitchen? My mom did all the cooking. When I took Home EC in high school, I learned to make numerous desserts and made them all the time.

9) Did you have dessert served at your meals? If so, what types? Lots and lots of desserts. We were all tall and skinny as could be. Homemade cookies were plentiful for most of my childhood. Then Oreos and Chips Ahoy entered the picture when mom was too tired to bake. 

10) Who cleaned up after meals? Was it a shared responsibility between men/women, girls/boys or was it delegated based on gender? From age 9 on, I was in charge of cleaning up. The “boys” were not expected to do any housework except to keep their own rooms clean. I felt good at first, like I was helping my work weary mom. It got old fast. I was annoyed because if the boys ate after I cleaned up the kitchen, I was still expected to wash their dishes before going to bed. To say I was resentful, was a major understatement. 

11) How about late night snacks? Okay or discouraged? As a little kid, there often wasn’t much time after dinner and a bath to have a snack. As a teen, we pretty much ate my mom out of house and home. We’d eat an entire bag of chips and/or an entire bag of cookies every evening. Occasionally, we’d make popcorn in a heavy pot on the stove. Of course we had to add a ton of butter to it. 

12) Were dining manners stressed in your household? No elbows on the table, no hats at the table, no belching, please, thank you, and may I be excused? All of the above were required at the table. Who wears a hat at the table?

13) Did you have occasions where you had large family gatherings for meals? What occasions? I don’t recall ever having any family gatherings at our house. My mom’s side of the family were all back east. We would go to my paternal aunt and uncle’s house for Passover and Thanksgiving. 

14) Did you say grace or have a blessing before meals? Not that I recall at home. Always at my aunt’s house.

15) Now for the fun part. What dishes are you glad disappeared over the years? What dishes have you carried forward into your own home? My mom was a penny stretcher. We had numerous casseroles. I infrequently make those. My mom made pearl onions often. All of us kid’s HATED them. We would hide them in our napkins and throw them over the back fence to get rid of them. Mom made “clean out the refrigerator soup” which I loved as long as she didn’t add onions. Mom also liked to make mayonnaise sandwiches with a tiny bit of tuna. All three of us kids don’t eat mayo to this day.   

Mom’s blintzes and potato latkes were amazing. Mine are nowhere as good as hers, but I keep trying. Both remind me of Mom whenever I make them.

In her later years I would fly to AZ every month instead of driving. Her favorite thing for me to make was spinach artichoke dip. We would alternate making something special for each other. 




14 thoughts on “Throwback Thursday #58 Family Meal Rituals

  1. I remember those many lunchtime bologna sandwiches taken to school too. PB&j was only an occasional treat.
    I learned a few staples in home economics too, making scones and cakes.
    Really heartwarming sharing Lauren. for your candor. Blessings.

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  2. We had a lot of bologna sandwiches, but rarely cold. Ours were usually fried in a cast iron skillet until the edges were delightfully crisp. We didn’t have a lot of snacks from the store like chips or cookies. We did love an ice ream float when we had the ingredients. Thank you, as always, for answering my lengthy questionnaire this week. I learn so much from what you share.

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    1. Thanks John. I continued when she wasn’t able to cook anymore. Sometimes I’d try to make latkes and she’d always laugh at my efforts. It was fun to hear her laugh.

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