A Meal By Any Other Name

When I was growing up, life was simple yet somewhat structured, at least in our home and in spite of both parents employed at jobs that took them away each weekday. Still, during the school year my mother felt compelled to prepare breakfast for my older brother K and me before she and Dad left for work. Ah-h, those were the days, Monday through Friday, strolling into the kitchen to find two plates of scrambled eggs waiting for us to consume: cold to the touch, flat as a pancake, and having turned a weird color. Yes, Virginia, there really are green eggs. And no, we did not like them, not one bit. About the ham, I’m not so sure because Mother never went to such extravagance for breakfast. After a while I started lying in bed longer and longer, dreading those eggs while K dealt with them in pro-active way.

I still can hear K running down the stairs from his second-floor bedroom. From there he made a beeline for the kitchen, where I pictured him scooping up his plate of eggs and running down a second flight of stairs, this time to the basement. I’d hear the door to the coal furnace rattle open and within seconds, slam shut. Up the stairs he’d come, empty plate in hand. Green eggs problem solved for him. For me too, but only after several weeks of obediently eating what was expected of me, after which I reported K’s flagrant disrespect of his eggs to our shocked mother and she quit being so motherly.

When it came to lunch, K and I always went our separate ways. As soon as I figured out the sandwich thing, packing my own totally uninspired brown bag for school was no big deal. Baloney or braunschweiger between two slices of white bread spread with yellow mustard. Throw in a few cookies and voila! No fruit, no milk … definitely no milk … to this day, no milk.

In the evening the four of us sat down together for a full meal, otherwise known as supper. Made from scratch or from the previous weekend leftovers, it was always plentiful. “See how your father eats some of everything,” Mother would say in response to my turned-up nose. Uh-huh, that’s because she only fixed what he liked. Which didn’t always translate to what I liked, in fact, it rarely did.

What we called dinner occurred once a week, mid-day on Sunday, by far our best meal—roast beef or fried chicken. And always ending with dessert Mother had baked that morning—apple or lemon pie, pineapple upside-down cake or fruit cobbler. Make that blackberry cobbler—for sure not my favorite. But that’s another story for another blog.

In my current world of empty nesting, of assorted GI disorders and a healthier life style, Hubby D and I fix our own breakfasts but we eat together—Cheerios for him; one French scrambled egg cooked to perfection for me. Hours later I prepare one decent meal for the day, our dinner which Hubby D and I eat around noon or one o’clock. Unless we eat out at that time, which still makes it our main meal, but one we refer to as lunch since that’s how restaurants display their mid-day menu. A restaurant meal eaten in the evening we call dinner; whereas, at home it would be supper, which we rarely eat unless we had to skip our mid-day dinner or perhaps it was lunch, depending on where that particular meal would’ve been eaten.

None of this makes sense to certain offspring of our offspring, those myopic wonders who can only identify with the breakfast, lunch, and dinner that they consume at odd hours on the run or hit-and-miss. When these grand-offspring poke fun at what they consider the oddity of our dinner hour, I come back with, “What about supper? When do you eat yours?”

Supper, it’s as if they never heard the word. Or, can’t figure out where supper would fit into their super active lives.

So, what about you? What do you call your daily meals? Does it depend on when you eat? Better yet—where you eat. Or, do you simply graze. Not that there’s anything wrong with grazing.

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About Loretta Giacoletto

Loretta Giacoletto is an American writer of family sagas, mysteries, and contemporary fiction, all of which contain elements of crime. She divides her time between the St. Louis Metropolitan area and Missouri's Lake of the Ozarks where she writes fiction, essays, and her bi-monthly blog, Loretta on Life, while her husband Dominic cruises the waters for bass and crappie. Their five children have left the once chaotic nest but occasionally return for her to-die-for ravioli and roasted peppers topped with garlic-laden bagna càuda. An avid traveler, she has visited numerous countries in Europe and Asia but Italy remains her favorite, especially the area from where her family originates: the Piedmont region near the Italian Alps. - See more at: http://www.loretta-giacoletto.com
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