My mom and I were talking this weekend about the ‘rules’ people follow around food and meals. Most people have a lot of them, whether conscious or unconscious. We can eat this type of food, but never that type of food. In our family, we buy this brand, but never that brand. You can sit on this side of the table, but never in that seat over there. It sounds arbitrary and somewhat ridiculous, but if you really stop and think about the food and meal patterns in your home, you’re probably following way more ‘rules’ than you realize.
I remember a mix of meal time and food rules growing up – my parents weren’t very strict, but there were still certain things we always did. Maybe some of these were in effect in your childhood home too?
Meal time related:
We all had seats that we usually sat in, out of habit. It would be weird to take someone else’s seat!
We all said our special German prayer together, holding hands around the table.
You had to try everything and clean your plate.
Keep your napkins in your lapkins 🙂
No elbows on the table!
Don’t start eating until your elders begin (I think this was only at my grandparents’ home).
Wait to be excused.
Everyone helped clear the table and clean up.
We didn’t buy sugary cereal.
We didn’t buy soda.
We made most things from scratch.
Local, fresh food was better than processed food.
Women were usually the head chefs, but my dad often made the pancakes and waffles.
Susan (my step-mom) usually cooked at high temps, so we all kept an eye out for flaming food and did our part to put out fires 🙂
We expected dessert. At least a little something sweet!
I’m not saying that any of these rules were inherently good or bad – they just, were. And each rule shaped us, for better or worse. Some of the rules have moved to our new family lives, and some have been left behind.
One of the rules in my current household is that I’m usually in charge of all things food related. Unless it involves the grill, then M. takes over. So stereotypical, right? Well, I’m happy to report that since our second child was born, M. has been doing more of the grocery shopping, and is moving into the kitchen, little by little. In order to break a rule, it helps for everyone involved to get on board – I have to remember to step back and let other people cook, including the kids!
What rules are you following in your home, related to cooking and eating? How many of them are rooted in your own childhood? Are there any rules that you’re ready to break?