Tuesday, June 30, 2009


I have no idea what to make for dinner tonight. I had a restaurant-quality prosciutto, cheese & pesto sandwich on onion focaccia at Lindsey's for lunch. I'm re-creating one of my favorite sandwiches of all time for Christy tomorrow: roasted vegetable and goat cheese on toasty white bread. Puck's on Peachtree used to serve it, until they took it off the menu, so I can't claim that one on my own. I made an all-time favorite last night: fettucini with alfredo sauce (homemade, of course; it's SO easy), peas, and grilled chicken. There is a list of things I *can* make on my fridge for tonight, but nothing's popping out as sounding stellar, for some reason.

Interestingly, this dilemma is a reminder of just how blessed I am. Mom mentioned how happy she was for me that I was able to purchase pretty much whatever I wanted at the grocery store without having to worry about it. She's right. It's a pretty amazing thing, especially considering that I come from a long line of hard-working people who scrimped, saved, and could still barely afford to put any sort of food on the table. I did a lot of research on the people of Limestone County, Alabama in the 1930s, and it turns out that my grandaddy's stories about "eating gravy and biscuits for breakfast, and then biscuits and gravy for dinner" weren't exaggerations. Did you know that in the south, during the Great Depression, some children resorted to eating dirt? Alabama soil is rich in iron. It contained more minerals than they were getting in any other meals, which consisted primarily of water and flour. See Barker's unpublished master's thesis stored at the RBD Library in Auburn for more on that matter. It'll probably bring you to tears, or at least make you shake your head in disbelief that we're really only two generations removed from those living conditions.

Granted, everyone in the family is in pretty good shape now, but I have heard lots of stories from my grandparents and parents about growing up poor, and I have a handful of my own to share. For some reason though, when I was little, it never occurred to me that we maybe didn't have as much money as other people that we knew; there were always pop-tarts in the cabinet for breakfast, peanut butter sandwiches for lunch, Sun-Drops in the fridge, and something good for dinner, so I had no reason to question the financial status of my parents (my today self is cringing thinking about the eating habits of my 20-year-ago self, but that's another and more complicated issue). However, I remember my mom and dad talking about how in the early years of their marriage, they brought a calculator to the grocery store, adding the prices of things that went in the cart as they went along, to make sure they could afford groceries for that week. Somehow, we always had plenty to eat, and as I recall, we ate better than a lot of other people I know. Turns out, there are a lot of amazing dishes you can whip up when you and all your generous neighbors have gardens, and when you have a resourceful mom-chef. That resourcefulness has come in handy living on a graduate student stipend. And, as I learned this week when planning a budget with my husband, your past experiences with money can be pretty powerful. Let's just say we have vastly different perspectives on money that balance each other out - not necessarily different spending habits, but different ways of interpreting the meaning of money, what we spend it on, and how we save it.

Anyway. Just my thought for today, and I'm not sure it makes any difference to any of you out there. I give you these ramblings to say that, I really can't complain about not being able to decide what to make for dinner tonight. It's a blessing that I have multiple options for dinner. I forget that sometimes. I feel like we start to take our blessings for granted if we don't write them down or share them with others occasionally. So there you go. Simple as it is, my hope today is that all of you out there are able to also make whatever you want for dinner. And if you know someone who isn't as blessed, maybe make a little extra and invite them over to eat with you, or send them a plate to eat later, like Grandmother used to do (and still does) whenever she cooks for us.


Beth Kane said...

So true. And such a great reminder to us all to be thankful! I am guilty of taking for granted my multiple trips to trendy, gourmet grocery stores and then wasting more than I should. I've had this very thing on my mind lately too...even how fancy the dog food is that I buy.

And you and Dave aren't the only ones trying to reconcile financial opinions, but what a great problem to have, huh?

Carol Bruess and Anna Kudak said...

Yes, so true. Thanks for the reminder. We all need them sometimes.

Jessy said...

You're absolutely right. This hits home.

Lindsey said...

First, I feel special as I made this blog entry. Second, you just achieved something that doesn't happen too often (because she calls me, a lot). . .you made me want to call my Mommy :) And if she and Dad hadn't skipped the country, then I would call and tell her how unbelievably blessed I feel for everything I was given. I owe my love of food to my Mom.