Trying to feed a family of five is getting trickier and trickier as money becomes scarce. In the past I actually thought figuring out what to make for dinner (or any meal for that matter) was the hardest part of day-to-day management of our family. I was wrong. My whole "what you see is what you will eat" motto has been well received at our table, and some people are enjoying dishes that I thought they would never touch, like baked fish casserole OR pot roast ~ easy on the meat, extra veggies. They also have not been fussy about having the old standards more often - pasta, burritos, tacos, burgers, hot dogs..., as eating out has become too great a luxury (unless my wonderful cousin sends us gift cards for California Pizza Kitchen... Our favorite!).
I will be the first to admit that we are - were - big into eating out; mostly drive-thru. It was a habit developed after moving back to the mainland from the small Hawaiian island we were trapped on... I mean living. Once back to middle-class suburbia, with fast-food places everywhere you turn, there was no going back for us. We were hooked! I remember a few times when I was so excited about the idea of ordering through a speaker, then getting a burger, fries and a large Diet Coke through a window, that I actually placed an order, drove up to the "Pay here" window; paid, and then proceeded to drive off. WITHOUT MY FOOD.
I also won't deny that I enjoy dining out in nice restaurants - I'd even go as far as to say "fine dining," but that's really not how we roll. (Somebody else would have to pay.) The idea of running a restaurant has often crossed my mind when it's functioning at lowest capacity. (What am I thinking? Restaurant??) When my son was about two years old he promised he wanted to be a pizza maker and have a pizzeria when he grew up; when his younger sister came into the picture, she also would take part in the plan. They were so cute play-acting out their little restaurant scenarios. (We still have the handcrafted miniature kitchen set that dad made for our son.) In kindergarten, when our youngest was asked to tell what she wanted to be when she grew up, her answer: A chef. By then the entire family was hooked on every food and cooking program on t.v.
For years now, my restaurant fantasy has been to run a place different from any place I've been to lately. It's accommodations would be simple, streamlined, and purposeful... find a stool at the counter, read what the offerings are on the menu board, eat and pay. Simple right? Just like from my "what you see is what you eat" concept at home. Would it work? Who knows? I just think it's somewhere I'd give a try. In the mean time, I'll just have to keep making "it" happen in my own home; for the five of us... WHAT WE SEE, IS WHAT WE EAT.
Gotta say, tonight's dinner was delicious!