A Daily Discussion – “What’s for dinner tonight?”

9:00 am, Daughter: “What’s for dinner tonight?”

9:00 am, Me: Sound of crickets chirping. “Uh, leftovers?! The refrigerator is full of food.”

9:15 am, Daughter: “No, really, what’s for dinner tonight?”

4:30 pm, Me: “Who wants Deconstructed Lasagna??” 

This is a daily discussion at our house during COVID-19. Bored college students now living at home who’ve maybe just eaten breakfast, not even considered lunch, but need to know what’s for dinner tonight. Maybe they long for a small bit of normalcy in these uncertain times as we practice being socially distant. Or they need something to look forward to, since everyday is Groundhog Day. Or both. Either way, I’m not prepared for this conversation at 9 am, with only a half cup of coffee in my system.

With 5 adults now living under one roof who previously chose what and when they ate and have differing dietary restrictions and schedules, “What’s for Dinner Tonight?” is a daily discussion. We have a vegetarian who avoids dairy, two meat eaters (one of which doesn’t like tacos or chili! What?!), and my husband and I who lean plant-based, yet can’t resist cheese or the occasional hamburger.

So, wondering what we have in our fridge right now?  Well, it’s a variety of discordant deliciousness: Bolognese sauce, taco meat, Japanese sticky rice, Costco amounts of shredded cheese, broccoli, a variety of homemade vegan sauces, hard boiled eggs, hummus, arugula and iceberg lettuce, and, last but not least, tofu Banh Mi. 

Our solution to the “What’s for Dinner Tonight?” question was to sit down together and hash out dinner ideas for the week ahead based on everyone’s schedule (DOH! This should have been obvious to us from the beginning). Anyway, here’s what’s on the menu for this week:

Monday: Vegetarian Fried Rice, Stir-Fry Veggies and Lettuce Wraps.

Tuesday: Crispy Oven Baked Fish and Chips with Roasted Broccoli.

Wednesday: Tacos (it’s “Waco Wednesday” this week).

Thursday: Excellent Meatballs, Oven Roasted Spaghetti Squash and Angel Hair Pasta.

Friday: Homemade Flatbread Pizza.

While I might still get the question “what’s for dinner tonight?”, at least now I have an answer (accompanied by hysterical laughter inside my head, mwah-haha…).

We are so fortunate and grateful to be in a position to have so many options about what we choose to eat for dinner. That’s not the case for millions of Americans who experience food insecurity everyday. Please visit Feeding America or World Central Kitchen for more details on how you can help.


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