At some point in the years while our children were growing up, my husband convinced them that the later the time that a person eats dinner, the "cooler" that person is. If you eat at 6 p.m., that’s not nearly as cool as eating at 8 p.m., which isn’t as cool as 9 p.m. And if you eat at 4:30 p.m., well, you might as well call that lunch and just go to bed because you simply are not swanky or trendy and will never make the front cover of a fashion magazine.
It follows then, that every night we eat our evening meal, someone makes a comment about the time and our level of awesomeness, which isn’t usually very much because I’m pretty sure that talking about being cool makes you pretty uncool. If we end up eating a late meal, someone remarks about how suave we are. If we eat early, there are jokes tossed around about early bird specials. (As a mom and chief cook, I’m just happy to eat food that is hot at any given hour of any given day.)
This notion of fancy scheduled food also comes the Europeans, who think it’s totally fine dine so late. In Germany, folks normally eat between 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. In Poland, 8 p.m. Italy? 9 p.m. And oh, Spain with its 10 p.m. dinner schedule must do some serious snacking in the afternoon to avoid hangry (hungry + angry) behaviors.
Enter the fall schedule for our family, with three busy kids and peak work season for mom and dad. Chief chef that I am, I spend all day at work and all evening driving kids to and from practices and games and looking for missing hoodie sweatshirts that have either gotten stolen or left in mysterious locked buildings. There are jobs to do and team events and clubs and it seems that they all like to be scheduled at different times so that the only available slot for any of us to eat dinner is 8:30 p.m. Which means I end up beginning to cook at 8:30 p.m., and a lackluster meal of something once frozen appears at 8:45 p.m., with just enough to time to stuff it in our starving faces and do math homework while we digest before we all turn into zombies and I decide that I’ll just do the dishes in the morning when my eyes are open.
The above-mentioned scenario happens more often than I’d like to admit, and without any exaggeration. We barely have the energy to discuss how cool we are, eating so very late, sometimes slumped over at the table in our pajamas.
But if I was awake I would be sure we are very swanky and trendy, and until this season ends, giving those Spaniards a run for their Euros.