Tuesday, April 12, 2011

You Can Ignore This (I'm Just Thinking Out Loud)

The pool season is nearly upon us.  Okay, it's two months away, but I am a planner.  Last year we really enjoyed late afternoons and early evenings at the pool.  Sometimes the boys and I would go early and Papa would join us after work, and sometimes we waited for him to come home (just a little early) before we all headed over together.

The hardest thing about this was meals, because we weren't home at a typical dinner time.  We ended up eating a lot of burritos and taquitos from our favorite taco stand.  Sometimes I would feed the boys a heavy snack so we could eat a late supper and sometimes I would pack a simple picnic dinner to eat at the pool, but most of the time I felt like I was scrambling to get us fed.

Eating the largest meal of the day after work is very American.  It's what we call dinner.  More than a hundred years ago dinner was the noon meal and was far heartier than the later meal, called supper. Breakfast was pretty hearty as well.  In many countries the main meal is still eaten around noon, and as far as I can tell that works pretty well

I'd like to adapt this to my family and our lifestyle.  Because we are home learners and because Papa comes home around noon everyday to share a meal with us it isn't outside the realm of possibility for us to eat a big lunch and a lighter supper.  We don't need a big breakfast, in part because we aren't engaged in heavy physical labor and also because we generally eat breakfast somewhere between 8 and 9 a.m., not at 5!

But again, it isn't what we are accustomed too.  Not that it isn't a good idea or won't work, just that it will take some adjusting to, especially for Papa.

What I envision:

Serving a very simple breakfast, not too heavy.  Cereal or granola for the boys most days.  Fruit.  An egg and toast.  Just enough to break our fast and give us energy, but not so much so as to ruin our appetites for a hearty lunch.

Having our largest meal midday.  I suppose we can still call it lunch. I'll have to come up with some new ideas as some of the longer cooking meals won't work, but I could cook those the day before and reheat them.  Meals such as stew taste even better the next day anyway.  The biggest practical obstacle I see is getting the dishes done and the kitchen tidied after such a meal.  Papa is our main dish washer but won't have as much time, so the boys and I will need to do some of it.

We'd then eat a lighter meal at dinner/supper, more akin to what we would usually eat at lunch.  Our daily salad could be eaten at this time, along with lighter soups, hard-cooked eggs, muffins, cheese, sandwiches, etc.  I could make quiches or frittatas, or simply a big pan of scrambled eggs.  Most of these meals would do very well to take to the pool with us.

Like I said, I am a planner.  A planner who also likes to jump in with both feet, so I think I will start this today.  Seriously.  We're all ill and appetites are low, so I'm going to make chicken soup for dinner.  Then tomorrow morning I will cook a regular dinner meal and serve it at lunch time.  I'm thinking baked chicken breasts, potatoes, and green beans.  T-Guy has a baseball game tomorrow evening so we will have a light supper before his game and a simple dessert afterward.

That simple dessert?  That is going to be the incentive I use to bring my family on board with my not-so-crazy plan.  It could be a cookie or two, a slice of a lunchbox cake, custard, a small dish of tapioca pudding, fresh fruit, and later in the season (once the pool opens) a scoop of ice cream.  Instead of eating dessert on Sundays only we can have dessert nightly.  I think it will work out calorie-wise as we will be quite full from our noon meal and give up the daily afternoon snack.  If the boys insist on the afternoon snack (they are growing, after all) I will be stricter about it being a fruit or vegetable.

So off I go to make chicken soup ...

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