Throwback Thursday #57 – Family Meal Rituals

Maggie is our host for this week and you can find out more here
When I was a kid, we would have something like cereal or porridge in the winter for breakfast as it was quick and easy seeing as both my parents were working. Saturdays though was a full fry up for Dad and we’d have a boiled egg and toast soldiers.

We were lucky in having three meals a day and school dinners were five bob a week.
At school we would have roast potatoes, boiled potatoes and mash once a week and chips twice. In later years and grammar school we would have curry and rice one day, chips, roast, boiled potatoes and mash with whatever was the main of the day. When the school dished up mashed potatoes with egg yolks on the top and salad for the main meal followed by frothed egg whites dotted with glace cherries for dessert, I told Mum not to waste their money which was now considerably more than five bob a week and I’d take sandwiches.

We’d always sit down as a family to a hot meal around 6pm but there was no TV until the washing up was done and any homework completed. This continued well into my adult life when I was first married and later bringing up a family. The only ‘ritual’ as such was that whoever’s birthday it was chose the menu and dessert.
Working for the vending machine company I was able to subsidise my food shopping with sandwiches, rolls, pies and cakes brought back off site. This was a godsend as I was feeding a family of four and two dogs on something like £8 a week which was topped up when I got paid with a standing order from the local butcher for four packs of minced beef, a small joint each of beef and pork, burgers and sausages for the freezer. Pies or sausage rolls with a mountain of chips, beans and bread and butter were commonplace.

I tried having one day a week where I didn’t cook to give me a break but fish and chips on a Friday for four was not cheap, and crusty bread with soup or torpedo rolls filled with ham, cheese and tomato wasn’t all that popular on a Saturday, so I was cooking every day.
Sundays were spent practically entirely in the kitchen baking cake for the week, making pies for dessert and the freezer, and preparing the Sunday roast. They all had a healthy appetite and Ex partner would have something like 12 – 15 roast potatoes and the boys at least 8 along with whatever joint or a chicken, three veg, yorkshire puddings and thick gravy. He would always go up the pub and I grew tired of holding dinner until 3pm when he got home so the boys and I would have ours and I’d plate his and leave it in the oven.
Of course washing up was also down to me so having washed up after our meal, then washing up after his, it was time to get sandwiches for tea and prepare the lunch boxes for the following day. I hated Sundays.
In the week, I would put a casserole, jacket potatoes and rice pudding in the oven and set the timer if I had appointments or shopping to do. He expected his dinner to be ready at 6pm when he got home.

Christmas became a ritual in entertaining the in-laws (plus her sister and her husband), and the ex wife and her fiance. Again I was usually left to it, but it worked well as far as the ex wife was concerned because it meant I could have a glass of wine with my dinner and the boys would go back with her in the afternoon for a few days. Before, he would get plastered and I’d have to drive them up to hers because she always wanted to see them on Christmas Day.

Today it is oh so very different, though it took me years to adjust my quantities from a family to just two.
Hubby does not believe in me slaving over a hot stove preparing a Sunday roast for the two of us and the only time I’m likely to do one is at Christmas so I cheat and buy frozen roast potatoes and mini yorkshire puddings.

Breakfast is usually cereal for me, porridge for Hubby both of us having dried apricots mixed in and a yogurt.
We have our main meal in the middle of the day wherever possible due to digestive issues and this can be anything from a cottage pie, pasta dish for me, fish, sausages, corned beef hash, chili, curry or ginger and pineapple chicken. We tend to have more rice than potatoes now, and in the Winter will have a vegetable stew that will last us at least three days.
Our final meal of the day can be something like cheese and crackers, toast, an omelette, poached eggs or a sandwich, though there are times we don’t have anything because we have eaten later than usual in the day and Hubby cannot tolerate anything ‘heavy’ after 4pm. Snacks may be crisps, but more often biscuits, especially gingernuts!

I have a basic recipe using minced beef and onions which covers cottage pie (you can add frozen mixed veg or a tin of baked beans to make it go further), then by adding tomatoes spaghetti bolognese or lasagna, or add a tin of kidney beans as well and that makes a 2 day chili.
Both of us enjoy cooking and we share the washing up. We have no set timetable now as we always seem to be doing something or going somewhere. We have always eaten simply and something like a steak would be for a special occasion like our anniversary, but Hubby can’t eat that now so we have alternatives. We eat off our laps rather than put the table up as we are limited for space here.


About pensitivity101

I am a retired number cruncher with a vivid imagination and wacky sense of humour which extends to short stories and poetry. I love to cook and am a bit of a dog whisperer as I get on better with them than people sometimes! In November 2020, we lost our beloved Maggie who adopted us as a 7 week old pup in March 2005. We decided to have a photo put on canvas as we had for her predecessor Barney. We now have three pictures of our fur babies on the wall as we found a snapshot of Kizzy, my GSD when Hubby and I first met so had hers done too. On February 24th 2022 we were blessed to find Maya, a 13 week old GSD pup who has made her own place in our hearts. You can follow our training methods, photos and her growth in my blog posts. From 2014 to 2017 'Home' was a 41 foot narrow boat where we made strong friendships both on and off the water. We were close to nature enjoying swan and duck families for neighbours, and it was a fascinating chapter in our lives. We now reside in a small bungalow on the Lincolnshire coast where we have forged new friendships and interests.
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9 Responses to Throwback Thursday #57 – Family Meal Rituals

  1. Paula Light says:

    Geez, sounds like you were a slave in that first marriage and I’m glad that’s well in the past!

    • First marriage wasn’t too bad actually, but this relationship lasted almost 8 years and was the live in one where I took on his kids. He liked his drink, thankfully was never violent through it, and I was an idiot to stay as long as I did, but I’d grown attached to his kids which was of course the trump card each time. It wasn’t all bad though and my fostering experience came out of it which I wouldn’t trade for anything.

  2. Maggie says:

    Thanks for responding, Di. You did a lot of cooking, planning, and budgeting. I think that might be the case in many families. Your meals sound hearty, though – something I would truly enjoy. I am not good with people who must be attended to especially if alcohol is the reason!

  3. murisopsis says:

    Our dinner ritual was that I’d cook and everyone would eat. If I made an “unpopular” dish I always made a delicious dessert. If you didn’t eat dinner then you were too full for dessert. No one starved and I didn’t force the boys to eat their dinner – but pie or cake wasn’t offered if they didn’t eat. Amazingly it worked and they developed a taste for liver and onions, curry, Asian dishes, and quite a few recipes that their peers had never heard of let alone tried! Currently we always try to eat together for lunch and dinner….

    • I introduced spaghetti bolognese to the boys of which they just liked the sauce. Once buried his pasta under the hall carpet and the other fed his to the dog. Scared the life out of me next day as I thought he had worms!

  4. Lauren says:

    Thanks for joining in Di. It does sound like you were overworked with the “live in” situation. It’s interesting that as we age, we try not to work as hard. I can’t imagine kids hiding food like that.

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