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When my husband and I got married, things were pretty smooth that first year. I’d heard horror stories from newlyweds about adjusting to living together, but we got lucky. I think part of it was that we were so grateful to be together after our opposite-sides-of-the-world romance, and part was that we drove home together from work each night. Thirty minutes in a car lets you deal with any “issues” before you even walk into the apartment.
But one thing that made me bonkers was his reaction to my call of “Dinner’s ready!!!”
My pronouncement that my latest newlywed-in-the-kitchen creation was complete got him up and moving . . . and doing things OTHER than coming to the table right then to eat.
He’d head to the bedroom to change. He’d get up and grab the newspaper he didn’t finish that morning, and then READ IT.
He’d do some other thing that wasn’t eating.
I thought I was going to LOSE my mind. At first, I was confused. Then, I was mad.
Finally, either through a confrontation or a random conversation (it has been fifteen years and my memory is fuzzy), I figured out what was going on.
Before we got married, we talked about how things were in our homes growing up. We both had moms who cooked.
We had exactly the same philosophy about the importance of eating at home.
We both understood the importance of sitting down together around a hot meal.
Not so much.
Here’s the thing. His mom worked full time. My mom stayed home. They both cooked for their families. Both of their families ate home-cooked meals every night.
But they did it in very different ways. When my mom said dinner was ready, we all stopped whatever we were doing and ran to the table. We ate the food that had just come off the stove or out of the oven. Letting the food get cold was something we knew not to do.
His mother cooked on the weekends. Big pots of beans and pans of cornbread. Pot-roasts and casseroles and baked chicken breasts. Then, throughout the week, they ate that food.
That home-cooked food.
But if his mom said, “Dinner is ready!” (which I’m not sure she did), it meant come fix yourself a plate and warm it up. That can be done immediately or five or ten minutes later.
Neither way is right or wrong. Both women cooked. Both women put in real effort and time and work to ensure they didn’t blow the family budget eating fast food.
Both women are wonderful cooks.
They just did it differently.
Once I understood why Hubby didn’t react the way I wanted him to react to my declaration that dinner was ready, I gained such respect for my Mother in Law’s way of doing things. I’ve learned a lot from her and some of my best freezer cooking ideas are based on how she cooked.
Not that Hubby dawdles at dinnertime anymore. He’s learned.
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Ah. We had an issue with “dinner’s ready!” too. We were the run-and-sit-down type of family. Hubby’s family… well. If every last bite of dinner wasn’t actually ready when that was said (you know, stir the beans, toast the garlic bread), then you had ten minutes to get there. But I want people at the table as I’m bringing it out- one, for the WOW factor, and two, so that it’s actually hot, right?
Dana White says
Exactly!!! I live for applause!
haha, we had a similar but slightly different issue… i will let him know when dinner is 10-15 mins away… i expect, in that time, for the table to be cleared and set, kids to be washed up, and everyone sitting down and ready for me to bring dinner to the table 10-15 minutes later. his response? “dinner’s in 15 minutes” “oh good i have time for a snack”…. whaaaa???
Whoooo! Has he survived that little practice? These days I would let him eat cold diner but not as a newlywed.
Dorie F says
I love this! I’m the person who gets off work, makes the drive home and immediately starts to make dinner. I like to get all the “chores” of the day done so that I can relax in the evening. My husband comes home (or sometimes he gets there first) and spends the ENTIRE time I’m making dinner telling me about the sometimes hilarious, sometimes infuriating things his coworkers have done/said that day. And then literally 5 minutes before everything is ready to eat, he’ll decide to go take a shower. 10 years of marriage and I’m still figuring out how to get us both eating dinner together before I sit down & don’t want to move anymore. LOL
On the plus side, I have convinced him how great it is to take the time to get the dishes done EVERY night. That was something I had to make up my mind to do and drag him along for the ride. 🙂 With just the 2 of us, it literally takes 5-10 minutes and makes the kitchen a much less stressful place for me to be. Sometimes we even do them together. Haha and sometimes he just keeps me company while I get them done.
mentioned once while dating was not super comfortable at the table and I tend to prefer eating in the living room> I want to develop the habit of eating sitting at a table but he says we should not get a kitchen table it will just be another serfice to sit things and that I don’t like eating at the table. it may not be my most comfortable place because it is not habit it has always been only on occation that I eat at the table but eating at the table helps me remeber to take my dishes to the sink it cuts down on messes and its a habit I want for our kids the first of which is six weeks so I have time but I want to eat together at a table. I have had to get over eating the same thing or preparing something special there is no garentee he will try to eat what I cooked. nor will he give me much input on what I can do differently. that doing the dishes everyday habit I still have not got down.
Married 14 years. Still can’t get my husband to the table when it’s time to eat. I say “Dinner’s ready!”, he hears “Nature’s calling!”. – the take a magazine in there for 10 minutes kind. Drives me crazy, but what really sends me over the top – the second he’s done INHALING his food, and every scrap I planned to have as leftovers, and well, anything that isn’t nailed down or off limits, he puts his plate up and is ready to head back to the man cave. Ummm… the rest of are are still eating here! Have a seat! Visit a little!
Sigh… at least the kids are trained. One helps me cook, the other comes running the second I say “Dinner’s Ready!”
Pretty fun story on differences in being raised. Our biggest issue is where we put things in the kitchen – he prefers to leave certain things out, I prefer them up and out of the way. Whe it comes to who rushes to the table and who lingers, well, I tend to linger myself!
Mary Stephens says
That’s funny. 🙂 I’m glad he comes now.
I grew up with home cooked meals being served hot like you, but my mom had a terrible time getting my dad and later my brothers as well to the table. We eventually tried the method of giving them a 10-15 minute heads-up, but it wasn’t always successful and we didn’t always manage to do it soon enough. One of them would indulge in the bathroom camping program sometimes too. I won’t say how, but he was the one we couldn’t start without. Ahem! So, you can imagine my delight when I discovered that my then “boyfriend” came almost instantly when called for a meal when he ate at my family’s home! Now that we’re married, I feel very blessed with his promptness to meal calls. 🙂 He almost never tells me he can’t come right away, and it’s not unusual for him to come help put the last few things on the table.
28 years married and I still can’t stand it if husband is slow to the table. I actually call for him before it is ready, “Come on Hun all set”
I know this is an old post, but I’m shocked that there is any other way than coming when dinner is ready. My mom worked but we always came to the table when she (or I as I got older) said dinner was ready. When my husband and I were dating we often cooked and ate all together. I guess I’m lucky that was one thing we didn’t have to work out. We also make sure that there are no electronics at the table or even the tv on while we eat. It is family time.
Janice, how about picking one (or two) special days of the week to sit at the table? Sunday, maybe? You can enjoy BOTH styles. 🙂
We rarely sit at the table for meals. We both grew up at the table with home-cooked meals, but when we were married, my husband had a back injury that made the chairs impossible for him to sit in. So we got in the not-so-great habit of watching tv and eating. We love doing that together, but I really like the ‘at the table’ idea better.
I’m single, but just to affirm dinner together from a kid’s viewpoint (albeit a 1970’s kid!!!), that eating together is important! Dinner was the only time we were all together. We shared what was going on or what was on our minds, asked questions, shared stories etc. We joked, groaned at Dad’s jokes/pins, ribbed each other (sometimes argued), ,indulged in “pun wars. ”
We were also expected to help. As kids, that meant making the salad, grating cheese, scrubbing potatoes, browning the ground beef, setting the table…as we got older it meant fixing wholewasn’twith a little help.
It wasn’t just about enjoying Mom’s (or Dad’s!) cooking (or that of one of us), it was about family bonding–cohesiveness.
This was epecially important as we entered our teens, we weren’t just “roommates” that shared the same facilities. Even in those years, if someone was coming home a little late, we’d plan on dinner as late as 7:30 just so we would all eat together.
Some of our best family stories are still from our times when we all sat together around the table!
Sonja Carroll says
That drives me crazy too. My husband comes pretty quickly, but my daughter and her husband don’t. I get them once. Then my husband and i eat. When we are done, i put all the extra food away and if they come up to eat, they have to get it out and eat it. If they don’t, then i have leftovers for lunch! I quit stressing out about it!