Pandemic routines, a.k.a, what's for dinner
Routines help us feel secure. They let us know what to expect. They provide us with something to control in an out-of-control world.
Things we can routinely schedule include journaling (no surprise coming from a writer), exercising (we like to walk), getting up and going to bed at regular times, outside time (gardening is a favorite around here), meditation...you get the idea.
In our home, we try to stay on a regular schedule. But a few of us are still working. And a couple of us are still in college. And we have pets. And there's weather. And sometimes the internet works well. Other times it kicks me off during a Zoom meeting.
What has really brought us together in our household is dinner. My Italian heritage from my mom's side kicked in as I began to soothe the family with food. We eat six dinners a week together. Every day except Thursday. That's our leftovers night.
In case you are in search of a food-related routine to keep you going, here's the rest of our pandemic dinner routine:
Friday is pizza night. Always was. Always will be. Hubby and I absolutely love having two of our three boys back under the roof for pizza Friday again, even if it was the pandemic that brought them back. Their girlfriends, who are also with us, look forward to it all week. We love that about them.
For Saturday, we try to make something simple, like chili, because we end the meal with a bonfire and s'mores. And friendly cornhole competitions.
Sunday we have a big dinner that makes up for the fact that we skip lunch. But that's because of our Sunday brunch, which includes things like homemade biscuits, sometimes with sausage gravy, eggs, bacon, or pancakes. We even had homemade crumb cake one Sunday. After the big dinner, we have pie. The pie is chosen on Wednesday.
Monday is take-out night. We order from a local restaurant that had to switch to providing only to-go orders. It's the restaurant we used to go to after church when my mom lived with us. It's the restaurant that employed two of our three sons all through high school and then some. It's the local, mom-and-pop place that we would be devastated to see fold because of this pandemic.
Tuesday is homemade soup night. Included have been chicken and dumplings (I somehow burnt it, which made it extra memorable), tomato, and potato. We usually have sandwiches, too. But we paired salmon with the potato soup because we had salmon that wasn't going to last until Wednesday.
Wednesday is my second favorite after pizza Friday. Since being relegated to our home, we've turned the traditional spaghetti Wednesday of my childhood years into pasta Wednesday. Sometimes we have spaghetti. But sometimes, we make chicken parmesan with spaghetti on the side, or a baked pasta, or lasagna, or ravioli, or fettuccini alfredo. Hubby always makes garlic bread. And at the end of the meal, we pick a pie from a hat. One of the girlfriends wrote a bunch of pie options on slips of paper. Whichever pie is picked out of the hat on Wednesday is the pie she makes for Sunday.
Thursday is, as previously mentioned, leftovers night. Any leftovers that weren't already eaten for lunch or a late-night snack are gobbled up on Thursday evening. If the leftovers are skimpy, a couple of us might don our masks and grab take-out. Regardless, the fridge gets cleaned out.
Regardless of late-night tests, oddly-timed virtual meetings, internet reliability, weather, or the current count of toilet paper rolls in the pantry, we know what's for dinner. We know we'll be sitting around the table, catching up, telling jokes, bringing up the burnt chicken and dumplings (how did that even happen?), and making lasting, warm, happy memories despite the mean, ugly pandemic.