All the Things You Can Eat! | 31 Days of Growing Up

We were talking with my youngest sister about a week ago, and somehow our conversation led to the topic of bagels. They used to be a treat growing up, especially when sometimes mom and dad bought blueberry rather than the stand-by cinnamon raisin. This reminded us of the great cinnamon raisin toast that came in the double-lined purple bag (Pepperidge Farm), which was even more of a treat than bagels—though most of the kids preferred the plain cinnamon swirl loaf, because it didn't have raisins. And Saturdays, my dad would make us breakfast: waffles, french toast, eggs and hash, fried potatoes, pancakes and sausages (and dad always joked, "Good things come in small sausages!"), and tiny cinnamon rolls made using a can of Pillsbury crescent roll dough.

When we were older and had transitioned to "public" school, we packed our lunches. Many days my dad would fix sandwiches for us while we were eating breakfast. He pulled out the loaf of bread and whipped up half a dozen PB&Js in record time. The special lunch variation was deli meat and cheese sandwiches (or hot pockets). And, while we usually had healthy snacks and lots of fruit and vegetables, once in a while there would be a bag of Goldfish, the classic cheddar and peanut butter crackers, or
individual chocolate pudding cups to put in our lunch boxes.

Mom and dad both enjoy cooking, and, whether or not there was ever an official meal plan, the majority of our meals were homemade. Our family "restaurant" was Mama Pastaciolli's, as my dad says. One of our favorites was Chicken La-La (I'm not sure how the name originated), which was dad's own chicken and noodles recipe. But, while we weren't allowed to be picky, not all of us liked everything; I think one of our (the kids') least favorites was Mixed Grain Casserole, which my mom loved and kindly allowed us to smother with shredded cheese. :)

But whatever we ate (or didn't eat, and had to save and reheat the next meal), we always sat together at the dining room table (or the picnic table on the back deck). Family meals were so normal to us, we didn't think twice about it then, but I'm thankful that was a priority in our home. Even if we didn't always have serious discussions or "important" conversations, those brief mealtime moments, though quick day to day, added up to a significant amount of time spent together throughout the years.

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