The 5 o'clock dinner is about 50 years too late.
That's probably the last time sitting down at "dinner time" seemed like routine rather than the exception to the rule.
Today's version of dinner looks a lot different than the entire family convening in the dining room at a set time and chatting about what everyone did that day.
So what happened to the meat and potatoes of dinner? How did it transform from a slow, meaningful melange of moms, dads and kids to fast-food and even faster text messages?
The answer isn't simple as signs of the demise of dinner can point to the economy, technology or simply all parties involved being busier today than ever before.
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The notion of mom not having to work isn't as traditional as it once was as a two-income family is perceived primarily as the norm. Once the first job ends, the second begins with errands, shuffling kids to after-school activities all in the hopes that landing at home can happen before sundown.
The hustling and bustling lifestyle has opened the door for eating on the go or picking up a pizza just before the final "stop" of the night is done.
Technology is no better as smart phones and smarter tablets leave conversation a distant third in the pecking order if and when everyone comes together as planned. Look no further than how phones, tablets and TV is marketed: watch from your phone, DVR any show and watch in any room or just about anything else that takes the nuclear family and turns it into a mushroom cloud of casualties, none bigger than dinner itself.
But even with the biggest obstacles come the smallest tweaks or tips to make dinner whole again. A little prep time and planning goes a long way and something as simple as thawing out a bag of chicken in the morning makes prepping a meal possible again. Various products within the confines of the local grocery store also lend themselves to at-home eating with actual cooking involved -- perhaps none more renowned than the Hamburger Helper. That Betty Crocker brand boasts a tremendous marketing of their product that adding just a little bit of meat translates into a home-cooked meal.
In a strange Darth-Vader like twist, technology is lured from the proverbial "dark side" to the land of good. Apps for phones and tablets aren't just for playing "Angry Birds" anymore and actually turn combustible cooks into content chefs.
Not everyone has the luxury of having an "Alice" from Brady Bunch fame but Cooking Planit
is just one web site and subsequent app that is equal parts planner and guide for those struggling to keep meals organized and timely. A huge benefit of Cooking Planit, perhaps even more than keeping moms or dads on task, is their penchant for taking a step-by-step approach to cooking and recipes as well. Unless parents somehow double as cunning, culinary connoisseurs, they're probably more apt to serve fish sticks than fancier fare. Cooking Planit empowers users to not only cook healthier, substantial meals but also how to micro-manage your meal so that the main course doesn't hit the table before the side dishes.
It's those types of practical, potent planning tools that puts meals back on the map and the family on a path back to the dinner table.
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