Tonight, I served homemade poutine for dinner, and by that I mean store-bought freezer French fries, fresh curd, and canned poutine sauce. Just call me Martha. In my defence, while seeking suggestions from my kids, the one text response I did get was “Make that thing that you make”. Not exactly helpful.
The question that makes mothers cringe even more than “Are we there yet?” is probably “What’s for dinner?” and hockey moms hear both these questions in spades. Feeding a family of five is challenging enough, but during hockey season, when a revolving door of hockey playing kids and parents is involved, sometimes one does routinely resort to serving homemade poutine. Regular dinners during the busy hockey months require either strict meal planning discipline, or a personal chef. So, let’s talk about meal planning.
Over the years, I’ve used several meal planning tools and apps, but my favourite is still a hand-written weekly menu on a printed or hand-drawn calendar that gets taped to the front of the refrigerator. The answer to the relentless pursuit of an acceptable answer to the “What’s for dinner?” question is now posted in all its glory, for the whole and my own three kids, to see and behold. Although this method does allow for modifications by family members, like the time one particular Wednesday’s ‘vegetarian stir-fry’ was mysteriously crossed out and replaced with ‘Pizza Pops’.
When meal planning is taken seriously, a much more sensible grocery list will follow. A sensible grocery list is my safeguard against impulsive food shopping (and the extra hundred dollars of food that makes into my cart when I’m not sure what I’m making for dinner and we ultimately end up snacking our way to and from hockey). This list also ensures less unhealthy and processed food (and less cans of poutine sauce) makes it into our house. At least that’s my story!
I do like to cook and I do appreciate the value of family time spent eating meals together. I just don’t always like to be the one having to make meal planning decisions. God bless the hockey dads who are also the family short order hockey dads. Unfortunately, our hockey dad is not among our family chefs and in fact, might be the one responding to my menu planning queries with an equally helpful response like, “anything you make will be fine” or “nothing comes to mind right now.”
Despite all the careful meal planning and grocery list creation, it’s still perfectly acceptable once in a while to say you’ve had it with menu planning, you’ve had it with cooking dinner, and you’ve had it with Canada’s Food Guide too. Homemade poutine was invented just for days like this.
Whatever you may be serving for dinner tonight, be in from your menu or from your impulsiveness, I hope it gets the rave reviews my poutine did. Bon appétit!
Three cheers for hockey dinners – and the short order hockey moms and dads who serve them up.
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