Sunday, February 10, 2013

Today's Dinner Bell

My grandmother used a giant bell. When supper was ready, she rang it to call her children in for supper. When they went out to play, my dad and his siblings had to stay within earshot of the clunky percussion instrument. My mom used the porch light. When it went on, we were expected to return home within five minutes. 

My children are older now, so I have to be more creative. They have jobs and play sports and go to school. There is typically a good bit of distance between us on a daily basis. And even when they are within earshot, they don't hear me because they've trained their ears to tune out the sound of my voice, yelling, “DINNER!”

However, I discovered a successful way to call them to the kitchen or dining room for meals. Technology is the key. When it's mealtime, I snap a photo of the delectable food du jour. Then I send the image to their smartphones with a cute caption such as, “Get some before the cat starts licking it.” 

This method has a few perks:

1. The average time it takes to get my kids to the table is eight minutes, down from 45. Before sending pics, we'd have to find them, tell them dinner was ready and then try to verbally explain the menu. It is challenging for frustrated parents to make food sound inviting during conversations with teens who are online battling ogres and zombies with 400 of their closest friends.

2. We are not wasting near as much food. There aren't as many leftovers because our children are more likely to eat with us now that they see what they would be missing. In addition, when there are leftovers, they are more likely to eat them after they've sampled the food during family mealtime.

3. We actually get constructive feedback beyond, "Can't we just order pizza?" They are telling us what they did and did not like and are offering good suggestions on what they'd like to see included on future menus.

Here are some recent picture texts:

Roasted Chicken & Roasted Potatoes with Carrots_Micki Bare
Got tired of the neighbor's rooster. Come & get it!

Baked Ziti with a side of Meat Sauce_Micki Bare
Has anyone seen my keys? 

Spaghetti & Meatball Wednesday_Micki Bare
Some assembly required. Movie to follow. (Yes,
we received a red envelope in the mail today.)

Leftover Casseroles_Micki Bare
Roasted Chicken...the sequel. Cameo by
Tuesday's pasta.

Pork Rolls, Veggie Chili & Rice_Micki Bare
It will taste way better than it looks...just sayin'.

Sausage & Pancakes_Micki Bare
It's noon, will you get up NOW?!?!?!?

Micki Bare, mother of three, wife, daughter & writer is the author of Thurston T. Turtle children's books. 

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