Dear Family Dinner Meal Planner,
I am writing this letter to say THANK YOU! I am writing because, not only have you changed family dinner for myself and my family by offering The Six O’clock Scramble Family Meal Planner, you have changed our entire LIVES!!!!!
Just yesterday my youngest son (4 years old) declared, “I was born with an appetite!” I laughed out loud at his mini-bout of braggadocio. He is right. This is the child whose first pediatrician said, “I have never seen a bigger breast-fed baby!”
That kid was born hungry. He is strong, healthy, and heavier than two of most other kids his age put together! I jest. He has also been my biggest challenge when it comes to eating, food, snacks, meal-time, etc. Here on my blog I have fondly referred to him as Chicken Nugget, because it seemed that after his love for mother’s milk the only other food he would request was that– chicken nuggets.
But I’m getting a bit ahead of myself. Our story of family dinner– and my gratitude and thanks to you, Aviva, for starting, and growing, and sharing, and perfecting The Six O’clock Scramble— began when we got married back in 2008.
Two things were apparent immediately after we tied the knot: first, we needed to have meal plans each week. And second, I didn’t have nearly the repertoire of meals or food prep skills to make dinner-time delicious or enjoyable. In fact, I made some pretty horrible meals!
I’ll never forget one dinner. My husband came home from his demanding publishing job– tired, hungry, ready for a good dinner. I handed him a bowl and he exclaimed, “I love macaroni and cheese from the box!” One bite, and the excitement on his face morphed into a confused, trying-to-hide-disgust facade.
“What is this?” He mumbled through the noodles. The dish was indeed macaroni and cheese from a box, souped up with a standard can of Campbell’s Tomato. I had grown up on this stuff. I was actually crushed he didn’t seem to like it. I was actually starting to cry. “Honey, I just didn’t know what was different about the flavor!” He exclaimed, trying to backpedal. But he was right. It was a horrible meal!
I regrouped. I put together a weekly dinner plan that went something like this: Monday- Greek Salad, Tuesday- Tacos, Wednesday- Boxed Pad Thai, Thursday- Chicken, Friday- Pizza, Weekend– Whatever (probably way too much fast food!!!!). I stuck to this plan exclusively, almost obsessively. I don’t remember how long this went on. It may have even been for a year or more.
The same thing week after week, dinner after dinner. It worked for us for a long time. But finally my husband had had enough. He told me that he couldn’t stand eating Pad Thai for even one more meal. This was sad because, previous to our weekly menu, it had been one of his all-time favorite meals. Now he couldn’t even see it on a restaurant menu without gagging.
Neither of us had the stomach for Greek Salad anymore, and we didn’t really even want to visit our favorite taco stand because we ate them so frequently. We needed HELP! This was probably the darkest time in our quest for family dinner. We moved to a Sunday planning model where I would acridly ask him what he wanted for dinner that week. He would throw out some ideas, some of which I would shoot down, some that I refused to make, a few that I would agree to cook up.
Once I asked my husband what the hardest part of marriage was for him and he replied without missing a beat, “Planning meals.” We hated it. The problems were real, and I now realize they are faced by many, many families. First, it was hard to find meals that were not just delicious or palate appealing, but healthy, as well as time manageable!
Not only that, but I also wanted to set the example of eating healthy, whole, well-balanced meals for my growing family. Our oldest son had now been in a picture for over a year, and I wanted to make sure I was feeding his growing body with the nutrients he needed instead of throwing a few re-heated frozen peas onto his high-chair tray and calling it good.
I could go on, but suffice it to say that AFTER we were introduced to The Scramble, it changed our lives so much that I once found myself calling in to a News Radio program that was asking for dinner planning comments– stories, nightmares, solutions. The Six O’clock Scramble was a veritable SEA CHANGE in our family dinner story.
We found The Scramble through my sister and her husband. In truth, when they told us that they were subscribing to a meal planning service we laughed out loud. In front of them. Yes, we laughed in their faces! Rude. But here’s where we had to eat humble pie.
My sister encouraged me to use her subscription for a two weeks. She couldn’t say enough good about having weekly dinner menus at her finger tips, and a grocery list with EVERYTHING you needed to taser that grocery shopping excursion out in ONE TRIP!!! They also loved the variety of meals they were eating. A different meal every night! Imagine that!
To top it ALL off, the meals were FAST, taking 30 minutes or less to prep. It really did sound TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE! We took her offer and used her subscription for two weeks. I was raving. My husband was smiling. When we sat down to evaluate our impressions at the end of two weeks he said, “I’m in. I haven’t eaten even one meal that wasn’t a 9 or a 10 on a 10 point scale.”
The very next day my sister surprised me with a 6 month Scramble Subscription for my birthday. The rest is history. History that has carried us over three years and hundreds of meals later with The Six O’Clock Scramble.
Aviva Goldfarb, you are a revolutionary. You are a woman of the people. You have enable families EVERYWHERE to share in the joy of family dinner! You have changed our lives beyond any other single decision we have made together as a couple. Bold words, but now as I sit at the dinner table surrounded by my husband and our two beautiful boys a peace and joy come into my heart for that moment every. single. day.
And when you ask that same hungry four-year-old what he had for dinner last night you might be shocked to hear he had Hot and Sour Soup without a chicken nugget supplement! 🙂 That same sweet little man, when asked at our family dinner discussions, almost always cites NOW, meaning right here, right now, this moment– FAMILY DINNER– as his favorite part of his day.
Because of you, Aviva, it is MINE TOO!!! Thank you from the bottom of my heart (and the bottom of my belly)!
Aviva posted this video on The Scramble’s Facebook page a few weeks ago. I watched and cried. THIS is why family dinner is so very important! ❤
Many of the meals I post here on my blog are from The Scramble. Here’s what you need to know to subscribe. The Scramble is a meal planning service to which you can subscribe here. For a fantastic price you will receive 8 weekly meals which means 8 recipes (main course plus a side dish), complete grocery list, the ability to tweak the number of people you are making for, and full nutrition facts.
PLUS tips as to how best to PREP your meal beforehand, add a punch of FLAVOR, and how to SLOW COOK almost every recipe if you’re especially slammed that night. This wonderful service really does live up to it’s name. You can come home at 6 p.m. and be sitting down to a DELICIOUS, HEALTHY, HOME COOKED meal by 6:30 p.m. most nights.
3 thoughts on “Family Dinner, A Love Letter”
Planning meals is indeed extremely time-consuming & difficult! I love that video. Sometimes you forget about just how powerful dinner with family can be. :]
// ▲ itsCarmen.com ▲
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Carmen, yes! I cannot say enough good about The Scramble. I’m so glad you got to watch the video. I shed a few tears over that one! <3, Megan