Family dinners seem like a lovely idea. Everyone pausing in the middle of an otherwise stressful and busy week to gather around a spread of delicious food and connect. The reality of a family dinner is more like one child whining that there is too much salt on the french fries while the other kid complains that the food looks strange. It can feel like there are two options – make one meal for everyone, like it or not, and grit your teeth through the grating. There is also one convenient way to please them all, and this is to become a short-order cook by whipping up a variety of mini-meals.
What Is “Whatever Dinner”?
Once a kid hits a certain skill level or age, a third option suddenly appears, and this is the “Whatever Night.” It’s exactly what it sounds like – answering the question “What’s for dinner tonight?” with “Whatever.” It can be interpreted also as the “Every Man for Himself” dinner.
Author and journalist Katie Bingham-Smith wrote that she implemented the Whatever Night when it became more than clear that no matter how she prepared a meal, her three teenagers would morph into instant food critics who would object to everything – from the chewiness of the steak to the meltiness of the cheese. She then decided that her children were old enough to make their meals.
Grocery Shopping Is Still Necessary, Though
In one of her articles, she shares that the only thing she needs to do is go to the store and get a bunch of things, everything from frozen meals to fresh veggies and fruits. She also gets staples like rice, bread, pasta, and peanut butter. This way, her kids can make whatever they want for dinner.
One thing she is not compromising on is the actual sitting around the dinner table as a family. She sets the dinner time and they all gather to eat.