Dinner at My Desk, Again?!

Work and life.

May 8, 2014

Is dinner often a work event? When do you eat? Do you eat alone or with family, friends, or colleagues? Are you multi-tasking at dinner? Do you cook? Eat out? Do you even have a routine or is your schedule so erratic that it’s tough to maintain a routine?

Deanna England, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada: I have a lot of freedom in this as I don’t have anyone at home waiting for me, so I don’t really have a thing I “usually” do. This flexibility allows me to stay late when I’m inclined/required, meet with friends afterwards when I can or go home and relax. I recently re-discovered my crockpot, so on the weekends I try to plan out some meals for the week that way. I try really hard to take at least an hour when I get home to eat (in front of the TV far too often) and just shut my brain off. After that I generally have to get back to whatever project is most pressing: book edits, SlutWalk tasks, GenderFest panels, UVenus post etc.

Mary Churchill, Boston, Massachusetts, USA: I have a 9-year old and a husband. I try to make it home for dinner at least five nights a week. I don’t always succeed. When it works, we eat together at the dining room table between 630 and 7 with wine and a home-cooked (or partially home-cooked meal) and we talk about our days. More often than I would like, I end up staying late at work and missing dinner with the family and then it’s hummus, cheese, crackers, fruit and wine when I get home. Or, I’m at a board meeting in the community and I’m eating slices with local community organizers and activists. Once a month, I try to do an after-work networking event and then it’s cheese, crackers, wine, and lots of crazy conversation at a bar/restaurant downtown. I invite my friends to these events so I can catch up with them and network at the same time. Everything seems to be double-duty. So far, it’s working. (PS I cook lots of food on the weekends to prep for the “home-cooked” meals during the week.)

Bonnie Stewart, Charlottetown, PEI, Canada: One of the most shocking discoveries of parenthood, for me, was how much repetitive and rather drudgerous work goes into feeding and cleaning up after two kids, day-in, day-out, especially if you try to avoid processed stuff. My partner and I share that labour, but as I currently work and research mostly from home, I do a somewhat larger share - still, we both prep big batches of soups and stews and chilis on Sundays for lunches. The four of us eat at home together most nights, except when Dave or I are teaching night classes. We eat out maybe once every couple of weeks: curry chips, Korean, Lebanese, and the local burger joint are all favourites.

Left to my own devices, I’m mostly a forager by nature: I’d live on yogurt and nuts and popcorn, or whatever happened to be in the fridge. Plus chocolate. Which is basically what fuels my days when I work at home. ;)

Gwendolyn Beetham, Brooklyn, New York, USA: I love food. I love growing food and cooking it. I especially love baking and trying new things. I attribute this love to my parents - we had family dinners every night, and they took us out to a variety of restaurants from a young age, so we were always exploring new cuisines. Luckily for me, I currently live in the (self-proclaimed) foodie capital of the world: Brooklyn. And I have definitely embraced the culture: I try to eat seasonally and locally. I’m mostly vegetarian. There are tons of great restaurants in Brooklyn (I rarely go out in Manhattan), but I love cooking and baking yummy things for friends at my home. Making time to eat well is an important part of my life, and because I generally have a flexible schedule, I am able to do so with relative ease - and for that I am incredibly grateful. If any of you University of Venusers ever make your way to Brooklyn, come over and I’ll cook for you!

Liana Silva-Ford, Houston, Texas, USA: Because I work from home, I used to eat out a lot with my daughter and husband. Sometimes it was an excuse to get out of the house, and sometimes I was too tired to work on dinner after working until 5:00 pm (my usual routine). But the fast food is unhealthy. Now I try to plan ahead for dinner during the weekend. I usually will make something big on the weekend, so that we can use it during the week as leftovers. I don’t cook a lot during the week, but I try to do the prep over the weekend so eating a healthy dinner during the week is easier.

Although my husband travels a lot for work, we try to make sure we all eat dinner together. I think of it as a time of the day where we all come together. One thing we try to do at home when we have dinner is turn the tv off.

Meg Palladino, New Haven, Connecticut, USA: I am in the wonderful, yet dangerous habit of making and eating 2 dinners these days.  Dinner #1 is with my 19 month old son.  That tends to be small amounts of kid food, half of which ends up on the floor.  I struggle to sneak vegetables into his entree, and we always have fruit and yogurt. After his bedtime, we have “adult” dinner #2, with a salad and glass of wine.

Lee Skallerup Bessette, Kentucky, USA: Dinners at home as a family are important to me, and they are important to the kids. My son will often choose to wait until his sister gets home from ballet and his father gets home from teaching before eating dinner, so we can eat together. I hit the jackpot because my husband loves to cook and uses it as his stress release. So we eat well. We joke that the best place to eat in our small town is our house. He does a lot of the cooking for all of us and for our friends. We try to have friends over once a week to eat. Nothing makes me happier than feeding our friends around the dinner table (or lunch table or brunch table). On the nights he teaches and I have to cook, I rely on some old stand-bys: pasta, roast chicken (figuring out how to use the timer on the oven was a revelation), or spruced-up leftovers. We often cook a whole bunch of chicken breasts “sous-vide” over the weekend, so I have options for the nights I cook. We try to get out to a nice dinner, just him and me, about once a month, but the cost of the dinner itself, plus a full tank of gas and a babysitter for up to five hours is cost-prohibitive. My kids are still young enough (and the local food choices limited enough) that a “treat” for them is to get to go to McDonald’s (which I can’t eat anymore without feeling sick afterwards).

 Perfect day to talk abt when I eat/dinner. After 12 hours at work frozen enchiladas thawed.

So, it's finals time in the US, what did you do for dinner tonight? Is it dinner at your desk? Dinner with a stack of essays?



Back to Top