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Sep 13, 2009 11:32 AM

Do some families really do this?

I was watching "King of the Hill"...LOL and Peggy has a set menu every week. Such as Mon...Meatloaf, Tues....Pork Chops etc. Do people really do this? I can't imagine eating or cooking the same things week after week!

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  1. When we were going through a financially difficult time, my man suggested to have a burger day, a pizza day, etc. for set days of the week, just to curb my spending sprees at Wegmans ("oh, but the scallops are on sale!!!"). But it never really caught on. I mostly like to decide what's for dinner spontaneously, which is why I shop every day...

    3 Replies
    1. re: linguafood

      Shopping every st would be so dangerous for me! I can't really leave the store for under 30 dollars and when I meal plan I spend around 80. So I would lose 130 dollars a week that way!!!

        1. re: melpy

          I'm the same as you, Melpy - can't get out of the shop for under $30.

      1. I remember the old commercial in which Wednesday was Prince spaghetti day, but I don't know of any real life examples.

        27 Replies
        1. re: small h

          I could never do this, but as I posted on another thread--sorry to those for whom this is a repeat--my grandmother had only 10 or 12 meals in her repertoire and she served exactly the same thing every Sunday (pot roast), Monday (red beans and rice), Wednesday (spaghetti), and Friday (seafood gumbo and possibly fried fish). She switched up a few remaining dishes on the other days.
          The thing is, no one minded because her food was so delicious, predictable as it was. In New Orleans, a lot of people still eat red beans on Monday (the story goes that in pre-automatic washer days, Monday was laundry day so women could put a pot of beans on the fire and let it simmer all morning while they tended to the wash). Friday=seafood because so many in these parts were Catholic, as was my grandmother. Menus in the more homey New Orleans restaurants still reflect these practices, esp. on Monday and Friday. My grandmother was also Italian so she had to get in her spaghetti and meat sauce one day a week. Oddly enough, she never ever cooked chicken, as she had an aversion to it since growing up w/chickens, when she witnessed their slaughter and had to participate in the cleaning and plucking.
          Such rigidity in my life now would drive me nuts, but I never thought about it that way then.

          1. re: nomadchowwoman

            A lot of Catholic families, at least where I am from on Long Island, do pizza Fridays for the same reason - not being able to eat meat. Any time we would visit my Grandma it would always be spaghetti night. - jarred sauce, yech!

            1. re: nmurawsk

              In New Haven, The Italian Catholics avoided Apizza on Friday. I remember asking a friend why? His reply:
              Most restaurants used bacon or sauage drippings to start the sauce because it was cheaper than oil.

              When I was in college, I worked for a Greek Pizza joint. The owner used to precook a case of bacon at a time, pour off the grease and save it. When it came time to make the sauce, he always started with the bacon grease.
              He usedd to snicker every time a vegetarian ordered a pizza with just cheese and veg. They never asked if there was meat in the sauce, and he nevered volunteered the information.

              1. re: bagelman01

                I guess he didn't sell a lot of pizza to Jewish people or muslims...

                1. re: Kajikit

                  If that guy didn't have any problems selling carnivorous pizza to vegetarians, why do you think he'd draw the line there?

                2. re: bagelman01

                  Wow. That's just wrong. Fortunately, there's a provision for it in Talmud. :) OTOH, if he wasn't advertising as a vegetarian pizzeria, there's something to be said for someone who wants to be completely adherent to their dietary lifestyle doing a little checking themselves, just to be safe.

                3. re: nmurawsk

                  Another L.I. Catholic here. However, my dad refused to allow us to have pizza as a meal, so every friday night it was spaghetti with jarred Ragu sauce and Mrs. Paul fish sticks. Sometimes my mother went outside the box and served Mrs. Paul's fish CAKES instead!

                  1. re: jarona

                    L.I. Catholic too. It was such a treat to have pizza for dinner. Sometimes we'd have scrambled eggs with cheese and french fries. Much better than meat.

                    1. re: marymanchester

                      Some of the Italian Beef shops in Chicago offered an pepper and egg sandwich on Fridays. (And a pepper and egg and sausage ??)


                4. re: nomadchowwoman

                  That's quite interesting. I certainly know about the "no meat on Fridays" rule - plenty of Greek diners where I live still offer fish cakes and spaghetti as their Friday special. But I'm a "no meat ever" gal, and I don't have any trouble mixing things up. I'd love to know if there were other ways women linked their non-cooking tasks with their cooking tasks, as with the red beans on Mondays.

                  1. re: nomadchowwoman

                    fish on fridays hasn't been in force for more than 40 years, but count me among roman catholics who grew up in the 70s and who ate fish (fried, smelts, fish sticks, fish "filets," shrimp, etc) every friday growing up.

                    1. re: John Manzo

                      John, how did you have the smelts? One of my favorites, but so hard to find these days. And growing up very much agnostic and landlocked in WASPland, I didn't taste smelts till mom and I got our hands on some when I was 17 or so.

                        1. re: John Manzo

                          I love fried smelts - did your family do them poorly? We always ate fish on Fridays too, and although nominally Catholic never went to Mass. Just habit, and I've always loved fish.

                      1. re: John Manzo

                        we did fried flounder and mac and cheese.

                        1. re: John Manzo

                          Mostly fried fish on fridays during the summer months. Other times it was salmon prepared in cakes, loaf or steaks. Also had tuna casserole and French vegetable soup with french bread. Loved them all.

                          1. re: John Manzo

                            ALthough you are right about the fish rule not being enforced for more than 40 years, we still continue to have meatless meals on Fridays--it's funny how certain things are ingrained into your head. Also..during Lent we always tried to make it to the local Hibernian Fish Fry.

                            1. re: jarona

                              Potato pancakes or fried fish every Friday. No meat at all during lent. Maybe that's why I still am not crazy about Mac 'N cheese.

                            2. re: John Manzo

                              Except during Lent, when the rule continues.

                              Personally, as convert, I wish the rule were still year-round. I think we could do with a little more discipline.

                              1. re: jmckee

                                You could convert to Eastern Orthodox or even Coptic. :) Then you could fast on both Wednesdays and Fridays, all of Lent, and all of Advent. With in those traditions, fish is a relaxation of the normal rules, something that is eaten on feast days during the abstinence period.

                                1. re: paulj

                                  I grew up in the Eastern Orthodox and fasted a lot.

                                  1. re: Passadumkeg

                                    It's like being Roman Catholic--when we were kids we had to fast before going to Communion. Every Sunday. Boy--we used to get so excited about going to the bakery for "rolls and buns" after Mass every Sunday. My mother would put the rolls in the oven to warm them up and the butter would melt so nicely--then we kids would argue over the crumb buns--naturally the huge crumbs were heavenly. Nice memories!

                              2. re: John Manzo

                                Clam chowder is still the "soup of the day" on Fridays in many places. I suspect a lot of places don't even know where that tradition comes from.

                                1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                  a big joke, considering most 'authentic' recipes for New England Clam chowder start with salt pork.

                            3. re: small h

                              I love that old ad with Anthony running through the streets of Boston's North End. I say it's Prince Spaghetti day here in the PNW and nobody knows what the heck I'm talking about. Do they still sell Prince's pasta?

                              1. re: pdxgastro

                                It seems they do or did in the SF Bay Area, I remember my boss (NorCal born and bred) quoting this in the '80s.

                            4. Absolutely. When I was growing up there was no doubt about what would be for dinner. I thankfully don't remember the exact "order of service" anymore but Monday was hamburger, Wednesday was lamb chops, Tuesday was dairy (in the Jewish sense), Thursday was grocery shopping night followed by fast food, Friday was a restaurant meal - almost always Italian. The side dishes would vary, but that's about it.

                              Needless to say, I never, ever do anything like that in my own house. Never have and never will.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: rockycat

                                Monday and Thursday were "dairy in the Jewish sense" nights at my house growing up. The other nights were meat. We always thought my dad had gotten this from his upbringing, but my grandmother swore she didn't do that. I think it was my dad's way of insuring that we would have glasses of milk with our dinners at least 2 nights a week.

                              2. In my recollection, this is how most American and British housewives cooked in the 50's and 60's. My mother did not, but she seemed to be an exception. I seem to recall that supermarkets targeted their sales and ads to this mindset.

                                4 Replies
                                1. re: pikawicca

                                  Certainly, my British grandmother (living in Canada) was this way when my mom was a girl in the 30's and 40's. Sunday was a roast (beef, pork, lamb), Monday was chicken, Tuesday was pork chops, etc. Everything was meat and two veg. My mom told me that until she started dating my father in her late teens, she'd never had spaghetti, pizza, shrimp, or Chinese food. Luckily, my dad was in the navy, and his travels exposed him to different foods that he shared with her. My childhood was much more "houndish"!

                                  1. re: FrankD

                                    We hounds owe a debt of gratitude to our men and women in arms: They led the way for so many Americans to an appreciation of different cuisines. (While frequently risking their lives in the process.) I have to say, though, that my dad did not come back from Korea with a love of kimchee, which I now adore.

                                    1. re: pikawicca

                                      Yep. Thankfully, not only was my father stationed in both China and India, and thus brought a preference for those "exotic" with him when he returned, but my mother grew up in the Rio Grand Valley of Texas, and spent much of her wild youth over the border, and learned to make really wonderful and (almost) authentic Mexican food--well, "authentic" for the 1950's and early '60's--and had no fear of garlic, hot spices, etc., either!

                                      Our table was weird by most Southern 1950's/60's standards, what with the tamales and "chow mein" (well, it WAS hard to get ingredients for Chinese food in Kentucky ;-) and the curries and really great Texas chili, and so forth.

                                      Thank god for that! And given that we lived in one of the less blighted regions of the country, as far as cuisine was concerned (Southern cooks never quite sold their souls to the Great God Of Convenience Foods, as did many other parts of the country, during this time) we could add lots of home made treats like chicken and dumplings, red beans and rice, turnip greens, gumbo, pan fried chicken, etc., to the mix, as well...

                                    2. re: FrankD

                                      Although we didn't have a schedule, otherwise this sounds a lot like how I grew up - we never had pasta, 'ethnic food', barbecue, etc ... I remember when I was a teen and my mom and I used to go to a particular restaurant, where I would always get the incredibly exotic spaghetti! It was a real thrill. I grew up in the 70s, btw, but in rural missouri - our cuisine was country/southern/home garden, for the most part. Not that that's bad! Just saying, if spaghetti or Chinese takeout is exotic, well, we could've branched out a little.

                                      My family was weird, though. my sister and I both clearly remember going to McDonald's for the first time on the junior high school field trip and being open-mouthed rubes, studying the entirely new and foreign menu that the other kids were already familiar with. We got our cholesterol at home the old-fashioned way! :-)

                                  2. My mother did...........
                                    Growing up in the 50s and 60s
                                    Monday-London Broil (shoulder steak) w/green beans (from a can)
                                    Tuesday-wk 1-Breaded Veal chop with spaghetti in sauce
                                    wk 2-Broiled Lamb chops with creamed corn (from a can)
                                    Wednesday-Fried Flounder with Heinz Spaghetti from the can or Salmon Croquettes with real mashed potatoes-NO green vegeatble
                                    Thursday-Chinese Take out-4-Egg Rolls, Large-Spare Ribs, Qt-Wonton Soup, Lobster Cantonese-white rice-all for $8.88
                                    Friday-Incinerated (broiled) chicken w/rice a roni and frozen broccoli
                                    Saturday-Kids ate deli-corned beef, Pastrami, Turkey Roll-Parents went out on the town
                                    Sunday-whole family ate out-usually Italian

                                    There were seasonal variations-cook out, eat ins on Sundays in the summer, Monday could be Beef Stew or Chicken in the pot in the dead of winter...

                                    4 Replies
                                    1. re: bagelman01

                                      Sunday-whole family ate out-usually Italian
                                      Here in Northern New Jersey, all my Jewish friends and families always ate/eat Chinese on Sundays.....back dating to the 60's and still so today.

                                      1. re: fourunder

                                        No, Thursday night was Chinese Take Out, and then Mom went to play Mah Jongg from 7:30-10PM

                                        1. re: bagelman01

                                          Dad and I would have loved Chinese but my aunt couldn't stand it so we always had Italian. We saved Chinese for the nights she was out at a Hadassah meeting.

                                        2. re: fourunder

                                          We always ate out on Sunday nights (more specifically, early evening, with school the next day) -- generally Chinese or Italian. This being Rhode Island, we almost always ran into someone we knew.