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Happy-Gourmand

Plenty of fun to be had with food night themes

Food night themes

February can be a tough month, even though it is the shortest one.

Motivation can be at a low; we are getting too busy for time at the gym, it might be budget time at work and we are too stressed to plan dinner.

I have some fun dinner ideas for you this week, and a bit of international meal-planning trivia you can share. Maybe it will just bring back some ideas your mom used, or perhaps it will inspire you so the week’s meals are one less thing to worry about.

Nowadays, we see the idea of “Meatless Monday” but it used to be “Meatloaf Monday.” I love meatloaf sandwiches almost more than meatloaf dinner, so this one was always a favourite of mine. You can use any meat (or plant-based substitute if that is your thing) and any combination of spices you like.

For more adventurous foodies, there is Mogadu Monday – a theme popular in Soweto, South Africa. The dish is made with tripe, tomatoes and onions and is scented with curry spices and cloves, and usually accompanied by live music.

Did you know that “Taco Tuesday” was trademarked by a chain in the USA called Taco John’s? In Canada, it is owned by Taco Time. Don’t worry - as long as you aren’t selling the tacos you make at home, you’ll be safe from their legal teams.

A popular pub theme is “Wings Wednesday,” but you can’t take the kids to the pub. In the Boston area, a TV commercial from the 1970s talked about a kid who loved Wednesday – it was Prince brand spaghetti night.

This theme apparently still strikes a chord with anyone who saw the ad. (I only remember Chef Boyardee having lunch for those Italian boys after their soccer game).

“Throwback Thursday” seems to be a commonly-used theme – whether for featuring a retro recipe (although we have already covered meatloaf and spaghetti), or for upcycling leftovers in the back of the fridge. Or you could follow the Swedes and go for pancakes and pea soup on Thusdays.

I bet you think I am kidding. Nope. This tradition goes back to the 15th century when the country was mostly Catholic and Thursday evening they prepared for the Friday fast, avoiding meat.

“Fish Friday” is another Catholic tradition, one that many people have adopted regardless of their religion. But if you are in Morocco, cousous is the dish served this night. The flavourful and rich stew with its many vegetables and perhaps grilled meats on the side is the perfect sustenance for the big family gatherings common here.

Like couscous, feijoada is a dish that takes a while to prepare. Brazil’s national specialty is reserved for the weekend when cooks can linger over the pot to keep stirring the black beans and pork.

I have heard of “Slow Cooker Saturdays” here, which are similar. Dinner can be cooking as everyone is out and about with their activities. If you don’t have a slow cooker, look up “sheet pan dinners” or “skillet meals” as a theme that keeps the alliteration.

Sundays were the day my mom cooked a beef roast, which may have come from the British tradition. “Sunday roast” was a ubiquitous term a few generations ago, when everything stopped on Sundays. It used to happen as a lunch, often after church, and included roasted root veggies and potatoes with the meat, as well as a rich gravy and Yorkshire pudding.

This theme still has staying power, but if you would like an alternative, why not try a contrast with “Salad Sundays?” You could keep ahead of the weekly rush and cook a roast in the afternoon, to be used through the week, if you have extra time.

Speaking of staying ahead of the game, here’s another useful tip—pick a day that the kids (or the adult who doesn’t usually cook) makes the meal. When they plan for taking charge of a meal, they can set themselves up for success. The cook gets a break and the amateur gets to enlarge their comfort zone.

Whatever it is you cook – or even order – I hope this helps broaden your horizons and encourages you to have fun with your meals.

Bon appetit!

This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.



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About the Author

Kristin Peturson-Laprise is a customer experience specialist by trade, which means she is someone passionate about people having a good time. 

Her company, Wow Service Mentor, helps businesses enhance their customer experience through hands-on training, service programs, and special event coordination.

Kristin enjoys her own experiences too, and that is what she writes about in this column. She and her husband Martin Laprise (also known as Chef Martin, of The Chef Instead) love to share their passion for food and entertaining.  

Kristin says:

"Wikipedia lists a gourmand as a person who takes great pleasure in food. I have taken the concept of gourmandise, or enjoying something to the fullest, in all parts of my life. I love to grow and cook food, and I loved wine enough to become a Sommelier. I call a meal a success when I can convey that 'sense of place' from where the food has come . . . the French call that terroir, but I just call it the full experience. It might mean tasting the flavours of my own garden, or transporting everyone at the table to a faraway place, reminiscent of travels or dreams we have had."

 

E-mail Kristin at:  [email protected]

Check out her website here:  www.wowservicementor.com

 



The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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