There are about six things that I make my family for dinner. I am really good at making these six things, but that is about it. And since I only make six things, and there are seven days in the week (one day is for leftovers), there are not a lot of options for mixing things up. Yes, I can move the meatloaf to Monday from Wednesday and the pesto pasta to Thursday from Monday, but in terms of serving something completely new, that is only likely to happen if someone else comes over and cooks for me one night.

There are about six things that I make my family for dinner. I am really good at making these six things, but that is about it. And since I only make six things, and there are seven days in the week (one day is for leftovers), there are not a lot of options for mixing things up. Yes, I can move the meatloaf to Monday from Wednesday and the pesto pasta to Thursday from Monday, but in terms of serving something completely new, that is only likely to happen if someone else comes over and cooks for me one night.


Anyway, with only six things in my cooking repertoire, you can imagine that after a while, my family gets tired of eating them. Not that I don’t make a world-famous meatloaf. But after three months of meatloaf once a week, I shouldn’t have been surprised when my family started to revolt.


Daughter: What’s for dinner?


Me: Meatloaf.


Daughter: Again?!


Me: I thought you liked my meatloaf.


Daughter: I do. But we have it every week. No offense, Mom, but we are kind of sick of it. Even the dog is sick of it.


Me: Why would the dog be sick of it? Do you give the dog your meatloaf?!


Daughter: Did I say “dog?” I meant Dad.


Me: How about I give you kibble and I give the dog the meatloaf?


Daughter: What flavor is the kibble?


Realizing I should probably try my hand at something new, I called my mom to see if she could share a recipe with me.


“How about meatloaf?” she asked.


“I’ve got that one covered,” I responded.


“How about pesto pasta?” she asked.


“Yeah, I already make that one, too.” I said.


“Chicken parm?” she wondered.


I sighed. It suddenly dawned on me that I had learned my six recipes from my mother, who made the same six things when I was growing up that she had probably learned from her mother when she was growing up. It was possible my ancestors wandered the deserts of Egypt for 40 years and made it to the Promised Land with a scant few belongings and a recipe for meatloaf.


Deciding to try a different tack, I pulled one of my old cookbooks off the shelf. But as I perused the recipes, I realized the cookbook was really outdated. I think it was the fact that one of the main ingredients in every recipe was LARD that might have tipped me off.


So then I tried looking for a recipe online from one of the well-known culinary masters. But when I saw that I would have to serve something “semifroddo,” I wasn’t sure if that was a cooking term or a Hobbit, so I moved on.


Finally I went online and searched for  “quick,” “easy,” “dummy-proof” dinners for the cooking-challenged.


The answer was “Takeout.”


Follow Tracy on Twitter at @TracyinSuburbia.