Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Dinner For a Rancher

The other night I made dinner and, as our life goes about now, The Rancher had to head out just as I was putting it on the table.  I fed the kids and myself a tasty dinner of grilled steaks, fresh pineapple, salad, and green beans.  Everything I love and my kids too!  It went over with flying colors and any dinner that I don't have to coax my kids to eat every bite is considered a win.

But with The Rancher it was a whole different situation. 

He came home sat down ready to eat.  I was pumped for the steak and the pineapple was a fun treat.  But he looked at me and we had this conversation:

Him: "So where is the rest of the food?"

Me: "The rest of it?  I think you got it all out."

Him:  "But, like... where is the filling stuff?"

Me:  "The filling stuff?  What does that even mean?"

Him: "Like potatoes or something.  I'll eat this, but I'm still gonna be hungry if I eat JUST this!"

I couldn't help but just laugh and laugh!  Heaven forbid he had some fruit and veggies in his diet.  He thinks that he is going to shrivel up and die if he doesn't have meat and potatoes for every meal.  Actually, I did hear him say once (and I'm sure it will be the only time in his life!) that he was a little tired of potatoes...   But that only lasted a few days.

But seriously, cooking for a rancher can be tough.  With such a physically demanding job, he needs some serious calories to help him make it through the day.  Over the years I have learned a few things about cooking for a rancher.

Things like how a salad will never cut it for him.  It may be yummy and it may be nutritious, but it will only last about an hour before he is back in the house looking for a snack to help him make it to the end of the day.  Only once has a salad been ok and that was on a hot summer night when the idea of a hot meal was just more than he could handle.  Lesson here is, a salad can only be a side, not the entree!

It may be because we raise beef, but I've learned that EVERY meal needs to have meat in it.  I didn't even have to attempt a meatless meal to learn this lesson!  I think it came with the wedding proposal, something like, "Honey, will you marry me and not EVER make dinner without some meat in it?"  I can't blame him though.  Protein is essential part of a healthy diet and it is even more essential for a physically demanding job like his.

Making sure the menu meets his criteria isn't the only thing I had to learn when I started cooking for The Rancher.  His daily schedule is anything BUT predictable, which means that his dinner schedule is also anything but predictable.  So what I do is ask him what time he thinks he will be home, add at least 45 minutes to that, but make sure that the table is set if he manages to make it in early so it looks like I believed him.  Ok, not really...  I think we have had a few reheated meals or overcooked and mushy noodles or the kids and I eat without The Rancher.  Its what happens when dinner is on schedule and a calf needs pulled, a cow gets out or something breaks down.  Its what happens when you are married to a rancher!

Dinner for a rancher isn't typical or predictable. Usually I don't even know what is for dinner until it was time to get fixing and all to often I have to ask The Rancher what he wants for dinner (and his usual reply is "I dunno...").  But dinner at our house is delicious, nutritious, never meatless, and full of love, because every dinner is a chance I have to take care of my rancher so he can do a little bit better at his job.

What is dinner look like at your house?

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