Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Fourth Meal

No, I'm not talking Taco Bell here. Unfortunately, or possibly fortunately, I haven't eaten that since a bad run-in with a taco salad after the ACT exam Junior year of high school.

 I'm talking harvest dining.

I'm talking making breakfast, lunch, dinner for the kids and myself and then dinner again for my loving, hardworking husband, the one who doesn't think that Peanut M&Ms and Diet Coke make a good evening meal.
I wish I were more like my 97 year old grandma, who, until about last year, cooked herself silly during harvest, wrapping meals and sides and drinks with fresh ice in foil and drove them to the field. I wish I had the gumption. I wish I had the drive. I wish I had TIN FOIL! Joe is lucky if I wave at him as he comes into the drive, dropping off his load of grain or just getting a drink of water.

I have failed in this department of farm-wifery. Recently, this failure has slapped me dead in the face as I have read on Facebook status updates and seen pictures of cute little farm kids delivering hot meals to dads on the tailgate of a truck. I have sighed as I realized what I cooked that day might not reheat well, and cringed at the thought of frying up a hamburger or some bacon at nine o'clock, and then cringed at the thought that I am not excited about providing a meal for my husband.

I realize that this is indeed 2011, and this meal preparation/delivery may sound a bit June Cleaver-ish, but Joe appreciates a hot meal when he comes home. It is 2011, I realize this. The microwave has been invented, and cardboard pizzas are actually pretty good. However, shouldn't I at least have something available for my hardworking husband when he comes home? Shouldn't I know something that either warms up well or whips up easy when Joe is late coming home? Shouldn't I be better at this, considering it's my fourth harvest season?

Answer: No.

I'm terrible at this. I would throw the kid card out, because it's easy and true, but that's not the whole story. I am organized. I love to sort and schedule. However, I hate to organize meals. I know it's better for my psyche and better for my budget to be more organized, but I can't seem to get it together. If I'm not good at prepping for three meals a day, how am I supposed to be organized enough to prepare an extra meal at this time of the year. Isn't popcorn a grain? Throw some peanut butter on crackers and call it a day, right?


However, I'm trying. I'm hoping that with the help of my mom (thank you for the meatloaf), the Pioneer Woman (have you tried her potato skins...they are AMAZING), I can overcoming this shortcoming as a farm wife. I'm hoping that when more than 50% of my kids can buckle themselves in their car seats, I will be more willing to set out at the hairy hour of 6:00, armed with a fresh meal for my guy.

But, for the time being, I emplore all you seasoned farm wives, wives of husbands who work late, or just people who know anything to make that is easy, please, please, please send your ideas my way!

My marriage and husband's nutritional balance depends on it!


  1. What about soups/stews/chili that can be kept warm on the stove until he gets in? Or crock pot meals that can also be left on the warm setting until he gets home? One little trick I do for my husband is use a metal cake pan for transporting his meals. I stick it in the oven for a few minutes to heat it up then place his food (sandwiches wrapped in foil or covered plates) in the cake pan and cover with foil or a towel to keep it warm while I drive to the field. Some ideas would be burgers, reuben sandwiches, enchiladas, chicken wraps...things that aren't terribly disgusting if they're a tad on the cooler side. In our situation, if I take a dessert...that makes up for anything that may have been too cool. =)

  2. It is difficult to jumble different meal schedules during this time of year. We do not have children yet, so I usually try to wait to eat dinner when my husband gets home. Even though eating at 10 or 11 o'clock at night is not the best thing for your digestion. It does allow me to see him for about 30 minutes.

    I grew up on a farm, so I have experience from my mom making meals and bringing them to the field for my dad. What she always did was make dinner for us kids, then put the meal in a divided tupperware plate. She would throw it in the microwave to heat it up before we left for the field, then she would put it in a Rubbermaid take along carrier with a hot pack in it. We went to the field, dad would stop what he was doing to take some time to eat and we would get to spend time with him sitting on the tailgate of his truck.

    With my farmer husband, it is a little bit of a different story. Once he is in the field he does not like to stop what he is doing. If I take him a meal, it has to be something he can eat while he is running the combine. So lasagna and meatloaf are out. I usually take him sandwiches, carrots, an apple, string cheese and a gatorade. This is something quick and easy, and he can eat while watching everything going on in the combine cab.

    Best of luck with harvest and figuring out the science of the fourth meal!

  3. I'm with you right now. We don't even have kids and my husband waits til he gets home to eat; and it's usually something he throws together himself. He can eat healthy this winter...