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Dinner for breakfast

| Monday, February 11, 2019

Picking a fight with the unspoken rules of the food world isn’t anything new. Hazel from “The Fault in Our Stars” does it when she says, “I want to have scrambled eggs for dinner without this ridiculous construction that a scrambled egg-inclusive meal is breakfast,” and so did McDonald’s back in 2015 when they rolled out 24-hour breakfast across the country.

But even before McDonald’s broke the meal-time continuum, breakfast for dinner was a staple at my home. When things got crazy and my mom wanted a quick, easy meal for the night, she’d scramble some eggs, make a couple of pancakes and call my brother and me downstairs for dinner.

It had never bothered me personally that certain foods belonged to breakfast, others to lunch and to dinner, but apparently it’s a concept that weighs heavily on a lot of people, including my own mother.

It must have been that after making one too many batches of pancakes after 6 p.m., she reached a point where something didn’t seem right. She saw the same injustice that Hazel did in restricting certain food to certain times of day and letting some — but not all — cross those lines.

Yet, she didn’t take quite the same approach in her attempt to fix the problem. My mom, instead of championing the cause of wrongful labeling, decided to change what we eat and when — she made dinner for breakfast, and not just any dinner. She made spaghetti and meatballs bright and early one Sunday morning.

My mom had warned us all the night before, but no one took her seriously. We mocked her and said she wouldn’t follow through, but she was determined and nothing we came up with could have stopped her.

That morning my dad, brother and I all stumbled out of our rooms, wiping the sleep from our eyes and noticed an odd smell. It wasn’t a bad smell, but it didn’t belong. We walked downstairs to find that it was tomato sauce simmering on the stove and bread baking in the oven. My mom told us dinner (breakfast?) was almost ready and we should take our seats at the table.

When we did it took two, maybe three bites before my brother stood up to grab cereal from the cupboard and my dad left in search of Tupperware to pack up the food that we all decided would make an appearance later that day, during the mealtime it belongs to and belongs to for a reason.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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