I cannot work out whether fast food is the undoing of our society or simply a reflection. Is the industry that has developed to provide cheap food and plenty of it fulfilling a need or irresponsibly foisting bad food on us? We, as a society shifted away from a stable food environment when we started to work more and be at home less. Regardless of the societal implications and my own guilt (I was raised by a pack of feminists) we were better off when the wife (or husband) stayed at home. Not only did it mean that wholesome meals were being prepared, but it also meant that the husband (or wife) had a reason to return to the nest and the kids witnessed a solid and understandable family unit. Above all, they did not drive through a burger joint for dinner.
Please do not write letters about how I am a male chauvinist. I am just trying to understand what went wrong. Not until we can define where the road veered off can we right the course. There were many, many subsequent changes that occurred, but most of them were to satisfy a society that was more mobile, more urban and unfortunately, very susceptible to advertising suggestions. When you reduce all of the policy, technology, social change and shifting demographics, what you end up with is the lack of families sitting down to a home cooked meal.
I do not know how to reverse this problem in society, but I know how to at home. As you probably know, nearly every night we have a dinner table that is full of at least two of our five kids and often one or more of their friends. We have a tradition of sitting together, sharing our days hi’s and low’s and eating home cooked meals. They are rarely fancy but usually very tasty. We are as concerned as anyone about the price of food, especially because of all of the mouths we have to feed, but we will not “drive them through” for dinner.
This recipe is an entire meal. You could add a salad if you wish. It is our version of “fast food”. It takes very little time to make and, at about $4.00 per person, is as cheap and far more nutritious than any drive thru. All of our kids love it.
- 8 Pieces of Dover Sole (a little over a pound)
- 1 lb. Yukon Gold Potatoes
- 1 Big Bag of Spinach (probably about 1/2 pound)
- 4 Cloves of Garlic, thinly sliced
- 1/2 Cup Milk
- Balsamic Vinegar
- Olive Oil
- Salt and Pepper
- 2 Sauté Pans
- Large Pot
- Stand Mixer (optional)
- Chef’s Knife
- Salad Spinner (optional)
- Wooden Spoon
- Wash potatoes (do not peel), cut into chunks and put in boiling water.
- Wash spinach if it is not pre-washed. I like getting as much of the water off as possible. A salad spinner works a treat for this and they are very inexpensive.
- Once the Potatoes are soft enough for a fork to penetrate easily, turn off water.
- In one of the sauté pans add a little olive oil and gently sauté the garlic.
- Add the spinach and sauté for a few minutes.
- In the second sauté pan, melt 2 tablespoons of butter. (yep, its a lot)
- Salt and pepper the fish and add to the melted butter. Squeeze just a spritz of lemon.
- Cook on each side for less than a minute.
- Remove fish to a plate and add about 2 teaspoons of balsamic to the buttery liquid until it looks right.
- Reduce by about half.
- In a mixer, add the drained potatoes, milk, salt, pepper and about 2 tablespoons more of butter and mix until you have a nice, smooth mashed potato.
- Layer in the center of a plate: potato, spinach and fish.