The Meals Around the Reser Family Childhood Table

The other night at the dinner table, Sidney and I started to chat about what our parents cooked for our families growing up. We specifically discussed the dinners that would be prepared. My wife mentioned that a reliable rotating menu of about five core meals was continually offered throughout her childhood. Growing up in my family, our menu was a little more extensive but we definitely had our go-to dinners as well.

For tonight’s blog post I thought it would be fun to mention the 10 dinners (in no particular order) that were consistently placed on the Reser family kitchen table throughout my childhood. Bon Appetit!…

Our table has expanded over the years and the meals have become more elaborate. Let me take you back couple decades to tell you about some of the classic meals the Reser family would eat.

Grilled Hamburgers – Perhaps the defining meal of our family, there was nothing my dad enjoyed more than throwing hamburgers on the grill. He would take our cheese order (no cheese, one slice, double cheese) and do his best not to burn the meat—easier said than done 😂. Some might view grilled hamburgers as a summer thing but we ate them year-round.

Lasagna – Growing up in an Italian family, you better believe we had a heavy diet of pasta. My mom’s signature dish was her delicious lasagna which she would pair with meatballs from my grandpa’s restaurant. If we ever brought something to a potluck or if my dad needed a dish for a work function, it would be a lasagna.

Tacos and Tater Tots – Sidney said she never ate tater tots with her tacos until she met my family. Well, it was always tots that we would accompany with our homemade, greasy, love-filled tacos. Although I always opted for a soft shell, this was the age when double decker tacos at Taco Bell were really popular and my parents would always make their own versions of it.

Pasta Fagioli – A recipe passed down from my grandma to my mom was pasta fagioli, an Italian bean-based soup. My mom would bake muffins to go with it and whenever she prepared the soup it would fill the kitchen with a distinctive and savory smell. Pro tip: this soup was always even better the next day when we re-heated it in the microwave.

Breakfast! – Breakfast for dinner was definitely a thing at our house. My mom would make either pancakes, French toast, or haul out the battle-tested iron to make homemade waffles. Served with eggs, hash browns, and sausage, eating breakfast for dinner was always a nice change of pace.

Homemade Pizza – This was always a fun night because my mom allowed us kids to make our own personal pizzas. We could either make a traditional round pie or use her muffin pan to create “pizza cupcakes.” Of course homemade pizza tasted way different than what we would get from Pizza Hut but it was always fun and because we made it ourselves there was always that incentive to actually eat it.

Grilled Cheese and Top Ramen – I mentioned this meal in a recent blog post as I described how I had fond memories of dipping my sandwich in the ramen. After letting it soak for 30 seconds or so, I enjoyed the soggy taste that resulted. This was always a quick and easy meal that was great for Lenten Fridays.

Wiener Wraps – This dinner was notorious in our house! A wiener wrap is a hot dog wrapped in Bisquick dough topped with a slice of cheese. On a wiener wrap night, my dad would always concoct his “special sauce” for the wraps and the frozen fries that we would cook to accompany them. These things were always so good that my mom had to set a limit on how many my dad was able to eat 😂.

Sunday Dinner – My parents would go all-out for dinner on Sunday, usually grilling something like chicken, steak, or London broil. They would also prepare baked potatoes and fresh vegetables for a meal that would tie a bow around the weekend and prepare us for the week.

Nachos – My mom and dad would occasionally plan a movie night for our family on either Friday or Saturday. We would head to the basement where our lone television was set up and enjoy the rare opportunity of eating dinner away from the kitchen table. Usually, my mom would make a huge platter of oven-baked nachos for us all to munch on. Toppings like fresh veggies (chopped by my dad), refried beans, and sour cream would be provided. It was always like a mini party and we loved it!


Now that Sidney and I have our own family, our menu consists of meals passed down to us from both our upbringings. If you ever want a taste of that very eclectic combination, stop by for dinner one of these days. By the way, what was one of the signature dinners served in your family? Don’t Blink.

One thought on “The Meals Around the Reser Family Childhood Table

Leave a Reply