Sitting in a restaurant on Mother’s Day, a discourse ensued between my adult sons who offered commentary on their peers. We’d been talking about the iniquitousness of Uber Eat and Bite Squad. “Aren’t they expensive?” I asked. (Apparently not if you are a frequent flyer.) There is no much waster! Doesn’t your generation care about the garbage it creates? I got shade with this comment because I’ve already been told that *my generation* ruined the planet. I responded with, “The meal options aren’t very healthy!”

And to this, my younger son said, “You only care about this if you grew up in an Ingredient Household.”

There is a disparity between growing up eating pre-made, pre-packaged, take-out food or if you grew up in a house that cooked from scratch. An industrial sized box of single serving wrapped snacks bought at Sam’s Club or something homemade?

It was evident that this conversation had arisen amongst their friends and they self-sorted into pre-made or ingredient categories. My kids define themselves as Ingredient People. They both cook. From scratch. They experiment and are creative. A single ingredient can captivate: bacon or bourbon (or both honestly). Or they take a dish that they’ve had at a restaurant and break it down, recreate it. Amplify it. Once upon a time, Knorr made a powdered mix for a sauce called Parma Rosa. While not completely scratch made, it was a frequent dish in their early childhood dinner rotation. But Knorr canceled the product. So each son, individually, set about replicating the dish and then compiled their recipes into what is now The Parma Rosa recipe for the family. Made 100% from scratch.

But being an ingredient household can be an obstacle. Because when you want something quick and easy, all you have are ingredients. Nothing ready-to-eat. Nothing instantly portable. You have to plan ahead. Or accept the scrambled egg or the PB&J (honey) sandwich. Or….those pantry items that are our version of quick and easy are often embellished. We call it the Martha Stewart effect. A box of traditional Kraft Mac&Cheese always gets extra chunks of sharp cheddar cheese…or crumbled bacon or diced ham….

Overall, if I am to critique myself as a parent, was this a good life lesson? Raise children that are self-sustaining. Who can make their own food? That have a culinary agility to solve their hunger? Does this skill translate to other areas? Are their expectations more reasonable, are they more patient because they know life isn’t an instantaneous, single serving, ready-to-eat, kind of world? Or, does it make them less tolerant and more critical of the mundane?

Well, I’ll wait and see for the first time they invite me for dinner at their homes.