by Abelardo de la Pena Jr.
- It gets crowded and complicated with three generations living in a smallish downtown L.A. loft. A bicultural couple keeps it simple for the one meal they, their two daughters (ages 34 and 18) and two-year-old granddaughter share daily: dinner (Iconoculture observation, October 2010).
- Working mom Linda takes into account their varied taste preferences when stocking up. One solution: Most of their dinners are meatless.
- The pantry’s filled with staples like rice, noodles, assorted grains, canned veggies and sauces in jars. Some essentials: spicy El Pato tomato sauce, curry and spaghetti sauce.
- The fridge is filled with fresh vegetables, some in packages. Cheeses are pre-sliced or pre-grated. A variety of bottled dressings and fresh salsas are at the ready. Quart-sized containers of milk (from whole to 2% to lactose-free), assorted juices and other bevs stay chilled.
- The spice rack includes staples like chile powder, garlic salt, Mrs. Dash, cinnamon, basil, oregano, lemon pepper and saffron. Multi-grain breads share space with bagels and tortillas.
- Weekends allow for time to prepare more complicated dishes like enchiladas, pollo en mole and calabacitas (sautéed squash and tomatoes topped with queso fresco).
WHAT THIS MEANS TO BUSINESS
- In a multi-generational household, where everyone except the little kids work or go to school full-time, the most precious kitchen commodity is convenience.
- Sharing at least one meal per day — from prepping and serving to cleaning up — keeps the family connections strong.