When I was a kid, I couldn’t wait to leave the dinner table. Not that eating with my family was a grueling experience. On the contrary, dinner was always fantastic and involved scintillating conversation accompanied by luscious things such as Russian chicken and stuffed peppers. Perhaps it had to do with being confined to a single square foot of space. I was a rambunctious little thing; always on the move and eager to show off my scraped knees. My mom likes to bring up how she had to call me in from various outdoor adventures by way of a whistle; the kind hikers use when they suddenly fall into a bottomless ravine. But in I would come and down to dinner I would sit, anxiously waiting for permission to dart from the table. I recall spreading out my mashed potatoes, hoping it would appear I had eaten my fair share.

Now as a grown-up kid (Adult? Me? Funny joke) I cannot wait to eat dinner. One of the first thing I recommend when hanging out with friends is dinner. Whenever my boyfriend comes over I cook him dinner. If there is any meal I plan for, it is dinner. Evening meal, oh how I love thee!

In contrast to 7-year-old Brittni, 22-year-old Brittni considers dinner a highlight of her day. She also acknowledges that it is the ultimate opportunity to regroup. When my friends and I sit down at that table, we don’t simply share a meal, we share our lives. It’s as if a magical transformation occurs and what was once a group of people circling a table is suddenly a family.

I was reminded of my love affair with dinner last night as I enjoyed (i.e. devoured) a steaming platter of Steak Diane with my parents and boyfriend, Tony. The beef was beautiful, though a little on the rare side. My father, however, was ecstatic; he swears he could hear his meat mooing. And so we ate, laughing and joking, occasionally throwing a few Air Force vs. Army quips into the mix. (My boyfriend [army] and my dad [air force] have been at it ever since Tony commissioned…)

As I sat there I wondered, how many families still make it a priority to sit down to an evening meal. How much more connected would the average family be if they ate together on a regular basis?

Personally, I think America would benefit from a crash course in family dining. Extra credit would be offered of course and consist of venturing to the corner for ice cream. Gold star goes to the fam who sticks around after dessert to play Wii.

~Brittni

Steak Diane
Oh. My. Goodness. This meal is divine! It calls for 1-inch steaks, but don’t be afraid to use a thicker cut; just increase the ingredient proportions and cook for a few extra minutes on each side. And don’t let your mom throw in the left-over lemon zest! They’re sneaky women those moms.

You will need:
4 tenderloin or eye round steaks, cut 1 inch thick
2 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
¼ tsp. fresh ground black pepper
1 tbsp. butter
2 tsp. grated lemon rind
2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. Dijon mustard

Directions:

Lightly brush both sides of steaks with 2 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce (i.e. nectar of the gods) and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Heat butter and lemon rind in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat until hot and happy. Add the steaks and pan fry 8 to 10 minutes (or in my case, 16 to 20 minutes since dad bought an entire cow). Turn the steaks once while cooking.

Remove steaks to a platter and let them bask in all their juicy glory. Meanwhile, reduce the heat on your stove to medium and add the lemon juice, additional tbsp. of Worcestershire sauce and Dijon mustard to the skillet. Whisk up a storm, scraping in any meaty bits, until the sauce is blended.

Carve steaks into ¼ inch slices, or just serve them whole like we did. Finish off the dish by pouring the succulent mix of lemony-dijon heaven over said meat and garnish with some pretty parsley and/or paprika.

Yield ~ 4 servings

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