Monday, November 14, 2011

Rut or Tradition

What is the difference between a rut and a tradition?

Soon after we married I read Hidden Art by Edith Schaeffer. I loved the inspiration for homemaking with love and creativity. But one comment I've never been sure I agreed with.

"It seems to me totally unnecessary for any home, or even institution, to fall into the rut of serving the same thing the same day each week. One should not be able to say, 'oh yes, Monday, bread pudding' anywhere. Meals should be a surprise, and should show imagination." 

I think I understand the author's goal in encouraging creativity, but don't we look back with good memories at the traditions of our home?

My husband fondly recalls eating bran muffins every Saturday night. At my parent's home, the Saturday night tradition is pizza. Soon after we married, we somehow started making waffles every Wednesday and now I have mutiny on my hands if I forget what day of the week it is.

Maybe we are boring, but my family appears to thrive on a weekly routine.  I love having a few meals each week that I don't have to decide what to make. If I'm thinking ahead, I can even prep the day before.

Think of all the holiday traditions when we MUST have the same menu year after year after year. Is that a "rut"?

Is the key serving things we enjoy? If my family hated pizza or waffles, eating them every week would be drudgery not a treat.

I'd love to hear your thoughts. Do you have menus you repeat regularly? Does your family mind?

Tomorrow I will share our Sunday morning tradition. Or maybe rut. You choose.


  1. I wouldn't call it a rut..traditions are good and like you said, those are the days you don't have to plan ahead. Just the other day I talked with a friend who said she was thinking of changing her Christmas menu and she said her children and g'children had very emphatically said no way, that's what we look forward to! Same for our family.

  2. Hey Gina,

    My family and I have had cold cereal (or hot...) on Sunday mornings, which makes the mornings easier. We usually have it also on Wednesday.

    No, I don't consider it a rut. I also agree it's easier to do home-making when you don't always have to worry about what to make for breakfast, or what everyone would like.

    Many years ago, pizza was a Friday evening tradition at our house. Perhaps we should start it up again. :) But with three "women" around the house, all trying to cook and do house work, sometimes imagination is a good thing. We can agree (or disagree) on a certain menu, and change things around to suit.

    Thank you for sharing this. I think tradition is a precious thing. There are many things I did with my family as a little girl, that I remember now and would love to carry on to my own family.

    The Lord Jesus seems to have given us a gift, in the love of tradition... to me at least. It shows a love of family, and memories filled with love are treasures everyone should have.

    Yours, Carra

  3. I love that book too and have read it many times over the years. I think traditions are something everyone in the family can look forward to while a rut is perhaps something that is easy for the cook or easy on the budget, but not necessarily something everyone looks forward to eating frequently. It's easy to get into the "rut" of cooking the same things frequently. When you look through your cookbooks, recipe file, food blogs, etc. you can find ideas that will spark creativity and add excitement and interest to meals and perhaps find things that will become new favorites.
    I enjoy reading your blog and appreciate the time you put into it.

  4. I wouldn't call it a rut either! I think its just you have found things that "work" for you family and why change it? I do the same thing as well in my home. I find it makes my home run lots smoother when I stick to the normal instead of always trying to be creative. Creating new things all the time makes me tired! LOL ;) I homeschool 3 children and so we like to keep things simple, and the same!
    I love tradition and making new traditions. My family does as well! Thanks for sharing today!

  5. Growing up we had pizza every Saturday night. We don't have real set traditions as a family, but we often "eat out" on Friday nights. I think I am the one who is at fault in our lack of food traditions--I get bored, or forget, and somehow we get away from doing the same thing every week. :)

  6. I like having traditions. Every Saturday morning we have a BIG breakfast. Everyone expects it and I'm not sure how they would react if it didn't happen. Enjoy your day and God bless.

  7. I love Edith Shaeffer's book! What a blessing it is. I think she is referring not to the treasured traditions, which are thoughtfully continued, but rather to the monotonous, thoughtless type of "traditions." Where something is done not because it is valued (church every Sunday) but because it is easier than the alternative (turning a TV on the minute you get home). Bran muffins on Saturday .... Waffles on Wednesday ... Now I know when to come over for dinner!!

  8. I would have a riot on my hands if I decided to switch up our THanksgiving menu or our :Christmas Eve or morning menu. I am quite sure my family would agree it was tradition and not a rut. I think kids like those things they can count on; some form of security. Something to look forward to .

    I loved that book also, and find it inspiring to read it again

  9. I agree with becka, a tradition is something you look forward to. I love to cook, but when I look at a blank calendar and my recipe box, it can seem overwhelming! Instead, I've assigned each day of the week a theme: Monday/Thursday- vegetarian, Tuesday- anything goes, Wednesday/Saturday- leftovers (there's only 3 of us so we have a lot of leftovers), Friday- pizza, Sunday- crockpot. It allows me freedom, but still keeps things predictable, I love it! We also have Muffin Mondays and oatmeal on Sunday mornings. We look forward to all these meals, so I consider them traditions.

  10. I agree with you as well, that it is nice to have the dependability, especially when it is something the family is fond of. However, Mrs Schaeffer surely must agree that it is possible to have a set routine and yet still use creativity. Just as I have a routine and schedule in our days, so we also have one with meals. And an important factor is what the family enjoys. Maybe she means, "if your family is complaining because it's "Meatloaf Monday" every single week, listen to them! And instead of meatloaf every Monday just have a "Comfort Food Monday" or "Ground Beef Meal Monday" or choose a favorite meal that you repeat. For example, the first Monday of the month could always be spaghetti or tacos... I don't know if that helps, just some thoughts! Keep up the good blogging, it is encouraging to read! This is a good thing to consider, so thank you for bringing it up.

  11. Well, I would gladly rise out of the rut, but my husband has a very limited diet and since we raise chickens there is a "somewhat" routine to our meals. I try to venture out and make something new, but Mr. D doesn't seem to enjoy it much, so I'm back in the rut ;)

    Guess it's a good thing in some ways. He's happy and it's easy to keep him that way. I get to try new stuff when we have church dinners and I try new recipes every now and then. Mr. D will try new vegetables of any type as long as they are not "starchy".

    As long as the "troops" are happy, I OK with that :)

  12. We were having a discussion about this in regard to Thanksgiving. We have to have our stuffing, sweet potatoes, pumpkin and pecan pie and turkey! I agree with you, Gina, that if your family doesn't like something, don't serve it. We have eaten hamburgers from the grill every Saturday night since I was a child - I love it!

  13. I wouldn't call it a rut if everyone is happy. We do popcorn every Sunday evening and we have Thursday morning special breakfast (meaning we make something more time consuming, but not always the same thing). I feel like the roast we have every Sunday at my in-laws is a rut, but I don't have to cook for my family on Sundays then, so I'm not about to tell anyone that I feel that way.

  14. Having worked in childcare for 18 years, I don't call that a rut, I call it a menu, albeit a loose menu. :-) There isn't alot I can add that hasn't already been said, but I wanted to lend my support as well.

    God bless!

  15. My family always had baked beans and cornbread on Saturday nights, and we always had grape juice in special glasses to toast in the sabbath. I LOVED this! It's a fond childhood memory, and the only meal I remember being special.

    So I would definitely say tradition, not rut!!! Repitition is what kids remember, and I want my kids to remember family mealtime.


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