What did you have for dinner last night?

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One of my New Year’s resolutions was to stay out of politics.

That resolution may go the way of “lose weight” and “get more exercise,” but here’s a stab at staying out of politics: talk about dinner menus.

Sometimes I think there’s another meat that I’ve just forgotten about because dinner menus at my house feature a rotation of chicken, beef, chicken, chicken, pork, fish, chicken, beef, chicken…. now and then a lamb chop.

Last week, I set out to learn what others eat for dinner. I was looking for new menu ideas and wanting to test my theory that most everyone eats a whole lot of chicken.

Over in Andover, Carol Emery was building dinner around a chicken she’d roasted a few days previously in their wood stove. With it were stir-fried Swiss chard, whole wheat bread, and “probably some potatoes.”

Calls to a dozen or 15 people inquiring about their dinner menus made most people giggle a little. Some couldn’t remember what they’d had the night before. Herb Adams was in the background helping Dottie remember “chicken?”

That evening would feature left-over ham, chicken, and pork with homemade applesauce, rice, and squash.

Dicey dinners

With no one to please but themselves, some folks indulge quirky dinners.

Dave Duguay was out of town for most of last week. For dinner one night, Patty ate a banana, roast beef and cheese on flat bread, cashews, and a handful of white chocolate chips. Bill Weston chuckled as he explained that the peanut butter and cheese he put on his English muffin were not on the same half. “I eat out a lot.”

Bev Melanson had had lunch with a friend the day before and eaten the other half of her chicken sandwich for dinner. How to stay willowy!

Nature and nurture

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Children and teen-agers are hungry by nature. Hats off to the cooks in families with two working parents who manage to satisfy appetites and make dinner time nurture time. Tracy Pinkham, school nurse for Meroby and Rumford elementary schools, is emphatic: “We sit down as a family every night.”

Steve and Tracy’s children are Jake, 13, and Abby, 10. They eat plenty of chicken (Jake: “This is boring!), true; but other times there are roasted sweet sausages with peppers and onions.

Amy Bumby, 13, told me her parents, Betty and Daniel, share dinner duties.

Last night? “Pork chops.”

Up the road in East Rumford, Sandy MacGregor reported last night’s dinner was chicken breasts slow baked in stoneware with carrots, salsa, and homemade bread. Tonight? “Not sure. I’m hoping for quiche.”

John and Susan Dolloff, and son Logan are fortunate indeed. Mariette Dolloff, who will be 89 on March 23, runs their kitchen Monday through Friday. She serves perfect cold-weather food: fricasseed chicken with gravy, pasta Alfredo, biscuits.

Farm fresh

Joann Rogers is a longtime resident of Carthage. She loves cooking with cream and butter from her own cow. Her grown children and grandchildren live near and far. Right now, her Alaska grandson and his girlfriend are staying with her, and she definitely enjoys cooking for them. That evening’s meal – oh my – would be country-style pork ribs braised in chicken broth with turnip, cabbage, carrots and potatoes.

“Wonderful pork. My son and daughter-in-law raise pigs on their farm in New Sharon.” And the chicken stock “is from the chickens that raise themselves in my barn.”

Despite the small sample in my survey, I judge I’m right: we all eat a lot of chicken. So, what are we having for dinner tonight? Not chicken. We had chicken last night.

Linda Farr Macgregor is a freelance writer from Rumford.

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