Reflections Upon Family Dinners Day In, and (Rarely) A Day Out

Culture shift results in many more nights dining out on the town. We help you discover where to go.

BEING ITALIAN, my most memorable family moments often happened around the dining room table or in the kitchen. No slight to my wonderful mom, but dinners were a fairly scripted affair in the Braun household. Monday night was hamburger shaped in myriad ways—meatloaf, shepherd’s pie or patties between slices of Stroehmann King. (Bread was delivered to the door back then.)

Pasta with gravy was a safe bet on any Tuesday, Thursday or Sunday. Wednesdays were slightly more unpredictable, based on what could be done to a chicken, accompanied by the leftovers in the fridge or freezer. Friday, Mrs. Paul decided the menu; Saturday, we ordered pizza.

Missing dinner on a Sunday required written permission from the Pope. And a meal at a restaurant? Not likely, as there were seven mouths to feed.

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These days—for me and, I’m sure, for a lot of you—eating out is more the norm than the exception. At Main Line Today, we get it: Food is a big deal. That’s why we offer expanded dining coverage twice a year, in addition to our monthly Epicure section. This time, we revisit the area’s thriving BYOB scene, with 18 picks from our Town Dish partners, a comprehensive directory and more.

Before you head out on your next BYOB discovery mission, here’s some advice from this wine lover: Bring the good stuff. Leave the Yellow Tail at home, and tote that Silver Oak cabernet you’ve been saving for a special occasion. After all, you can’t enjoy a second bottle until you’ve had the first. 

ALSO IN THIS ISSUE: Local photographer Tessa Smucker had something fairly simple in mind when she returned to the Lancaster County community where she grew up: to capture the truth. “Shows like Amish Mafia and Breaking Amish take advantage of the public’s fascination with mostly fabricated story lines,” says Smucker, whose pictures and words combine for a compelling reflection on her Amish roots in “Back to the Family” (page 52). “I know the real people—the ones who strive for peace and simplicity.”

In reality, says Smucker, the Amish are not that much different from us. “They simply choose to set aside distractions and focus on what’s important to them,” she says. “Several times in my community, when a neighbor’s barn caught fire and burned to the ground, without fail, the Amish and Mennonites would come together and build another one—usually within a few days. It’s just what they do.


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