When I was a kid, my family went out to eat approximately never. My mother will tell you that it was out of frugality, because my family was broke (not in a depressing, Charles-Dickens sort of way, but a charming and somewhat hilarious let’s-throw-a-blanket-over-the-kids-so-we-don’t-have-to-pay-for-them-at-the-Drive-In kind of way).
I’m sure our reluctance to eat out also had to do with the fact that restaurants don’t like patrons who sit around the table for three hours after the meal is finished, yelling at one another about nothing. This is a part of Italian culture, and if you think that I am over-generalizing, then you have never had dinner with an Italian family.
Seriously, my family can fight about what time it is, if you let them.
I find it all rather hilarious, and I often just sit back and enjoy the conflict, occasionally stoking the coals (“Don’t forget about daylight savings!” I’ll innocently add, and another hour will be lost to the yelling). Sometimes I even make a bag of popcorn and nibble on it as I watch the show, and they don’t even notice.
Before you judge me on my choice of entertainment, I will kindly remind you that it’s in my blood: the ancient Romans used to watch people tear one another apart in the Colosseum; by comparison, our family dinners involve fewer casualties, though there is just about as much sword-wielding and yelling.