Correction to This Article
A Web site address for "The Six O'Clock Scramble," a weekly e-mail newsletter of menus, is incorrect in today's Food section, which was published in advance. The correct address is www.thescramble.com.
Q& A

Hey Mom, What's for Dinner?

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Wednesday, March 29, 2006

If you're a parent with young children, then you know that the dinner hour is always a time of calm and organization, resulting in a delicious home-cooked meal.

You can stop laughing now.

Aviva Goldfarb feels your chaos. The Chevy Chase mother of two children, ages 6 and 9, recognizes what she calls "the six o'clock scramble" to get some semblance of a meal on the table.

Now 38, she went through it herself when her first child was born -- until she came up with a system that involves weekly dinner menus, a shopping list and quick, nutritious recipes. It has also evolved into a career for Goldfarb.

Now "The Six O'Clock Scramble" is a weekly e-mail newsletter with 2,200 subscribers. And next month, Goldfarb's cookbook -- "The Six O'Clock Scramble: Quick, Healthy and Delicious Dinner Recipes for Busy Families" (St. Martin's Griffin, $17.95) will go on sale. (To subscribe to the newsletter, which is $5 monthly, go to http://www.scramble.com/ .)

Staff writer Candy Sagon sat down with the super-organized Goldfarb to learn some of her secrets:

Have you always cooked?

No. Before my kids were born, I worked full time. I used to do a lot of takeout for dinner. But after my son was born and I quit work, I knew takeout was not going to cut it. I started looking for simple, quick recipes.

What about your own mother -- did she always cook dinner?

Absolutely. The family dinner hour was sacred. She always made a main course and two sides every night. And on Friday nights, she made homemade challah. My friends used to beg to have dinner at my house on Fridays because of my mother's challah. So when I became a mother, I realized it was my turn to re-create that experience for my kids. The funny thing is, now my mother is using my recipes.

So why a weekly system?

Well, I hated going to the grocery store. With little kids, it's impossible. So I wanted to go only once a week. That meant I had to discipline myself to write down the menus for a week's worth of dinners and make one shopping list.


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