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On Your Table Blog

August 6, 2018

Does it have to be a table?

Balancing work, balancing meals

Does it have to be a table?

This post first appeared in the July issue of Prairie Parent

By Chris Holznagel

What’s on your table? Wait a minute. Does it have to be a “table?” What about a pickup tailgate or a catwalk on a cattle processing system? Or, for myself, even horseback because sometimes you can’t stop to eat. For me and my family these are common places you will find us sharing a meal.

Little cowboys on horseback

My wife Lindsay and I run a livestock service company along with our two boys Hayden (almost 3) and Bennett (8 months). Granted these two jokers don’t help out much yet but they sure do eat. We strive for quick and easy meals because a lot of the time our work schedules dictate our meal times as well as the location.

A lot of times today people cringe at the idea of eating out in the open when your hands are still dirty, when there is no warm water or soap to be had. I’m not encouraging you to eat dirty food items, but what I am trying to say is a little dirt never hurt, either.

A common scenario is when a child drops stuff on the floor, you simply wash it off and away you go. By that’s not an option for me when we are out moving cows and my youngest decides to drop a cracker. What do you do? You dust that baby off best you can and let them have at it! I’m no medical doctor but I think a little bit of grime is good for the immune system.

Between calving, farm work and my favorite time of year, branding, it can be hard finding well rounded meals. But I haven’t left a branding yet not feeling “well rounded” after some of the good vittles that are provided by the hosting ranch or even a neighbor that “happened” to bake a fresh batch of cookies that morning.

We strive to give our kids the best but remember sometimes the best is what you can give at that given moment. Sometimes an ice cream cone serves as a meal in itself. I have my two boys a lot by myself due to work schedules and vice versa for my wife. My kids may not be the best vegetable eaters in the world but that may be due to environment. It’s hard to eat a good piece of broccoli with a nice juicy ribeye staring at you first. But please as parents don’t fret eventually they will come around and eat that veggie or fruit along with everything else.

Playing in the dirt

Don’t be afraid if that burger you give your kids has dirt on it, just be confident that that beef is from a producer who cares about what lands on that plate, no matter their production practices. That goes for those who grow your veggies and fruits too.

Eating on the go is part of our everyday lives, whether we are in a carpool lane in a big city or in the slow lane behind one of those great producers moving a tractor down the road.