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Saturday, July 26, 2014
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Published: Monday, 3/10/2014

COMMENTARY

Dinner Tonight gets a makeover

BY MARY BILYEU
BLADE FOOD EDITOR

What are we doing about dinner tonight? And, more precisely, Dinner Tonight?

This feature, which offers simple recipes to help with meal planning, is mired in a tug of war. So many readers love it, so many readers ... well, they don’t hate it so much as they want to see it modified. (One writer, though, did ask me to make it “go away.”)

A lot of people have called, emailed, and otherwise told me their opinions even though I hadn’t given an indication that I might ever modify it in any way. Perhaps having a new food editor made the possibility of change seem imminent, such that individuals either saw an opportunity for revision or a need to be pro-actively protective.

Dinner Tonight began as a way to offer fast, simple recipes that readers have sent in — something you might be able to make for dinner on any given night without a lot of fuss. We want all of you to contribute, to be a part of the community talking about food and sharing your favorite dishes. But submissions have become so scarce that we recently had to use the Morsels column to do a bit of nudging. One woman very generously sent four recipes, but she was the only one who responded to the request, sustaining us for two weeks.

Many of the recipes we’ve received for some time now are family favorites, ones that are tried and tested; and that means generations have often been enjoying them for decades. They’re wonderful, and we all have fond memories of many dishes which, with today’s nutritional standards in mind, we know we shouldn’t really indulge. These old family favorites aren’t necessarily what many readers are looking for these days, with sodium and sugar and fat contents, refined carbohydrates, nitrites, and processed foods prevalent among our dietary concerns.

So, in an effort to keep everyone happy — or, at least, please most of the people most of the time, we hope — Dinner Tonight is going to be revised a bit.

Starting on Monday we’ll offer Dinner Tonight five days per week, Monday through Friday; you’ll find it online at toledoblade.com/dinner-tonight. It will also be available in print on the Food Page on Tuesdays.

We’ll happily publish readers’ contributions if they’re easy to make and include lots of grains, vegetables, lean protein, fruits, and nutrition. But we’ll now offer recipes from cookbooks, too. I receive at least one new publication each week for review, and also have quite a collection of my own. This seems an ideal way to give you a taste (pun intended) of new cookbooks you might be interested in while also ensuring that there is a healthy component to the dinner options that we offer.

Especially now that warmer weather is returning, please send lighter recipes: quick, easy vegetarian or vegan meals; dishes showcasing chicken or turkey or fish; entrees utilizing lots of the beautiful produce that is coming back after the cold snowy winter. These are the types of recipes that many readers are seeking.

And don’t forget, you can also chat about recipes and ingredients and other related topics on our new Facebook page (facebook.com/thebladefoodpage) or by following on Twitter (@BladeFoodPage). These are new ways to engage with you, where many of us can become friends while discussing a favorite topic: food. We don’t want our readers feeling left out at all, just because we’re making some changes to Dinner Tonight.

We think that everyone wins with this compromise: Those who love the column, those who want the column updated, those who want healthy recipes, those who want more recipes, those who want their cookbooks featured. And me, someone who hopes to encourage people to cook by providing simple, nutritious, delicious options for you to serve for dinner tonight.

Contact Mary Bilyeu at 
mbilyeu@theblade.com
 or 419-724-6155 or on Twitter @foodfloozie.



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