What’s for dinner?

By Jennifer Ferguson

This is not a restaurant review. It’s an ask to review our gift of eating out, a luxury I took for granted as the founder of Wonder Tours. Before the pandemic, I was in many local restaurants running guided food tours and connecting people with new favorites. Once the pandemic hit, the cooking craze, born from social distancing, found me experimenting at home with new recipes, new methods, and a somewhat unhealthy obsession with cooking shows.

It’s time for a new chapter. Now, the question “what’s for dinner” brings to mind all the things I don’t usually cook at home; the splurges and the beautiful chef creations I crave. Fast-food chains are doing great business, and in general, waistlines and health are showing it. “Sharing your gifts” is the perfect time to talk about how we view meal-time and the gift we get to give and receive when the answer to “what’s for dinner” involves a locally owned restaurant for takeout, delivery, or dining in. Three words come to mind when making that choice; convenience, quality, and cost. “Can I get what I want to eat, for a price I’m willing to pay, in a time I want to eat it?”

In the news, we often hear all of the creative ways restaurants are adapting to the pandemic, highlighting their incredible resilience, determination, and creativity. So why are we still seeing some local restaurants struggling to keep their doors open while others can’t hire fast enough or keep up with increased demand from our pent up desire to eat out? There is no argument that buying local or eating local can sometimes require more than a national drive-through. Here are a couple of things to consider as you face down the fast-food sirens. Choosing to eat dinner at or from a locally owned restaurant is more than just about what’s for dinner. It’s about the community, the local economy, and people’s jobs and lives. Set a food budget, then make it special to eat out and order a dish you won’t or can’t cook yourself. Take the time to figure out the ordering, pick it up, and tip generously as a return gift for the extraordinary thought and challenging decision making that local spots put into bringing all that delicious food to the table.

While Wonder Tours has been able to resume private charters and transportation, I miss taking regular groups to introduce new places, foods, chefs, and owners. I will be here and ready when we can resume guided local food tours again. In the meantime, when you ask, “what’s for dinner” break out of that rut of convenience, and try something new. Share your gifts.

Please visit www.wondertours.com to learn more about us, schedule a private charter, and to watch for the return of our local food tours and events.

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Waggle Family Magazine

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Waggle is committed to connecting Front Range Colorado families to local resources and businesses to help build a stronger community.