Steak, Ketchup and the Demise of the Home Cooked Meal

Weekend update — Trump didn’t screw up his speech in Saudi Arabia, he was served a well-done steak with a side of ketchup and it was Bring Your Own Cup (BYOC) day at 7-Eleven.

Since Trump’s unsophisticated palate has been widely covered, I’ll fill you in on the equally riveting BYOC Bonanza. This past weekend, for only $1.50, 7-Eleven customers could bring a “cup” of any size to fill with the world’s most famous frozen carbonated refreshment, Slurpee.

The infamous beverage includes many of America’s favorite ingredients — high fructose corn syrup, artificial flavors, sodium benzoate and Red die #40. More proof that the American dream is alive and well.

My 16-year old boy was giddy on Friday as he prepared his “cup,” a giant Tupperware container usually filled with cereal. He proudly texted me the photo above. Clearly, we’re at war with society and society is winning.

As a parent of two teenagers, I struggle to feed my kids healthy meals. After work and shuttling kids between sports, friends and the orthodontist, I’m tired. Most parents aren’t hip to prolong the rush hour drive, fight for a parking spot and dig out the ramen noodles the kids hide in the cart.

We could have meal “kits” delivered, but I’d still have to cook them and clean the kitchen. So, we acquiesce. “Sure, have a pizza, but eat your broccoli.”

I used to cook…when my son had a nanny and didn’t require screen police or on-demand drivers. My former nanny, Antonietta, is from Mexico and lived in a small, two-bedroom apartment with her brother, sister-in-law and 2 nieces.

Antoinetta’s Meatballs

Unlike ginormous, suburban kitchens equipped to feed a small country, the Gomez kitchen was tiny. Yet, every time I picked up my kids, the smell of home cooked meals permeated the air.

Even though the adults had full-time jobs, they still shopped, cooked and shared homemade meals with my family.

I’d ask, “Antonietta, what’s the recipe?” She’d reply, “I don’t know, I just watched my mother.” Embarrassed by the chicken nuggets in my freezer, I’d furiously jot notes as she cooked.

As the holiday weekend approaches and we’re bombarded with the usual shopping “bonanzas,” I’m thinking about cooking a meal for my family at home. Okay, I’m done thinking, I’ll just go to Antonietta’s.

Marissa Verson Harrison is a strategic marketer, growth expert, brand builder and founder of Lean Startup Strategies (LSS.) At LSS, we help companies achieve their business objectives in record time by finding ways to put a $1 into marketing to get $5 of revenue out.

Originally published at Marissa V. Harrison.

Founder of ScreenAge Bootcamp — A Parent Coaching Platform to combat tech addiction. (

Founder of ScreenAge Bootcamp — A Parent Coaching Platform to combat tech addiction. (