What did the kids eat for dinner in The Color of Water?

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Lorraine Caplan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There is one chapter, "Brothers and Sisters," that discusses what the family ate in some detail.  It does not seem that the family had a proper dinner hour at which everyone sat down together to eat, since "there was never enough places at the table for everyone to sit" (50).  McBride's mother came home from work too tired to cook, and sometimes the children found her sitting at the kitchen table asleep.  But she brought home food from work. McBride describes some, for example, "bologna sandwiches, cheese, cakes..." (50-51).  He also mentions grilled cheese and peanut butter.  Other foods the children ate are mentioned as well (although it is not at all clear what meals these foods were consumed at), including grits, pancakes, and stew.  McBride writes that "Momma could not cook to save her life" (51), and that, combined with her exhaustion, left the children to scrounge on their own and do the best they could to eat. This may sound dreadful, but this remarkable woman managed to raise all of her children very well under the circumstances.