Wednesday, April 7, 2010

I'm Eating WHAT For Dinner?

I know that there are people that love to cook, experiment with recipes, try new ingredients and spend hours in the kitchen. These are the kind of people that own a bottle of white truffle oil, are able to keep a sauce at a low simmer, can quickly dice carrots without losing a finger and aren't intimidated when it comes to preparing a whole fish. I am not one of those people. I do, however, read nutrition labels, have eliminated trans fats from our house, make sure that fresh produce is in the fridge, would rather make dinner than eat out (unless someone says "let's go out,") and am usually able to serve something edible in about 20 minutes. But do I actually enjoy cooking? Usually, no.

Some people are able to plan a week's worth of meals, shop only once (with coupons) and even manage to use all of the leftovers in creative and appetizing ways. I, on the other hand, have arrived home from the grocery store with produce, crackers, bread and tonic and, although I'm tempted to try, I don't think it's possible to make dinner-for-five out of strawberries and Wheat Thins. At least I usually have a few pork chops or a pound of ground beef that can be whipped up into something delicious, if they weren't in the freezer.

Fortunately, none of my kids are very picky about what they eat so making dinner is rarely a complete pain in the ass. Actually, now that I think about it, it could be that some of them are pretty high maintenance, but since I've been making food for this family for so long I've grown accustomed to the idiosyncrasies and quirks of each person. Ah, who the hell am I kidding -- there are definitely some individualized dietary demands that should be making me insane. In fact, if someone else came to my house and was given the task of cooking for my kids for one week, they would probably run out the door after three days, screaming and bashing themselves on the head with a ladle in an attempt to end the misery.

One kid will eat just about anything and although he likes cheese, he only likes certain kinds and if there's too much cheese than the meal is basically inedible. Another kid doesn't like pepper on anything, likes eggs fried so that the yolk isn't slimy, isn't a big fan of sauce and will skillfully arrange uneaten peas on his plate in an attempt to make the pile seem smaller. Grilled meats are fine, as long as they don't require excessive amounts of chewing. Everyone likes Caesar salad, but it can't have too much dressing. They all like fruit, but it can't have blemishes. Casseroles are quick and easy to prepare, but Zoe doesn't like anything that consists of multiple ingredients mushed together. Although it would make life easier, serving a rotation of corn dogs, pancakes and pasta seems a little irresponsible.

So basically, cooking for this family is easy, as long as it's not too saucy, cheesy, mushroomy, spicy, mushy, crunchy, greenish or chewy. Or in other words, I'll admit that sometimes, cooking for this family is a complete pain-in-the-ass.

1 comment:

Rebekah C said...

Boy can I relate to this! I have one daughter that is going through this phase where she turns her nose up at EVERYTHING I serve, even stuff she likes!

I have another child with texture issues that will at least TRY most things (unless her sister thinks it's gross in which case she refuses because her big sister is just that cool).

My MIL (we live with her) pretty much won't eat anything I cook unless it's stir fry (grudgingly) or spaghetti (but only if it's prepared her way, i.e: flavorless and without anything actually IN it. Just sauce form the jar, tyvm!).

Thankfully my husband will eat just about anything I put in front of him.