Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Family Food

If you know me at all, you know that cooking isn't a talent of mine. I'm not bad at some stuff, but I've always been an eat to live not a live to eat kind of person. Of course, in the last few years I've really learned to enjoy eating, but it never carried over to loving to cook what I eat.

If you know this about me, you probably know all the strange quirks my family has with food, which would explain why I've pretty much given up trying to cook. If this is all unfamiliar, I'll spell it out for your entertainment:

Husband: Doesn't eat chicken. Likes beef, but only ground beef. Will not eat beans. Or salad. Or rice.

Oldest Child: Vegetarian. LOVES sweets. Eats them more than I do, but she's as thin as a rail. No beans, no humus, no salad. No pizza.

Youngest Child: Pseudo Vegetarian - sometimes eats meat, but unpredictable about what and when. Mostly won't, though. Does not eat beans. Does not like pasta or cheese.

Me: No shrimp. I'm going to leave it at that.

I always imagine what our family Venn Diagram would look like. There is barely any overlapping areas where a family meal could exist. We used to at least be able to break out the spaghetti for dinner, but Youngest won't really go along anymore. It's almost like we'd have a rectangle with four circles sitting next to each other not crossing. My husband and I are a bit closer and I can eat with my Oldest just fine. In fact my homemade mac and cheese is her favorite and I make enough for both of us.

Nobody has to tell me that it's my own fault. I spent practically my entire childhood sitting at the table with a cold plate of food that I refused to eat sitting in front of me until I got tired of being stubborn, ate the stuff and got up. I swore I wouldn't do the same to my own children and I haven't. I don't MAKE them eat stuff. Should have, though. Now I've created a set of monsters.

My New Year's resolution was to figure it all out. How do I make eating a family affair again? I got out a few No-Miss cookbooks with family friendly food in them and they're no good. Vegetarian children aren't normal. Kids are supposed to like hot dogs and hamburgers and pizza. At least the Youngest cheese-hater will eat pizza.

The thing is that there are so many things that I would love to make for all of us. As I type this, risotto crosses my mind, as does yakisoba and spaghetti carbonara. Or even a dang Cobb salad. One of my favorite dishes is made with black beans, sliced grape tomatoes, a handful of frozen corn, cubed avocado tossed with a vinaigrette and black pepper. Then there is my wonderful fritatta with mushrooms and onions that my brother taught me to make.

Oh well, even if I could get them to eat all that, when I make it, it's not guaranteed to come out edible. My kitchen escapades have not all been successful. When I lived in Japan, I loved eating yakisoba. When I've tried to make it, disaster struck. I tried making vindaloo before, too, and failed.

I'm sure I'll figure it out. I'm just not really sure where to go from here.


hokgardner said...

Woo, I don't envy you. I hate cooking. Hate it. But I can cook enough of a variety to make my family relatively happy. Fortunately, my kids are not picky eaters. My husband is actually the hardest to please. Mostly because he used to work in some of the best restaurants in town while he was in college and developed very refined taste. So my casseroles just don't cut it. But if he dares to complain too much, I'll tell him he can take over dinner making. And that usually quiets him down.

ckh said...

I envy you.

My kids used to eat okay. I'm not sure how this weird stuff happened, though. And, as I should have written in the post, they are vegetarians by their own choice - I had nothing to do with it. I eat meat.