Thursday, April 4, 2013

What's for Dinner?

Seriously.  Every night.  Can we just take a pass one or two nights a week?  My boys probably wouldn't even notice.  Sometimes they ask me for lunch only hours after they've finished eating lunch.  When I remind them of this they say, "Really? What did I eat?"  It must not have been memorable.

That's the thing: we've taught our children that everything needs to be presented with great fanfare.  Is the meal served with special neon colors, pinwheels, toys, activity books, movie passes, dancing clowns, or fireworks?  No?  Then forget it.  When my husband cooks something new that we think they might possibly like, the plate is often met with snubs and turned up noses.  Or, (more annoyingly) if they've enjoyed a meal in the past and we make it again, knowing it will be well-received, they swear they've never tasted such a concoction before and would never in their life willingly let this mix of ingredients pass their lips.  Logan routinely tells us, "I hate chicken!"  How can anyone hate chicken?  It's one of our main dinner ingredients.  And he will eat "chicken" nuggets from any fast food restaurant, thus proving that he does in fact like chicken, or that their "chicken" is not made from actual poultry.  

I'm not that excited about cooking.  Honestly, my husband plans and cooks more meals than I do.  I think he secretly wants to be on a cooking show.  He's the guy who has every ingredient meticulously chopped, measured, and featured in individual miniature glass bowls.  Our rule is one person cooks, the other cleans up.  I'm usually thinking, "Why am I stuck washing fifteen ramekins?  We had hot dogs."

Generally, most meals are dumbed-down for kids.  Less spice, fewer ingredients, uniform color, the more bland, the better.  The exception goes for that one family with the foodie kids who know what grass-fed Niman Ranch beef is, who ask for French Laundry as a birthday lunch, and have tried foie gras at fancy restaurants (you know who you are).  If we even add a simple shake of seasoning, or heaven forbid, parsley over the top, my boys won't eat it.  I try to hide veggies in the final product but they can sense the presence of natural vitamins just like Superman's x-ray vision can see through steel.  I tried using squash in mac'n cheese once but it was rather disgusting and I don't blame them for distrusting any casserole dishes I made in the future.

If I only had myself to worry about, it wouldn't be a problem!  I loved college days when I could simply have a healthy baked potato as my meal.  Topped with nonfat sour cream, broccoli, salsa, what have you.  Maybe a sprinkle of cheese, and some bacon bits.  Did I mention bacon?  That's a meal right there!  Or a bowl of cereal when I was really in a pinch.  Some rice and teriyaki chicken.  Or, bacon... easy peasy.  Now I need to make sure it's well-balanced, tasty, and follows that new government-recommended plate diagram.  Sure.  Let me just peek into my dwindling pantry supplies, and reach past my questionable refrigerator leftovers to whip up something real quick between guitar lessons, scouts, and baseball activities.

Thank goodness there's always one easy standby.  Brinner.  Breakfast for dinner.  I make it sound like a treat and they love it even more.  And the best part?  You can always have bacon with it.

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