My Third Job
Trying to figure out what to make for dinner is like having a second job. Actually, being a dedicated wife/mother is my second job so figuring out what to make for dinner is technically my third job. While there are only three of us to cook for, we might as well be a family of 10 considering how many likes and dislikes I have to consider at mealtimes.
I’ll admit that I am probably the most demanding what with my 100+ food allergies. Plus I don’t eat meat or chicken and I don’t like to eat too much fish either. That doesn’t leave a whole lot to choose from other than eggs, vegetables, and fruit. I am single-handedly ensuring the livelihood of cage-free organically grown chickens and organically grown zucchini. Anyway, I figure that since I am the one who cooks everything I have a license to be demanding, right?
So we have Maya who doesn’t particularly care for chicken or fish unless it has been battered, salted, breaded, frozen, salted some more, and then defrosted. She doesn’t like hamburgers. She isn’t a huge fan of homemade pizza (not enough grease maybe?) but she’ll go to town on Dominos Pizza. She doesn’t (knowingly) eat lots of vegetables except for broccoli, corn, and sometimes carrots and cucumbers. She is the only child on the planet who doesn’t like potatoes. So what does she eat? Maya could easily live off of bread and cheese. This would be no problem if we lived in Paris but while Ali tries to figure out a way to make a millions so we can live large near St-Germain-des-Prés, I’m trying to get Maya to eat a lot more than just cheese sandwiches.
Ali has come a long way with his eating habits. A few years ago he wouldn’t consider eating a meal that didn’t contain a dead animal. McDonald’s, Taco Bell, and Pizza Hut were staples in his diet. Chalupa, anyone? I’m happy to say that these days he will often ask for a vegetarian meal. We have made huge strides! But alas, dinner still isn’t as easy as giving him the same thing I eat. His idea of a vegetarian meal is a giant plate of pasta covered in spaghetti sauce (no parmesan cheese of course as that would be greeted with a “what’s this white stuff” comment). He won’t eat fish unless it involves going to Chili’s and having what he deems the best Tilapia ever. Yes, that’s right, apparently Chili’s has cornered the market on Tilapia. He’ll do vegetables occasionally but they usually need to be covered in some type of oil or sauce and never, ever in their original raw state. Try to hand him a raw carrot and things could get ugly.
So today after picking Maya up from school and taking a short detour to the library where we read 10 Christmas books as she made herself at home:
I immediately came home, put my stuff down, and set to work figuring out dinner. Maya wanted the early bird special, i.e. whatever I could pull together in 5 minutes because apparently “they had pretzels at snack time Mama, and I HATE pretzels.” So at 5:30 Maya had a fried egg, toast, broccoli, and an unpictured orange. Dinner of champions.
She ate the entire thing without complaint.
“Why are you taking pictures of my empty plate Mama?”
“Cause Mom’s nuts, Pokey, that’s why.”
While Maya ate her dinner, I cleaned up her lunch box and started on Ali’s dinner.
Two tortillas with shredded chicken, spinach, mozzarella cheese, and roasted zucchini on the side.
While he devoured his meal Maya played on the Wii for her allotted half an hour. “I want to play the game that breaks things, Daddy.” Lovely.
Meanwhile, I opened the nearly empty fridge praying for a miracle that would deliver me from another egg based dinner. God heard my prayers because I managed to pull together a pretty decent dinner via the freezer:
A TJ’s Salmon patty, roasted zucchini, and tomatoes on my Eiffel Tower plate. I swear everything tastes better on it. I ate in the kitchen with the company of my new library book.
And then yes, you guessed it, I cleaned up the kitchen again.
So this eating in stages thing is really irritating. Making 3 different meals for dinner each night is even more annoying. I don’t want to spend 1 1/2 hours in the kitchen cooking and intermittently cleaning when I could be spending quality time in front of the TV with Maya.
Does anyone else have to make different meals for all members of their household? Any suggestions on how to stop the madness?