I hate making dinner for my family.
There, I said it.
I figure after nearly 18 years of marriage, four kids and
countless guests I have cooked more than my share. So, when my
children ask me that dreaded question, "What's for dinner?" I feel
as though someone put me in that movie Groundhog Day and I'll never
escape the repeat.
Just once I'd love to respond "I dunno, leave me alone with that
damn meal already." (OK, I have actually said that….)
It's not that I don't like cooking. It's not that terrible to
create something delicious from nothing special. I don't even mind
the clean up so much. It's really just the guilt of it all. The
inability to ever touch on everyone's eating needs, to reach
society's judge-y healthy needs and actually like what I make at
the end of it all. I love cooking a nutritious well-balanced meal,
sitting down to strange looks and having my kids say the four words
I hate the most: "Is there anything else?"
I make beef burgers. Yes, real ground beef. I know I am
basically choking my children's heart to death with fresh bathed
cholesterol. Choose turkey, my health-conscious friends tell me.
Yes, well, healthy eaters - have you served a turkey burger to a
meat eater and seen what happens? Yah, I think not. Don't even get
me started on chicken or tofurky hot dogs. Those are not real hot
dogs, they are rubber hot dog imposters.
I recently read an article telling me to not make too much tuna
or salmon because apparently the mercury in fish fries the brain. I
always thought fish was brain food? I cannot even get that one
right. Plus, two of my four kids don't even eat fish and a third
one can't stand the smell.
There is always pasta, you say? 1,001 ways according to the book
gathering dust on my shelf. Well, it's super high in carbohydrates,
so says the nutritional facts, making our ever- growing waistlines
larger. I am basically pumping obesity injections and creating
carb-addicts noodle by noodle.
At least there is delicious and safe go-to dairy. Grilled cheese
sandwiches, yogurt smoothies and pizza - ever the crowd pleasers in
my home. Dairy is a healthy, nutritious choice and great for strong
bones and teeth. Well, in a world where we have become lactose
intolerant (myself included) I have to cut down on that natural
dairy and replace with yummy things like hemp or rice milk or
Dasoya cheese. Mmmm. Try serving a little mac and cheese with hemp
milk or fake-cheese that literally tastes like paper. Let me know
what your kids think.
So, this leaves poultry. Chicken and I are left with a love/hate
relationship. I cook it at least once a week. It's healthy, low
fat, versatile and all that good stuff. But, one look at too many
bone-in chickens and I start to hear it cluck. My daughter feels
the same. Back to vegetarianism we go.
Which brings me to tofu. I personally love the stuff. It's
delicious ability to morph into shapes and flavors intrigues me.
Stir fry, tofu soups, tempeh steaks. I could eat it all day. My
husband and kids, however, think it has the texture of a
marshmallow and the taste of a bar of soap.
So, I am creative and careful to balance our week with pasta,
chicken, tofu and fish with a few beef meals thrown in for good
measure. Everyone has their own style and functionality and I try
hard not to let the guilt get the best of me. I often visit 'What's
For Dinner?' sites and even started one on Facebook. It is
exhausting to try and meet everyone's likes and dislikes as well as
hit all the marks on health.
So, I am trying the tried and true tactic of just 'eat what's
put in front of you or you don't eat'. It worked for my mom, let's
hope it works for me. And for you health-conscious naysayers out
there, I'm making burgers tonight. Deal with it.
Sara Kutliroff is a freelance writer and blogger trying not to forget the "me” in mommy.
See more of Sara's stories here.
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