Sorry, But I’m Not Cooking For You Anymore

I’ve had it.

I’m clearing out my pots and pans, grabbing the ‘ol Betty Crocker cookbook and moving to someone else’s kitchen.

Extreme? Yes. But the food torture I’ve endured as the mother of a picky 7, 5 and 2 year old has made me a woman on the edge. They won’t eat anything. Well, they won’t eat anything that has flavor or is actually good for them.

They won't eat this. They won't eat anything.

I have to prod them to eat a few bites of baked chicken. Argue to eat rice. I can’t even cook a vegetable; they all have to be raw. They won’t eat sauce on pasta (Really? What’s the point?) Oh, I’ve read “Parents” magazine. I know the old “put fruit on skewers like it’s fun!” routine. I’ve done it. I’ve rolled fish in corn flakes for a homemade version of fish sticks. I’ve made ketchup available as a dipping sauce for everything. Doesn’t work.

We end up in the same eating routine week after week. Chicken. Plain pasta. Maybe fish (w/ lemon and a side of threats) Tacos. Baked macaroni and cheese (they even refuse to eat the Kraft mac)

Repeat.

So who gets punished? Me (and my husband, he’d like to point out).  We have to endure eating the same thing over and over again because a) I think it’s important to eat as a family b) I don’t want to be a short order cook and fix something different for everyone.

When they were babies they were great eaters, fruits, veggies, fish you name it. I smugly rejoiced at my flexible, plump babies that ate it all. Then they had a processed fish stick, their taste buds turned to the dark side and I found meal planning each week to be an excruciating game of “Who will eat it?”

Ode to Ina

The thing is, I love to cook. I want to cook. I have SIX BURNERS on my stove. I long for creamy risotto, buttery scallops, sweet potato fries, lentils and roasted broccoli. I worship at the recipe altar of Ina Garten (or maybe I just want to hang in the Hamptons and make Jeffrey’s favorite chicken) and like to experiment with interesting flavors and lots of butter. I’m trying to out do Martha by taking on her cookie book (don’t do the gingersnap palmiers, terrible recipe) and I aspire to make my own ricotta cheese.

But the pleasure of cooking has turned into an unhappy chore. Last night I made chicken cordon bleu. What’s not to like about chicken with ham and cheese wrapped up inside? Nobody liked it. My son said to me, “If I eat another piece of this, can I have dessert?”

Somewhere I went wrong.

So kids, you’re on your own. Find some other lady to fix your meals. I’ll be the one eating risotto in the corner. By myself.

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22 thoughts on “Sorry, But I’m Not Cooking For You Anymore

  1. I’ve been saying for months you need to write a book. Now, I think this collection of blogs needs to be poured into a movie or TV series. Casting Christy will become the hottest role in Hollywood.

  2. My wife always told my kids, “This is not a restaurant. I cook whatever. You eat or you don’t eat. It is your choice. Now all grown, they love coming home to Mom’s cooking.

    • Right. They will get over it! Don’t give up! Also don’t forget that kids have many more tastebuds than adults. If they say it’s spicy or yucky, that might be the reason. The flavors, for them, are much more intense. It’s really true! Reminds me, tho, of when my son was 5 and he was SHOVELLING IN his grandma’s prized potato soup when the other kids refused. She said proudly, “Eric, you love Grandma’s soup, don’t you!” He replied… “NO! I’M TRYING TO GET THIS OVER WITH!”
      🙂

  3. OK, so here’s the plan…..since we only live 2 miles from each other, and my kids have the same dream diets as yours, I’ll cook the mac & cheese/fish sticks for your posse, if you share your gourmet cookin’ with me and Alan. Everybody wins!! (If you’re wondering if Christy is that good of a cook, just ask me…..she rocks)

  4. I used to try and get the kids to ‘eat a rainbow’ of foods, too. As toddlers they were great, something happened in those preschool years. Now I cook what I like, what keeps me healthy and satisfied, and we’ve instituted a ‘no recipe sharing or guessing’ at the table. If you don’t care for it, you don’t have to eat it and there are appropriate ways of expressing your feelings about a certain dish, including keeping those feelings to yourself. It is deflating to hear criticism after lovingly, and with a bit of sacrifice and hustle to get it all on the table, hearing a snide, “What’s IN this?” Keep up the interesting posts, Christy 🙂

  5. I know the feeling!! My two oldest boys were awful. I always heard lots of ‘what’s that’, ‘I’m not eating that’, ‘eeww’. Then one day I said screw it I’m making what I want. They can eat PB&J. We told them to eat what I made or make their own food. I guess the PB&J and easy mac finally got to them. They started trying what we were eating and found a few things they liked.
    Then a good year into this, my oldest was diagnosed with a milk allergy. Now I make things he can eat. He’s 12 and willing to try alot of different foods. The 9yr old is sort of willing. The 2yr old will usually try it, even if it has veggies!!
    Christy I say go on strike!! Make foods you and Jamie will enjoy. If the kids don’t like it, there’s always pb&j!

    • Reminds me of a great kids book called “Bread and Jam for Francis”. All this little creature ate was PBJ until she went out of her skull crazy and wanted to eat other things again. Glad to know your kids survived, Judy! Thanks for reading!

      • Christy, the best is when they spend a week with my sister and eat everything she makes!! Either she’s fibbing or she’s really making stuff they want. I’m just glad that their taste buds are changing as they get older. If my husband and I really like something, they are more willing to try it. I also take them shopping with me and have them pick out a fruit or veggie to try. That’s how we found out my picky eaters like of all things asparagus!

  6. OMG this is so my life. Add to it a husband who can’t/wont cook. If I don’t cook we don’t eat. And I need to cook noodles with every meal so I can make sure my kids eat nothing but the starch they are addicted to. I can’t wait till they go to college and realize what they had. And my husband – I am abandoning the stove as soon as the last one leaves. Good luck honey!

  7. Yes, it is hard when you are a true foodie, to please everyone in the family, especially young kids. All I can say is “Don’t give up and don’t fold”. Keep doing what you are doing, but add some “new” along the way. Pizza Chicken (Chicken Parmesan), pasta w/ additions that they like, a good old fashioned roast in the crock pot. Keep it up, they will appreciate it. The biggest way to influence kids is to let them be a part of the process, a spoke in the wheel. It is true of all things in running a family today, we forget that they need to feel important. There is nowhere more apparent than the kitchen. It made a difference for us.

  8. Just cook what you like, &if there are no allergies, then THEY DON’T HAVE TO EAT! Nothing till the next meal. Hunger will winout sooner than later.

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