Tuesday, 26 February 2013

The Agony of Having to Cook Tea Each Night ...

I am considering what to make for dinner. I like cooking , but the daily decision of what to cook for tea drives me mad. I do occasionally write menus for the week and this tends to dispel the general misery of decision making .... which is good. I think its the hideousness of opening the fridge door, gazing in and thinking " What shall I make today?" Especially as the chances are that either one or probably both of my sons will groan and hate whatever it is that I plan on cooking ...

If you are a parent you will no doubt be familiar with the rolling eyes and ghastliness of this daily routine. It would be very easy to roll over, play dead and provide some of the processed, brown, oven-baked rubbish that the large supermarket chains provide for children. I am not prepared to do this.

As the recent scandal of horse meat filled processed lasagnes has proved, buying ready made food is not the healthiest of options. And I really am not going to give my children food that I wouldn't want to eat myself. One of the best articles I have ever read was by Jamie Oliver and he said that it was better to eat less meat each week, but of the best quality you could afford, than to eat cheap meat every day. This is exactly what I try to do. The weeks that I can actually be bothered to write out a menu are the weeks that cost me the least ... because I plan ahead.

For the last few years now I have bought my meat from a local butcher. He sells only free range, locally sourced meat and he knows exactly where each animal comes from, from which farm, which farmer. You might think that this is an expensive way to do things, but it actually isn't. And I know that everything I buy is high quality, decent fare. We also eat vegetarian a couple of times a week.

This does not, however, make it any easier to cook for my fussy children. It just makes the food I cook a lot healthier. They have no choice in the matter. They will eat what I cook even if they moan about it. I am beginning to think that they are rather spoilt ... Last night I made Jerk Chicken, which ( though I do say so myself ...) was rather delicious. Jerk Chicken and rice. Tonight I plan on baked potatoes, baked beans and sausages. This is my ultimate easy meal as I feeling rather under the weather.

Sometimes I wonder why my boys are so fussy ... Its not that they will only eat crisps ... although son number 2 would probably love me forever if I allowed this option ... its the fact that their tastes are so disparate. Son number one loves curries, duck, any type of red meat. Son number two loves cheese, ham, fish. Neither, sadly, likes what the other likes. This is, of course a slight over statement as both will eat a bloody steak or any type of chicken, but on a Venn Diagram of their culinary tastes the overlap is somewhat small ... This makes my life a living hell  difficult.

I suppose I am lucky that they do eat a variety of foods, even if the stuff they both like is few and far between. On holiday a couple of years ago a friends children would only contemplate pizza when we went out to eat while my boys were tucking in to delicious pink duck and green salad. This option is not going to be emanating from my cooker on a Monday afternoon very often though ...

The fact is that whether you cook everything from scratch, like me, or buy ready made, its the brain numbing boredom of having to cook every night that is the thing that gets to you in the end. I have weeks when I plan menus and enjoy preparing the evening meal, but, if I am honest with you, most nights I hate even thinking about cooking. Right now I am achy and going hot and cold all the time, but I still am going to have to haul myself up off my sofa and cook. And will my efforts be appreciated? Probably not a lot. If I ever win the lottery or come up with a business plan to earn me a big wadge of cash, I am going to hire a chef. This may be a total cop out, but I cannot tell you how lovely it would be to be the one who looks up from the sofa and yawns "What's for tea tonight?"


joy said...

Dont know how old your boys are, but have you considered its about time they learned to cook for themselves? I used to "let" each one of mine do one meal a week, obviously they need help to start with, but my philosophy is that they are never too young to start learning to look after themselves, and mine now really enjoy cooking, the 24 year old is a chef in a gastro-pub.
Joy xx

joy said...

Sorry to hear you are feeling poorly.

sarah at secret housewife said...

Hi Joy. My boys are 13 and 15 and they do cook occasionally, but my plans to have them cook each week have come to nothing.My New Year's Resolution was to have them choose a meal to cook each every other week, but they were not as enthused by this idea as I was!! Both are quite capable of following a recipe and my eldest actually came first in his school cooking competition a couple of years ago.I'm afraid it comes down to the fact that they are lazy and I am weak! :0(

Liquid Fantasy said...

First of all I love the way you write. It's really funny. Then I want to apologize for all the mistakes I will make in the following comment. (I'm from Austria and not really used to write in English)

My mother stopped cooking everyday when my youngest sister turned 15, because someone always had to complain about the food. (and I often was meant by 'someone').

Now I know how she feels, because now I'm the one cooking for my family and the most time it's really no fun at all. But I live in the neighbourhood, so I think it's only fair to visit and prepare dinner each day. Sadly a part of the job of most teenagers is to complain about the food their parents serve ;)

sarah at secret housewife said...

Hello Liquid Fantasy! Thank you for your comment. I am so glad you like my writing and thanks for following me! Your English is excellent!!
I think you are right about the job of teenagers being to complain!! Ah well ... x

White Space said...

Hmmmmm.. I agree. I think these lads are old enough to cook a dinner themselves one night each every week. Train them up, show them how to open a cookery book & go watch some telly.

Ash said...

Hello Sarah,

I was refusing to get off the computer to face the kitchen, and I read your post. I completely agree. I buy everything fresh, and try to include health, variety and taste in every meal. It's not easy and very depressing at times. The gulit at the occasional "quick and easy" meal served up is hard to shake off.

I think when meals get rejected or long faces pulled, Mums get upset not because of the wasted time and effort of cooking, but at some level (weirdly) at failing..

Maybe it's just me... :-)

I hope you feel better soon. I have to face my fridge and kitchen now...Maybe after a cup of tea :-)


Inkling said...

I can relate. I apparently gave birth to a boy who would prefer to live on chocolate and candy. I take full responsibility, because I would prefer chocolate on any given day. So if I don't have dinner planned and preparations begun by 2:00 in the afternoon, I get really stressed.

But the way you write about your challenges? Totally makes me feel like I've got a sister across the pond, and makes me wish we could cook together, swap recipes, and kick back with some lovely wine and homemade food whilst the men in our lives wash dishes. ;)

Victim-Of-Disaster said...
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