This is your brain.
This is your brain in my kitchen.
Let's move on then.
I'm pretty sure that you're all more than ready for me to move on topic-wise, but I'm going to have to stay on this one for one more day. The care of my family is not an issue at the moment but the feeding of my family is huge. And as much as I would like to say that it's on the right side of the course - it isn't. Far from it. Every day I slide a little further down the hill into a big puddle of...well, it isn't brown gravy. Not even close. I spend more of my waking days than I care to admit mulling over this whole food thing, so today I'll mull for the masses. Allow me to apologize in advance. I know that none of you signed up for this. The exit is to your right. And I do promise this will be the end of the food saga. For now anyway.
To set the record straight I'm having a hell of a time coming up with meals lately, but it really isn't because people are picky. Well, not unduly picky. All of my children will eat any vegetable you put in front of them with the exception of brussel sprouts and mushrooms, which I'm okay with because it's just more for me. They are adventurous in their eating and will eat Mexican, Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Middle Eastern and any form of Italian you can conjure up. They all like spicy, highly seasoned foods, which they get from both of their parents. I firmly hold that pain is a flavor and have been known to put enough red pepper flakes on pizza to kill the delivery man. And me about twelve hours later.
It isn't what they will eat. It's what they won't eat. Or can't eat. This is where all my problems start. Here is a little chart to help explain...
The Film Geek - is a joy to cook for because he will eat virtually anything you put in front of him. His mama raised him right. He doesn't turn his nose up at leftovers and is perfectly comfortable rustling up meals all on his own. Granted he has a repertoire of about four dishes, but still. The problem with him is what he shouldn't eat. Thanks to a genetic cholesterol level that is literally through the roof, he's supposed to follow a low-carb, low-fat, low glycemic index diet. Minimal pasta, minimal rice, mostly protein and veggies. Do I need to tell you that this is not how he wants to eat? He'll freely admit that he doesn't really want to figure it out so he just leaves it all to me. You could even say dumps it on me. Thanks...
Sasquatch - channels my father in his die-hard carnivorous ways. Every day after school when he asks what we're having for dinner his next question is always "Is there meat in it?"And is a bottomless pit of a teenager to boot. If he had his way he would eat triple Whoppers with cheese and extra mayo, king sized fries and a large coke every day of the week. The fact that I don't buy into the whole fast food thing ruins his life, to hear him tell it. He's slimmed down a lot as he's cracked six feet something, but he's not a twig. I was sure, based on his build, that he was going to lose the genetic cholesterol crapshoot, but he didn't. Thankfully. Because he feels so deprived in the meat stakes, whenever there is some he feels he has to inhale as much of it as possible to make up for his earlier deficit. Imagine starved lions tearing into a gazelle. It's an ugly sight, people. Don't try and picture it for too long.
Gumby - decided about a year ago to stop eating meat. He will eat fish, so when we say he's a vegetarian we're being kind of loosey goosey with it. The kid is almost as tall as me and he's eleven. (I'm five ten). His ten year old brother, who is shorter, outweighs him by I don't even want to know how much. (And he's not heavy). Gumby's what we used to call a string bean. The kid is evidently as healthy as a very skinny horse, so I'm not complaining. I was built very much the same way as a kid and I clearly outgrew it. I'm betting he will too. If not, I'll just keep repeating the words "basketball scholarship" over and over again. Except he's a klutz. Anyhow...he's not a big eater at any one time, but he grazes all day. Other than meat he'll eat almost anything, but could live on cheese. Any kind of cheese. And beans. Any kind of beans. He's the pickiest of the three in terms of vegetables, but happily takes a salad to school every day in his lunch box. It's his lunch of choice.
Surfer Dude - my little foodie. He'll eat a good assortment of food, but for him it's all about the preparation and presentation. He once told me his dinner tasted fine but my plating needed work. Imagine a cross between Anthony Bourdain and Dennis the Menace. Without the cowlick or the heroin habit. No food is safe in my house, as he will empty the the contents of the fridge onto the island to "work on knife skills" for awhile. When I get all over him for wasting food, he mixes up these concoctions that are designed to use up whatever it is he's just diced or minced or chiffonaded but are not, often, designed to be edible. Then he plates it beautifully and sometimes even garnishes it. This is all very sweet until he presents it to me with the words I have come to dread. "Try some and tell me what you think." For some inexplicable reason he's decided to give up pork. Only pork. We're not observant Jews. We're not Jewish at all. We never ate much pork to start with due a pork trauma from my past. This has made my easiest last minute dinner - Bacon Lettuce and Tomato Sandwiches - way more problematic.
Let me walk you through why making any meal is such a pain in my house. BLT's are a perfect example. The easiest bacon is the already made in a box stuff that you just nuke, but Sasquatch doesn't like that kind and wants the kind you actually have to cook. Surfer Dude won't eat regular bacon because "it's pork, mom" so he has to have turkey bacon. Gumby gets a soy bacon that is actually quite good unless you overcook it by a second or two and then it resembles roofing tiles in the Sahara. The Film Geek shouldn't be having any part of this except for the lettuce and the tomato, but that's not really a balanced meal in my book. And I'm so disgusted by this point that I'm opening a bottle of Chardonnay.
Okay, let's try pasta. Everyone in my house loves pasta. Sasquatch wants meat in the sauce, but this of course means that Gumby won't eat it. I make meatballs and bake them separately so whoever wants them can have them, but I despise making meatballs and always have. Once again, my husband shouldn't be anywhere near this meal. Even though I do whole wheat pasta (which my kids will all eat) he still shouldn't eat it.
We do a lot of "bar" things for dinner. Taco bars are very popular, as are salad bars and stir fry bars. Everyone gets what they want and doesn't have to have whatever bothers them. I've turned into the stir fry queen, but even with people helping me chop stuff up it's still time consuming to make five separate stir fries. But virtually every other meal has some element that someone can't or shouldn't eat. It's not often "won't", interestingly enough. Except for Sasquatch with the whole meat issue, no one is trying to deliberately throw their weight around.
And where do I fit in this sick little equation? I'll eat almost anything, but I'm with Gumby on the meat front. It's not for any moral, health or humanitarian reasons, I just read something a few years ago that made me physically unable to put meat in my mouth. Gagging isn't an appetite enhancement device. I've never been a big meat eater anyway, due to the aforementioned pork trauma. I'm sure I passed this on to Gumby, although god knows I never intended anyone else to follow along. We do eat fish and we all love it, but how much fish can you eat?
I do a lot of meals where I'll bake chicken and make a couple of nice sides and people can eat what they want. My whole family loves soups and chilis, but the meat eaters start raising their hackles at some point if they're all veggie. Gumby and I have been talking because I'm about at the point of starting to eat chicken again just for the sake of the greater good. I'm pretty sure I could do that now. If we were all on the same page with just that one thing it would help enormously. He allows as to how he has thought the same thing. I guess we'll see. I certainly won't make him do anything he doesn't want to do.
My first comment on yesterday's post was from laurie, who said that in her family growing up you ate what you were served or didn't leave the table until you did. laurie (and others) wondered what happened to this approach and why it seems like so many kids are calling the shots these days. I don't have an answer for this, although I wish I did. I think a lot of children are still being raised with a firmer hand, just as I'm sure there are kids who run their parents ragged with demands. I myself never had to finish eating at the table when I was growing up, but the FG did and has the stories to prove it. His mother noticed a particularly foul stench in the dining room one day only to find last week's brussel sprouts ground into a mush and hidden under the throw rug. No one in the house would accept responsibility for this, but the kids all knew who did it, and much blackmailing ensued. (God, the things I've missed basically being an only child). But as an adult, my husband is way pickier than me and I'm way more adventurous than him, so what does this mean?
What do you think?
Saturday, September 1, 2007
This is your brain.