Thursday, February 15, 2007

While we're waiting for inspiration to strike...

Hey everyone! Since I seem to have trouble remembering to write in this damn thing, and since I seem to be making the same old crappe over and over again anyway (steak! tacos! burgers! lather! rinse! repeat!), howsabout an update on the reason I started this blog in the first place?

Originally the purpose of this blog was to record the results of an experiment of sorts. (More info on that over in the sidebar.) See, I had always been the kind of mom who made two different meals for dinner every night -- one for the adults, and one for the kids. It was wearing me down and making me crabby, so on the first day of summer vacation last year, when my kids were 10 and 8 years old, I decided to start making ONE MEAL ONLY at dinner. I would make the adult meal, cooking enough for four instead of two. If my kids didn't want what I was offering for dinner, they were free to Make [Their] Own Damn Dinner! They had to have (at least) a protein and a veggie, approved by me, but they had to make it themselves.

At the same time, I stopped buying chicken nuggets, fish sticks and fruit snacks, which together were making up a huge portion of my kids' diets. I haven't forbidden them from ever HAVING those things -- they still eat them at school and when we go out for dinner -- I'm just not buying them to have at home anymore. If they want chicken, they can have one of the lovely chicken dishes I make (Thomas Keller's roast chicken and Nigella Lawson's chicken with lemon and garlic being two favorites). If they want fish, I am happy to cook up some salmon or tilapia or trout. If they want fruit, they can have some actual FRUIT. No more fake food around here, yo!

The primary goal, of course, was for me to stop being such a short-order cook at suppertime. In this, the experiment succeeded wonderfully. I now make ONE meal, and whoever doesn't want it makes his or her (say it with me now) own damn dinner!

The secondary goal was to get my kids to expand their palates a little bit. I thought for sure they would get tired of making themselves peanut butter sandwiches every night and start trying some of the food I made. In this, the experiment was only PARTIALLY successful.

The boy has amazed me. He now eats what I make a good 75-80% of the time. He has happily gobbled down steaks, salmon, ropa vecchia, spaghetti squash, tortilla soup and a bunch of other stuff that I thought he'd never consent to try in a million years. He's nearly always willing to at least TRY whatever I make for dinner. Sometimes he likes it, sometimes he doesn't and ends up eating peanut butter, but I am so proud of him for being adventurous!

And even better, he has expressed a strong interest in learning how to cook. He now helps me prepare dinner almost every night. I started him out slow but now he's wielding my Wusthof knives and sauteing stuff on our gas rangetop like a pro! He really enjoys learning about the science behind cooking -- how fats melt and sugars caramelize and cell walls burst to release liquids and stuff. I have taught him little tricks, like how to make sure things cook evenly and how to know when to turn things and stuff like that. We are having so much fun, and he is quite the little sous chef!

The girl, on the other hand, remains as finicky and stubborn as ever! She never makes a fuss at mealtime, but I can't get this kid to try anything new! Even when she, too, helps with the cooking, half the time she has no interest in eating whatever it is we've made (with the exception of dessert, sigh). Her standard dinner now is a cheese sandwich (whole wheat bread and American cheese, no condiments) and some raw baby carrots. She eats that at least four nights a week. That's also her standard lunch on school days because she's very rarely interested in the school's hot lunch (whereas I literally can't remember the last time the boy brought his lunch from home). Thank goodness for chewable gummy vitamins, is all I can say.

She has started eating a FEW new things, though. She'll happily eat a homemade hamburger. She'll eat steak but only if DH makes it. She'll usually eat a pork chop if it's just grilled or broiled with no sauce or anything on it. Other than that, she sticks to the old standbys she was eating before the experiment started. Sigh.

ANYWAY. I know the focus of the blog has changed a bit since then, but I thought some of you old-timers might enjoy an update on how the original experiment was going. It's going!

1 comment:

The Glitterati said...

Good lord, Thomas Keller's roast chicken is soooo good. I'm drooling just thinking about it.