Most of you have a good idea about the struggles we have at our house related to food. I have worked very hard to accommodate Robb’s “discriminating” palette. And, by discriminating, I actually mean his list of foods he won’t eat is larger than his list of foods he will eat. It’s exhausting.
I don’t claim to be any good at this. I whine and complain about it frequently. I long for food with flavor, food with spice, food with vegetables! Oh, to serve a green salad with dinner!
One of the unfortunate side effects of all this accommodation is that I find myself also accommodating the kids, to a lesser extent. I feel kind of hypocritical telling them they have to eat their broccoli when Robb won’t even let it touch his plate. (Broccoli taints the other foods, you know. It makes everything it touches taste like broccoli.) So, my efforts to make everyone happy have led to this unhappy compromise: I make food with very little flavor, and try to mix in some veggies once in a while. I eat good food when I go out.
The issue is complicated by the fact that my kids are so incredibly skinny, I am always trying to find foods that will motivate them to eat a second helping. Brooklyn actually lost weight over the past few months, after a couple nasty bouts of diarrhea, so gaining weight is at the forefront of our food issues as well.
I felt like I was doing pretty well. Under-appreciated, certainly, but pretty well, all the same. That was, until the fateful day last week, when an off-handed remark by Quinn changed everything. He wouldn’t eat his dinner. I couldn’t force him to sit at the table for 10 minutes in a row and eat. I had just made a simple pasta with chicken and veggies and a sauce of cream of chicken soup holding it all together. Boring? Yes. Bad? Far from it.
After several attempts to convince Quinn to eat, I finally queried, “do you have something against pasta?” He hemmed and hawed, and then admitted, “I don’t like it. It’s bland.” And, as if that smack to the face weren’t enough, it was followed by howling laughter by Robb. My feelings of being under-appreciated were at a new low, and I retaliated. This week, I have been exacting my revenge. I told them that whatever these meals were, they would NOT be bland!!
Monday’s dinner: Chicken salad sandwiches. I made the chicken salad with celery and green onions, and garlic powder. It was delicious. Brooklyn, surprisingly, liked it quite well, although she picked the cashews out. Ryan and Brooklyn and I all had seconds, Quinn almost finished his sandwich, and Robb wouldn’t even look at it.
Tuesday’s dinner: Stroganoff. It wasn’t my best stroganoff ever, but it was pretty good. I sauteed some mushrooms in garlic butter to top it with. I also hid a few mushrooms inside the gravy, which absolutely no one noticed. I made the kids have at least one or two little mushroom slices, which turned out to be a big as heck deal for Brooklyn. After 5 minutes of convincing, she finally put the mushrooms in her mouth, where they stayed for another 5 minutes until she was convinced to swallow.
(Sidebar: one of the pieces of Roper family lore is a story about me as a child having a very similar incident with green beans. I took a mouthful of green beans, after much cajoling from my parents, and never did swallow them. After a few minutes, I was dismissed to the bathroom, where I spit them into the toilet. Ironically, I really enjoy green beans now.)
Wednesday’s meal: Beef stew. I was extremely disappointed in this meal. It was full of onions and green peppers, but it was still amazingly low on flavor and high on heat. It was quite spicy, more than I had intended. It was not well-received.
Thursday I didn’t cook. I was otherwise engaged, and the rest of the family had cheese sandwiches. I think they were happy for the break from flavorful food.
I forget what else I made, but I will skip to the end. Sunday’s dinner was chicken enchiladas, possibly the best pan of enchiladas I have ever made. I used rotisserie chicken mixed with sauteed onions and about half a can of green chilis as the filling. I also used some of the amazingly spicy jalapeño cheddar we got in a Christmas gift, along with some mild cheddar. I also served corn that had been fried with onions and taco seasoning. Delicious. Everyone ate the meal, reluctantly. Robb said it was good, just not as good as the low-flavor version.
I’m excited for the new level of compromise I will be making around meals. The new compromise involves vegetables and seasonings. And the complaints will be falling on deaf ears.