Dinner time in my house is something of a cluster and I’m partially to blame. One of the most uncomfortable feelings for me is going to bed hungry. In fact, I’ve never gone to bed hungry because I physically can’t go to sleep hungry. That being said, for me to implement the rule of “this is dinner and if you don’t like it, starve,” was impossible.
If my sons went to bed hungry, I pictured them looking like pale, tiny little orphans, roaming the streets of London in 1833 for something to eat. Look, I have no idea why that is what I’m envisioning, apparently that’s what hunger looks like to me. I also have visions of them telling their teachers the next morning that mommy starved them.
As a kid, I never went to bed hungry. My mom hated to cook and my father was always working at our restaurant (ironic, isn’t it). Every night we went out so we always found something we liked to eat. On the rare occasion she cooked one of her 3 staples, stuffed peppers, chili or meatloaf; my 2 sisters and I would show a united front, break her spirit by whining about dinner then eat PB&J’s.
Karma’s a Bitch!
And now I have my own willful children. Below are just a few things that have been uttered at my table at least once over the past decade:
- That’s the wrong color macaroni and cheese!
- Those aren’t the right noodles (referring to the switch from linguine to angel hair one night)!
- You forgot my straw (upon realization I had forgotten my son’s straw, God forgive my sin!)?
- I can’t eat this ham (referring to the black rim of black forest ham)!
Me: I’ll peel it off.
Son: No! It’s not the right ham!
- I’m not eating that (my youngest, during his introduction to a grilled chicken breast. After an hour, he took 1 bite and declared it the worst thing ever).
- You put salt and pepper on my macaroni and cheese? Now its ruined!
- I don’t like melted cheese!
- Mashed potatoes are disgusting.
- I prefer the cup macaroni and cheese over the boxed macaroni and cheese.
- Steak (referring to the $12 filet mignon in front of him)? This is gross, I’m not eating this! Don’t ‘cha know I hate steak?
- This is gross (both sons, at some point after no less than an hour spent on the dinner).
Now that my sons are a little older (13 and 9), it’s gotten somewhat better but not by much (again, my fault). When I put together a salad, I must offer Carter (9) carrots. He would rather eat salad without dressing (which I think is grosser) than with ranch dressing. It’s un-American to not like ranch dressing. It’s unkid-like too! When we have shrimp over a bed of linguine and white sauce, I find myself warming up a cup of spaghetti sauce so he can have spaghetti since he hates shrimp.
The irony is, I absolutely hate fish and my boys like it. To get people off my back who won’t leave me alone to try fish, I simply tell them I’m allergic and my throat will close up if I eat it. Aside from relatives who know this isn’t true, it usually works. I’m not allergic to anything but the thought of eating something that looks like a gull bladder (raw oysters) or snot (squid), is on par with a Fear Factor challenge. I don’t think so buddy.
Parker loves fish tacos and Carter loves salmon. How the hell did that happen when I can’t stomach seafood? Correction, I can stomach the following 2 seafoods:
- Fish sticks
Breading makes everything better. In fact, I’ll leave you with one last story.
Against my better judgement, I agreed to try sushi with my cousin F. F assured me there is fried sushi out there called tempura. What he didn’t tell me is it’s only an itty-bitty piece of the entire sushi roll that’s fried. Honestly, I thought they made the roll then dropped it in the fryers like french fries at Mc Donald’s. Batter and frying makes EVERYTHING taste better so I was totally on board. When the roll came out, I was convinced I had received the wrong order. I was expecting something that looked like 6 hush puppies, instead I received sushi. I tried it and just accepted at that moment, I don’t like it.
Your turn! What do your kids complain about? Are you a short order cook too?