"The only real stumbling block is the fear of failure. In cooking, you have got to have a what-the-hell attitude." ~ Julia Child

What to Feed the Kids

by Julie on February 2, 2011

in Adventures in Parenting, Stuff the Kids Won't Eat

Mommy's solution

What mommy will have for dinner instead...

I called a family meeting tonight.

For a while now I’ve noticed that the kids aren’t eating what I’m making them. I’ll spend an hour or so in the kitchen, serve them, watch them take a few bites then ask to be excused. I end up throwing away plates of food or shoving it into containers I know full well will never be opened again and then spending the rest of my night doing the dishes in a bad mood.

Maybe it’s because they’re getting older, and more independent. And that’s fine and as it should be. But if I don’t make them dinner, thinking they’ll just fend for themselves somehow, come 9:30 or so they shoot me gravely injured looks. “Mom,” they say. “You never made dinner.”

I’m a big believer in the family meal; in sitting down at the table and breaking bread together. I ate in front of the TV growing up and look how I turned out. I want my kids to have a better upbringing. Or at least a better sense of the place of family and food.

Hence the family meeting. The objective: Identify five or six meals they would eat for dinner.

The problems were manifest from the start.

“OK,” I said, sitting between them with a pen and a pad of paper. “Let’s start by getting your very favorite dinner.”

“Burritos!” They agreed.

“Something I make here,” I clarified.

“Well,” said the Drama Teen. “I love Stir fry. You can make more of that.”

“I HATE stir fry,” said the boy. “Especially the tofu that you let sit in a bath of soy sauce…”

“It’s called ‘marinating.’ And you both used to love tofu…”

“Not the way you make it now.”

I make a note on my pad, plus a mental note not to buy him the next Left 4 Dead video game.

“OK. What else?”

They think for a minute.

Shepherd’s pie.

I love shepherd’s pie!” said the boy. “I could eat three bowls of that.”

“I hate shepherd’s Pie!” said the girl. “I can’t even stand the smell of it. Remember that time when you made it, like, every week for months?” Mostly I remember friends at Trader Joe’s laughing at me. “Shepherd’s pie again?” they’d yell across the store, upon seeing the ingredients in my basket. “Don’t you know how to make anything else?”

Moving on. They both like stuffed peppers. OK. Time consuming, and I’m trying to get away from meat, but maybe I can chop up some tofu and….

The boy shoots me a look that suggests I stick with the ground beef. Ok Ok Ok….

We continue to brainstorm. And they continue to demonstrate their opposing palates.

The girl loves chick pea masala over rice. The boy doesn’t. The boy loves a nice omelette or scrambled eggs with toast, the girl doesn’t. The girl loves my tortilla. The boy, meh.

They both like soups. “A variety of soups,” says the boy. “I loved that potato one you made the other day.” The teenager shrugged. “It was ok, I guess.”

They both enjoy the lentil soup, although neither one wants the dollop of yogurt in the middle, which for me sends it over the top. I keep threatening to teach them how to make it themselves, so that they might launch with at least one decent dish that is not pasta under their belts.

Speaking of which, they’ll both eat spaghetti and meatballs. “But it’s got to have meatballs,” emphasized the boy. Why? “Because they taste good.” Sigh. Meanwhile the girl, who would eat a hamburger every day if I let her, doesn’t care for meatballs, and will leave hers on the plate.

Pasta  is always something they’ll eat, but there’s only so much pasta you can eat in a week. And they like it differently. The boy loves pesto. The girl likes it with tomato sauce. She likes it with chick peas and rosemary and onions. The boy would rather eat it with butter and Parmesan . He likes Mac and Cheese, she, not so much.

Wraps? WRAPS!

“I can eat five wraps at a time!” yelled the Teen. This is the lavash bread spread with avocado, seasoned with salt and pepper, and wrapped around veggie bacon and sliced cherry tomatoes that I discovered at the Trader Joe’s sample kiosk several years ago.

“I can eat seven!” screamed the boy.

Note to self: plant an avocado tree.

They both love my one sure thing: vegetable couscous, although the boy was less vocally enthused than the girl.

By the end of our little family meeting, precious little had been resolved. Only that my kids do like what I cook, but they like what they like and ne’er the twain shall meet.

So it was decided that I will cook for them every night, and if it’s something the other simply can not tolerate, I will look the other way while they eat breakfast cereal for dinner.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

alice February 11, 2011 at 8:15 am

this cracked me up. kids seem harder to take care of than cats…


jen June 13, 2011 at 10:05 pm

I just googled “What the hell do I feed my family?”and found this article. You are hilarious!! We must have the SAME EXACT CHILDREN!! I can’t wait to read more of your blog! I am a frustrated wanna be vegetarian – who has tried for 3 years to convert my junk gut family. I’m pretty much giving up.


Julie June 13, 2011 at 10:22 pm

Hey Jen! Thanks for reading! Yeah, I don’t have the answers. I just keep well-stocked in breakfast cereal and canned soup….
I’m glad the Google gods have smiled upon me and I show up in random searches. Please feel free to join my Facebook page, Bad Home Cooking. It’s open to all!


Suzie Douglas September 7, 2014 at 3:40 am

Me too. So tired of cooking the same old boring thing that is met with lukewarm reactions from my kids at best. I googled ‘what to feed the kids’. Still not sure how to vary my repertoire, but this did make me laugh, and feel that I’m not alone! Thank you.


Dorothy at Shockingly Delicious October 15, 2016 at 10:19 pm

Seriously, you MUST make this. I have made it 3 times in 9 days. Dinner, and then leftovers for breakfast. http://adventuresinallthingsfood.blogspot.com/2016/10/southwestern-breakfast-scramble-brunch.html


Dorothy at Shockingly Delicious October 15, 2016 at 10:21 pm

Annnnd….one more. This went over VERY well at my house, and everyone wanted more. http://www.shockinglydelicious.com/simple-cheesy-chicken-tortilla-casserole/


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