I love to cook. It is my way of showing love. Taco salad… a big hug. Grilled chicken with vegetables… a big smooch. Italian, Greek, Mexican…. hugs and kisses all around.
Nothing makes me feel greater than for me to prepare a meal and have the person ooh and ah over it.
They may as well be hugging me back. Have you ever tried to give a hug and the other person was just not having it? This is how I feel when cooking for my children.
My biggest critics are my two kids.
I have 2 of the pickiest eaters, and many times they take the joy out of cooking. I am the grocery shopper, meal planner, and cook for our family. My wife does the laundry and cleans, well, pretty much everything else if truth be told, but I own the food chores in our household. I remember when the kids were younger, they ate what we ate. They loved avocado, fruits, vegetables and when they did not have a choice, they ate. But then they tasted macaroni and cheese, and it was over for all other foods. That became the meal they wanted and all they would eat.
I don’t know if you have picky eaters in your house, but if you don’t, count yourself lucky. After 14 years I am amazed every visit to the doctor that they both continue to be “healthy”.
I mean, how can a person be “healthy” and only eat macaroni and cheese?
I love mac and cheese, don’t get me wrong. I remember days in college when a meal for me was a blue box, all to myself, the deluxe kind, not the skimpy add your own ingredient kind. I would be hard pressed to not have mac and cheese on my list of favorite foods.
My kids love going out to eat and based on our lifestyle with work, sports, and well, laziness, we eat out more than we should. My kids are so opinionated about where to go. I suggest how about this place, and they say “No”, or this place and again they say “No”. I have asked on more than one occasion, what are you going to eat when you go? “Mac and cheese,” they say. “Well, you don’t get a vote then,” I respond.
My son has found a new level of pickiness.
There are certain mac and cheese varieties (they are connoisseurs you know) that he says “this is not my favorite”. This is a line we taught them early when eating at others homes rather than to say, “I don’t like this” meanwhile thinking I am not going to even look at it much less put it in my mouth.
My daughter is a little more forgiving with her taste of mac and cheese, even preferring my homemade version over store bought. So there is hope, right?
I know what you are saying, and I agree, I am the problem. I shop and I pay for the meals out.
But somedays, I just don’t want food to be a battle. Life’s too short.
We have tried over the years. Held strong. Said, “No mac and cheese tonight, pick out something else on the menu.” We always retreat.
Raising kids is tough. I know I am preaching to the choir here because anyone reading this can relate. I hope I am not alone.
I have great kids, ask anyone that knows them. They are well mannered, respectful, do well in school and sports. They have made good choices in friends and are active in church. They look like perfect children and if there is one thing I could change about them, it would be their diet (with teenage attitude coming in a close second). In my quiet moments of prayer and reflection, I pray they will come to love ALL food as much as I do, but until then I will try to offer them other foods, that are as enjoyable or more so, than the blue box.
But for now, they are healthy and happy, and so are we.
I will cherish these days, where I do get to cook for them, because at 14 and 12 the days are dwindling, and they too will be out on their own making their own meal choices. I hope that they never lose the love of mac and cheese (I never did) and that their favorite is the one dad made.*
*No children were harmed in the writing of this post. Some creative licensing was used to highlight the main point. I am happy to report they do eat other foods, like chicken nuggets, and pizza and that they are healthy, for now.
Kevin Beasley is a self- professed “foodie”, freelance writer, blogger, and marketing consultant. He lives in Hanover with his wife Shannon of 20 years (2-time cancer survivor) and two kids, Sydney, 14 years old daughter, Jack, 12 years old. Kevin’s parents have been married for 50 years and his in-laws have been married 45 years. He is a native Richmonder and a VCU alum. He loves his family, cooking, writing, and basketball.