Dinner time at my house has become not only boring, but also a huge frustration, a burden on my whole week. And it's not that I don't like to cook. Anyone who knows me knows I love creating with food. But we've got a few issues.
My family is full of picky eaters . . . every single one of us.
My husband doesn't like pears. Or dishes with anything resembling cream cheese, mayonnaise or cottage cheese. He likes garlic in his eggs, spicy hot vegetables and curry.
My daughter likes fruits and vegetables. As long as the green beans are raw and bananas aren't too ripe . . . or ripe enough.
My son likes bread, chocolate, candy, bread and chocolate. Oh, and candy.
I am more of an emotional eater than a picky eater, so I tend to ruin my dinner with snacks. Perhaps in anticipation of feeling like a failure at dinnertime and needing to soothe my ego's wounds?
The other major hurdle is that no one ever wants to come to the dinner table. The kids have already decided that they will hate the food and would rather play. My husband has his own business and has a lot on his plate (pardon the pun). Often when I ask him if he is coming home for dinner or working late with a can of soup he asks, "Well, it depends . . . what are we having?" IT DOESN'T MATTER! sigh.
Dinner has become a non-event.
A few weeks ago, I shared my frustrations with some dear friends at MOPS (that's Mothers of Preschoolers) meeting and they gave me some great advice. Why not have a family meeting and explain how you are feeling? Then let them get involved in the meal planning. Assign each night of the week to one family member and let him (or her) choose the dinners. Let them all be involved with the process and get excited about sharing their favorite meals with everyone. If people don't like a particular meal, then they can look ahead with hope since they will know that I will serve their favorite meals in only a night or two!
So, this morning I proposed this idea and they are all so excited! They even went a step further and want to pick a different country theme for some nights, when they will prepare for a special meal by researching cultures and customs and decorating the table to go along with their chosen country.
As you can probably imagine, I am thrilled. Dinner is back on the menu!
Here's what we've got going for the next couple of weeks:
Miriam's Friday: Potstickers, rice, broccoli and fruit cocktail
Dad's Saturday: Roast, mashed potatoes, roasted asparagus
Charlie's Monday: French toast, bacon (from a pig), eggs and fruit
Mom's Tuesday: Grilled shrimp, sauteed veggies, garlic-butter pasta
Miriam's Thursday: Salmon, buttered noodles, asparagus and fruit
Dad's Friday: Morocco!
Mom's Saturday: Appetizer Night
Charlie's Sunday: China!
Mom's Monday: Greece!
Dad's Tuesday: Salmon and veggies
Miriam's Wednesday: Italy!
Charlie's Thursday: Japan!
P.S. If my mom is reading this, she might remember The Un-Game . . . we would go around the table answering questions, getting to know each other better and having a good laugh. We also had a "Golden Spoon Award" which was given every so often to a family member who had done something especially good that day. I just loved those times!