Thursday, November 5, 2009

NaBloPoMo 5--Iron Chef Morrey Household!

The Chairman has declared that I'm winning so far!  Admittedly, it's a limited competition since I seem to be the only one entered, but why should I let that bother me?  And it may be heating up!

The other day Patrick was helping me make scrambled eggs.  He cracks the eggs, I pour in the milk, and then he mixes them.  I give them a final mix and pour them in the pan.  He does most of the cooking (with close supervision) and they're done.  If he were old enough to use the stove unsupervised, he could do the whole thing himself.  Perhaps I should actually say that I helped Patrick make scrambled eggs--that would be more accurate!

Kamu is getting there.  He is starting to help mix the eggs.  Both kids seem interested in learning to cook, which is great because they're not leaving my home without knowing how.

While Patrick and I were making the scrambled eggs, he asked about doing more cooking and I promised that I will teach him how to cook.  "In fact," I continued, "By the time you're a teenager, you'll know how to cook and then you get to start cooking dinner for the family one night a week as one of your chores!"

"Really?" he asked.


Then I thought about it and realized that if a) we have 4 kids, and b) they're each expected to cook one night a week eventually, I may end up only cooking once or twice a week.  We'll be sure to have at least one night of leftovers or eating out and I can certainly expect Jason to cook one night a week.

I love to cook.  Cooking is awesome.  If there is any way in which I am artistic (and anyone who has seen me draw knows that's not my forte, to say the least), it is probably with cooking.  I really enjoy finding new combinations of flavors and also remaking favorites, and I especially enjoy eating them and watching other people enjoy them.  I used to make two new recipes every week until Patrick was a toddler, just so that I could try all sorts of things.

Then Patrick hit the toddler years and his love of eating any and everything changed.  The boy who used to snarf up pasta with spinach and roasted red peppers refused to touch almost anything resembling a vegetable.  We call Patrick our "protein boy".  He loves proteins...the more expensive, the better.  Regular peanut butter?  Meh.  He prefers the soy nut butter that they use at school.  A hamburger?  Nah.  Give him a steak.  A good cut of steak.  When he was asked what he wanted for his birthday dinner last year, he chose salmon.  While I can't fault him for any of that, it's not quite as balanced as I would like it to be.  (Thankfully he's always eaten fruit and grains; as he gets a bit older, he's started eating more vegetables.)

Kamu is even harder to please.  He's our "carbs boy".  Give the boy a bowl of pasta and he'll go to town.  Rolls...mmm, delicious!  Rice?  More, more, MORE!!!  Salmon--uh, no thanks.  Steak--don't think so.  Chicken (unless in breaded nugget form, and even then only if mass-produced and heavily processed...the ones I make aren't acceptable to him)--probably isn't going to happen.  And while he is the carbs boy, he's also very picky about vegetables and fruits.  They're iffy on an incredibly good day, next-to-impossible on a normal one.  He's willing to try them but the first bite and they're out of his mouth with a "Yucky.  I no like____ (fill in the blank with almost any and everything nutritious)."

I swore I would frequently cook adventurous meals for my children, that they would be the children who ate everything because they had been exposed to it all when they were little.  And I was great about it with Patrick.  I wasn't even too bad about it with Melkamu, since Patrick can be adventurous sometimes.  But the whining!  Oh, the incessant whining of "Do I have to try any?"  "I don't like it."  "Do we have to have that for dinner?"

As a side note: I love my supper club because then once a month, I have the chance to cook something new. Something adventurous. I get to try a bunch of new foods. And no one whines about it.

Whining wears on me.  And I find myself cooking far less adventurous meals that I know they like, solely to avoid the whining.  I even (gasp, choke) found myself making a dinner of macaroni & cheese and fishsticks recently.  I have no problem with either macaroni & cheese or fishsticks by themselves--in fact, I like each one a lot--but the combination had almost no redeeming nutritional value.  Mind you, both kids scarfed it down and were thrilled.  Naturally.  I still cook the occasional new recipe but knowing that it's probably going to be met with whines and groans makes the idea of it much less appealing.
So tell me, as comments have been few and far between this week, how do you get your kids to eat well?  I am open for all tricks and have no qualms about lying to my children about what's in their food if it means they will eat a vegetable at some point.


stephanie said...

First of all, I'm sending Moe to your next cooking class. That's awesome!

Moe will not eat vegetables. None. But he will down a glass of veggie juice made by Dah-dee like there's no tomorrow. We have one of those Breville juicers and Jason throws in carrots, tomatoes, celery, kale, wheatgrass and oranges. It's not ideal but it's something.

Lisa said...

Bwahahaha!!! I could have written your post. Most meals begin with "I can't like dinner" before they even know what we're having.

Amanda is our dairy girl. She's also our carnivore. She will eat almost everything from a cow, pig or chicken, depending on the cooking style. She will not eat vegetables. Most starches are not her cup of tea (except Kraft Deluxe Mac & Cheese and plain white rice). If it wasn't possible, Aidan is by far the pickier child. He loves a few select items and if they're prepared differently, he won't touch them. He won't eat rice, his favorite item, if it has the slightest "unidentifiable" item (last night it was the diced cilantro in the rice that turned him off, he wouldn't even try it). Unfortunately for us they have always been this way and I'm sick of the fight and the whining. Every once in a while I luck out and they actually try something and they like it! I wish they'd remember that they liked it the next time I serve it. They're almost worse than Taryn :)

Jess said...

Ethan will not eat....mostly anything. Though the prevacid has helped, we often had to give him pediasure (till we found out that he was still not tolerating dairy) or a calorie suppliment.

As for Ava, we're the mean parents who cook it for her and if she does't want to eat it, tough!

A lot of times we do breakfast on the couch and have them eat a fruit and a grain, and that seems to help Ethan...neither fruits nor grains are strong points for him, so it's a big plus. Cartoons soothe the soul, what can I say? lol

Marcy Pett said...

We tell Gabriel to eat so he can grow big muscles and be strong...and eventually grow up to be like daddy. That usually works to have him at least "try" the food...then he determines from there if he likes or doesn't like the [fill in the blank with broccoli, etc.]..but I give him big props for at least trying. That's more than what I would do at his age.