Monday, May 7, 2012

It's What's For Dinner

My dive into the culinary abstract arts started in college. I was an RA all four years (that's a whole 'nother post), and when it came time for me to leave the dorms residence halls to become an RA for the transitional living areas, it was the kitchen that scared me the most. (I may or may not have made the kitchen my key argument as to why I should be an Assistant Residence Hall Director. I didn't get the job. Duh.)

It's not that cooking scared me - I grew up being in the kitchen - but rather the whole self-reliance portion of it. If I had a kitchen (and only half of a college meal plan), then I would be forced to grow up, just a little.

My step-mother bought me a cook book before I left for college that senior year. It was called the Starving Student's Guide to Cooking. It had easy meals for 1-2 people, with easy ingredients, and the best part - pictures of what pots and pans I'd need.


This was my dinner last night. Come on over. There are plenty of leftovers.

With a few simple recipes under my belt, I was confident to do other get married and cook for a husband. (Well, it may not have been the recipes that made me decide this...)

Cooking is about one thing: following directions. If you do step one before you do step two, and so-on and so-on, in the end, you should have something resembling the picture Betty Crocker provided for you. As I did more cooking, the easier it became.

However, my kids aren't asking for culinary masterpieces. In fact, I'm pretty sure the last food-based disagreement we had was based on a bowl of Cinnamon Toast Crunch (the only cereal all three can agree on). I can make a PB&J with one hand tied behind my back, and time a grilled cheese to coordinate with commercial breaks.

I am not a short order cook, nor do I play one on TV. What I make for dinner is what they are all expected to eat. I don't please everyone all the time. Actually, rarely do I have even a strong majority.

Last night, I made a roast. I tend to make roasts every Sunday. It's part of the alcohol-fueled idyllic family fantasy I have, like children that are seen and not heard, and dishes that magically do themselves. My roast-making capabilities have definitely evolved over the years, and now with the help of The Pioneer Woman, I make a pretty damn tasty roast beast with carrots, onions, rosemary, and thyme. When it's cooking, I just want to crawl in my over and inhale the anticipation.

I also made some rice (the only potato eater here is Disgruntled Husband) and roasted some brussel sprouts. (As I found out later, I am the only one that likes these.)

At least DH and I liked it. And the cats.

I call everyone to dinner. They sit. We say the blessing. And three kids eat buttered rice, a bite of meat, possibly one roasted carrot, and complain we didn't have Hamburger Helper.

I think I either need to adjust my expectations (and menu) for what my family will eat, or find a family that will appreciate the meals I do make.

At the end of the meal, when most of the kids had migrated to the living room, Clark the intellectually-challenged cat, jumps on the table and before I can swat him down, steal some meat from Hoover's plate.

I'm cooking for a F-ing cat. Make that two, because later Mo was found trying to get scraps from the garbage.

At least someone appreciates a good roast.


  1. Hey this sounds like MY house! You 3 kids (and picky DH) finally started eating dinner, no matter what, when I instituted a 'Kitchen Closed' policy as soon as the dishes were cleared. No more snacks, cereal, fruit, milk, NOTHING. Unless you ate the majority of what was on your plate at dinner. So now, it's nobody's fault but theirs if they decide to go to bed hungry.
    I wish there was less bitching and moaning about what's for dinner, but hey, nobody wants to offer any assistance with the weekly meal planning or grocery shopping, so they can put up or sit down, shut up and eat what's on the damn plate.

  2. Jamie BellagambaMay 7, 2012 at 12:55 PM

    That looks yummy! Too bad the kids didn't appreciate it. I do the whole "kitchen is closed" thing at my house. The problem is, my kids are so stubborn they will leave the table without eating anything, then wake me up at 5 a.m. Because they're hungry.

  3. That looks amazing. I am coming for dinner on Sunday.

    Also, we had the 3 bite rule. The kids and DH had to take three bites of each dish offered. If they didnt like it after the three bites, they were welcome to suck it fancy. No they could have a plain PB NO J sammy.