Dog Food with Cheese on It

Before Christmas, I was in the kitchen — working on dinner or the dishes or any number of other never-ending tasks I feebly attempt to accomplish every day, my husband was in the living room, and my daughter was bouncing back and forth between us. The conversation went something like this.

“Mom, Dad wanted me to ask you what you want for Christmas, but I’m not supposed to tell you he sent me to ask you.”

Laughing a little as I reply. “Ok. Our secret. Hmm. How about a spotlessly clean and organized house.”

She leaves the kitchen and comes back. “He said to ask again.”

“How about a week off. I don’t have to drive, cook, grocery shop, laundry or laying out clothes, etc. How about that?”

This time she comes back shaking her head. “What do you really want for Christmas?”

“How about everybody eats what I want to eat for a week?”

She didn’t even go relay the message this time. She just looked at me, arms crossed shaking her head, “Eww. For real, Mom.”

I think I asked for a new Swell and a Starbucks gift card which she happily reported, and I’m pretty sure my favorite present was a new Garmin watch. So, the hubs didn’t fail at his gift giving task.

My main requests, however, were not within the realm of possibility, at least not in this stage of life. It’s funny how that works, right? As you get older, the things you want aren’t really things. You find yourself chasing a feeling or a state of being over something shiny and new. I just wanted to relax, to wholly decompress and let go, which to be honest, even if my husband had been able to grant any of those requests, I would still be stressed. I would stress out about whether everything is getting done right and/or feel guilty that I had checked out.

Anyway, that last request, the one she poo pooed before even relaying it, that’s the one I think I would love the most. I am most definitely a food agnostic. I don’t believe there is one right way to eat, but I do believe there are certain principles in eating that are universally good for all humans. It’s really hard to get kids to eat that way. It may be even harder to get my husband to eat that way. I would love not having to stress about pleasing everyone’s personal taste on top of trying to make a meal healthy. That one stress is probably one of the biggest stresses in my life. If everyone would just eat what I eat, I wouldn’t have to worry about it.

The problem is that I eat weird food.

I made a makeshift version of huevos rancheros for lunch one day (pictured above). My daughter looked at it while I was preparing it. It was pretty much just beans, sautéed salsa veggies and cheese over a tortilla. I hadn’t put the avocados, egg, hot sauce or sour cream on top yet, although I don’t know that that would have changed her reaction much. She looked at it and told me it looked like dog food with cheese on top.

Of course, this child doesn’t eat cheese, anything with tomatoes in it (including pizza), eggs, oatmeal, any kind of bean, anything green except green beans and sweet peas, etc. The list is exhausting. She won’t eat tacos or sandwiches. What do you feed a kid who doesn’t eat tacos or sandwiches? How did I grow this child inside me and she not like tacos? Was she switched at birth?

My middle child was allergic to Milk, Soy, Corn and Eggs for the first decade of his life. It was easier to feed him than her. Incidentally, he’s my best eater now. I think because he spent so much of his life being told he couldn’t have things, now he’ll eat ANYTHING.

My oldest is pretty adventurous, but he’s not big on some of the easiest things I cook. He likes fancy. So, he’s disappointed often.

I’ve thought about meal or menu planning services, but inevitably, I get to looking and can’t find a plan that has meals my family will eat. I mentioned before that I’ll eat anything. Anything except eggplant, shellfish and sea buckthorn. So, I’d be good with pretty much any of it. The rest of the people in my house, not so much.

I plan and prep and go through the week, but it never fails that someone will complain about what I made and how I made it. Then there are the nights that we’re too busy, and we just get takeout. That’s when my middle guy asks me when I’m gonna cook again because he likes my food better than whatever we picked up. Cue the melting heart, but I can’t win.

I like my “dog food with cheese on top.” Some day, that’s all I’ll have to worry about, right? What I’m gonna eat. My husband can fend for himself at that point because I’m not catering to an adult picky eater for the rest of my life.

Some day, they’ll come home all grown up, and I’ll cook each of them all their favorite foods without complaint because I’ll want them to want to be home with me, right? But, right now, I just need to get through the week without throwing up my hands and telling them to just go fix a bowl of cereal.

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