One of my main resolutions this year was to cook dinner at home at least 5 nights a week. I'm really proud to say that so far I've stuck to it, but not so proud to discover that my family does not really appreciate my cooking. Sure, Tim is old enough to swallow down whatever I plop down on the table. But the kids usually will have a couple nibbles and beg off.
At first we figured the kids weren't that hungry. Maybe they fill up at school, or they aren't in the middle of any growth spurts. Sure, not every kid goes gaga over artichoke and mushroom fettucine, but if we keep offering them vegetables, legumes, and whole grains, they're bound to appreciate the from-scratch, mostly-organic meals I spend 1-2 hours cooking one day, right? Still, two months passed with poor results. Emily sometimes woke up at the wee hours of dawn, crying from hunger.
The last straw came over the weekend. I made a delicious arroz con pollo, but instead of rice, I used barley. I thought it was awesome. Tim smiled politely and chewed on. Isaac gobbled down his chicken but eschewed the "weird rice." Emily, who normally is a rice fanatic, threw her bowl to the floor, screeching in indignation. That's when it hit me: who am I cooking these crazy meals for? Sure, I want my family to eat healthier, but is it really my right to make every dinner an experiment? Is it tough love or just pigheaded to force my kids to expand their palates, or else starve?
As I cleared the table that night, I resolved to take things down a notch. Out of the 5 nights I cook, I'll make 2 of them kid-friendly. And no, whole wheat macaroni with aged gouda and goat cheese does not count.
So tonight was hot dog night. Well, I grilled up some leftover Italian sausages as well, and the buns were whole wheat (I know I know, I'm a stubborn bitch). But get this: Emily, who normally doesn't eat meat at all, ate THREE weiners (no buns). Isaac had 3 whole hot dogs with ketchup and mustard slathered all over them. Tim and I barely had enough to eat ourselves! Throughout the meal, Isaac and Emily exclaimed "Yummmm!!! Thank you Mama!!! Thank you for this yummy dinner!" and we had great dinner conversation, instead of the normal squeezing-out-of-information. Emily even clapped and sang for her supper. And I am sure she'll sleep well tonight.
Of course, this was a big blow to my culinary ego, but this evening was what I was searching for when I first made my resolution. Fine, I won't be able to try out the vegetarian quinoa tabbouleh I had my eye on for a while, but at least I'll have an excuse for the corn dogs in my shopping cart.