Every night it’s:
What’s for dinner?
I don’t know what would you like?
I don’t know. What do you have?
MMMMMM, let’s see. There’s turkey. I could make turkey meatloaf with mashed potatoes & vegetables?
Nah, not tonight. What else do you have?
Well, I could use the turkey to make hamburgers?
With turkey? What are you weird or something?
Ok, well, let me think. I have fish sticks? We could have fish sticks and tater tots with a salad on the side.
That sounds gross!
OK so then you tell ME what you want.
I don’t know!
Oh how I wish ‘I don’t know’ was in a cookbook somewhere. Could Bobby Flay or Jamie Oliver come up with a dish that was easy to make and pleased a myriad of people so that when they said ‘I don’t know’ the cooks could whip up a batch of it?
What about the dreaded ‘I don’t care’? That one is even worse than the ‘I don’t know’. The ‘I don’t care’ means:
I care. I care more than you know. But, I want you to guess. I want you to list off all the things you possibly could make with the items that you have readily available in the pantry. And then – then I will disagree with them all until you get totally fed up with my distaste for all things economical, easy, and homemade. You will finally succumb to what I really want. That which I knew I wanted all along by suggesting it yourself, you will think that you are brilliant and finally figured out how to please me. The joke is on you though. HA! I knew what I wanted, but told you I didn’t know so that you would have to work hard to figure out what I wanted. Now, now we sit down to a delicious dinner of my choosing. Now, you will suggest it more often than you did in the past and I will trick you for a while into thinking that ‘I don’t care’ means a particular food and THEN I will switch it up and that will become one of the many things ‘I don’t like’.
And the game goes on.
Night after night we have this discussion and night after night I am the one who figures out what we are going to eat and usually they love it! Why do I ask the the questions? Does it really matter what they want to eat? I guess I want them to feel included. Really all they care about is that I cook, we eat, dishes get cleaned (well, they don’t really care about that), & we get snack right before bed. This is the routine of a mom after 6:00 (or 8:00 depending on your evening schedule). We do it for love (and because we need to eat too). We do it because society suggests (firmly) that it is our position in life, even if we have worked 8-10 hours (plus a commute), even if we have spent the day volunteering for our kids schools, even if (you fill in the blanks for your season of life). We do it because that is how we were trained.
I don’t have any resentment to this job. Really, I love to cook. It is one of the things I enjoy most. But like most I like to cook what I want and when you have other mouths to feed you want to ensure they are happy at the end of the day too.