Perpetual Plan B

Monday, March 9, 2009

Juggling Dinners

We have a big problem in our house. Well, as you probably know by now, we have a lot of big problems. This one just happens to plague me every day.

It's dinner.

No two of the people in this house like the same things. Or, more specifically, they all dislike different things.

There is actually no single meal that everyone will eat. There was one once. It was a specific meatloaf recipe that I'd tried. Everyone actually ate it and liked it. Even the girl next door (who liked it because it was actually her aunt's recipe).

But then Ally threw up that night and hasn't touched the stuff since.

So here's the list so far:

Hal won't eat anything creamy, no creamy soups, no mayonnaise type sauces, no casseroles of any kind. He isn't fond of food mixed together. (One night a few years ago, at a Stake dinner, I told our neighbor that our girls said they didn't know what a casserole was - they really didn't. He actually high-fived Hal across the table.) Hal is, however, big on tacos. I could serve tacos every week and he would be happy. In fact, when I do serve tacos, he eats the leftovers for about a week because no one else really likes taco leftovers. Hal is Mr. Salad man (although he never eats dressing on his salads). He also likes a good baked potato. Hal likes to whip up a drink that he calls liquid health. The rest of us have another name for it (liquid he--). My smoothies taste a lot better than his. Hal is not fond of chicken, he's more of a ground beef sort of guy.

Morgan is pretty good about eating. She'll eat a lot of the same things I will, which is pretty much anything. (Except I don't like warm tuna casserole, I'm not fond of that at all, or peanut butter sandwiches. I wouldn't eat a peanut butter sandwich for $100.00 - well, maybe these days I'd try to choke one down. The funny thing is that I like candy with peanut butter in it and I'll eat it in my oatmeal along with banana flavored protein powder. Morgan will eat peanut butter sandwiches, so we are different that way.) Morgan will only eat eggs if they don't taste like eggs (also like me).

Ally won't eat things with tomatoes. That pretty much rules out lots of soups, spaghetti (she eats plain noodles), sauces, etc. She will, however devour pizza, which makes no sense to me. She also doesn't like to eat cheese on top of things, which makes her love of pizza even more perplexing. Ally is the one who comes home from school and eats everything in sight. Then she's too full to eat a good dinner. She does love apples and toast. She also likes chicken nuggets and fish sticks.

Austin is Mr. Grilled Cheese. He requests grilled cheese sandwiches every day for lunch. He also loves chicken nuggets. I usually tell him he has to eat a fruit and/or a vegetable before he can eat anything else. He will eat baby carrots. He's the only one of the kids who will eat any kind of dressing or sauce on things. He's also big on ketchup and eats it on all sorts of strange things, like toast and carrots. He's the most resistant at trying new things. Sometimes he'll try something new and declare, "I love it!" and then not touch it again, ever.

So what I have to do for dinner is juggle. First I'll make something Hal likes, like tacos, and then make sure there are enough leftovers for later in the week. The next night I'll make something Ally will eat, like corn chowder. After that I do something plain, like turkey steaks or baked chicken. Once in a while I'll throw in a new recipe to see if anyone likes it. When I do that, I have to make sure there are enough of a variety of leftovers to feed everyone with their different tastes.

I used to have people eat cereal when they didn't like what I fixed but now I think they eat too much cereal, so it's pretty much grilled cheese and an apple if they get desperate. If I'm lucky, they'll clean up after themselves.

Can anyone else understand why I'm exhausted? I think I need to take myself out to dinner since Hal doesn't like to eat out. (And why would he when he has a perfectly good short-order cook at home?)

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