Am I the only mom who feels like they work in a school cafeteria, churning out the same boring ‘ol meals, day in and day out? I guess the sad looks on my children’s faces when I say that it’s spaghetti bolognaise AGAIN, should have alerted me to the fact that they find my culinary skills slightly lacking. But the real knife in my back was when I found them feeding their food to the dog next door last week. I’m hoping that it was more the fun of feeding a dog (who LOVED my bolognaise let me tell you), than the excitement of getting rid of my food, that had them yelping in excitement. Regardless of this sad and shameful incident, I have decided that our menu does need some sprucing up.
I dislike the word menu, and I dislike having one, I prefer those days when I’d spontaneously decide on the day, what we’d be having for dinner, depending on what the hubby and I were WISHING for. Fast forward to two kids later – it just makes life easier when I plan our meals at least a day in advance so that I don’t waste time ooh-ing and aah-ing over what to cook and just get stuck into the pots as soon as I get home from work, so that I can feed my hungry family as quickly as possible, with as little effort as possible. Gone are the days of eating what you were “wishing” for, these days it’s more a case of eating whatever is quick to prepare with at least one nutritious ingredient… even if it is the one real tomato in the bolognaise sauce. Our meals seem to be very basic and boring: we have lots of pastas, we love chicken so we incorporate that into a lot of our meals, we have a curry at least once a week and we have a fry day.. on FRIDAY.. get it? 🙂 On the weekends, we usually eat out and if I am feeling particularly generous, I will make a full on Sunday lunch every now and again. I must also mention that I am slightly spoilt in that Zoleka will start my cooking for me, and I really just need to add the finishing touches, depending on what we are eating. Like she’ll braise the onions and meat if we’re having stew so that all I need to do is add some frozen veg and create a nice gravy. Or she’ll chop all my ingredients so that I can behave like a tv chef and just add everything into the pot. Or she’ll roast the chicken and potatoes and make a salad – it does make things easier. But still, I am so bored of chicken stew, bolognaise, roast chicken, steamed vegetables and the like, I want to create something more exciting for my family to enjoy. I am blessed in that they aren’t fussy eaters and will gratefully accept whatever I dish up for them, but I do think my kids have had enough bolognaise to put them off it for life.
So I have decided to add some flavour to our kitchen by making exotic dishes to wow the socks off my family. Ok there will be no wowing off of socks, but I would like to expose my kids to different tastes and textures, because I wouldn’t want them to think that food means chicken. Chicken nuggets in particular. There is so much more to life than CHICKEN. I don’t have the time or the patience (or the finesse) to make fancy little characters and Hello Kitty faces with bits of carrots for whiskers and olives for eyes and spaghetti for hair; I have no intention of being the next Big Cook, they can watch that stuff on Cbeebies, what I mean is making a variety of dishes with a variety of different ingredients. Like lasagne instead of mac and cheese, a chicken pie with thick crusty puffy pastry (served with a side salad to counteract the calories!) instead of grilled chicken strips, seafood stir fry instead of boxed fish, Spanish omelette instead of a fried egg. Do you know where I’m going with this? Taking the same boring meals we are used to, and jazzing them up somewhat.
Let me just say, that unless I am in the mood, I do not particularly enjoy cooking, I see it more as a means to an end. But I do love to eat – which is the end. So I am hoping that my desire to eat yummy things will inspire me to go forth with this plan to up my ratings on the kitchen front. Other than when Liam goes through a growth spurt where he demolishes everything we put in front of him, they NEVER EVER say they want some more. No one asks for seconds, surely that is an insult to the cook? I don’t want to overfeed my family, and I most certainly do not want them to think that eating until you feel the need to pop your top button is cool, because it isnt, but I just want someone to say to me, “Please sir (mam), can I have some more!” Surely that is the greatest compliment a chef can receive? So from tomorrow (because tonight we are having chicken curry, sigh) I will be putting my plan into action, I will be delighting my family with my culinary genius, I will be creating masterpieces in my kitchen, I.WILL.BE.STUFFING.BELLIES.WITH.GOOD.FOOD.