Even Though Mom Doesn’t Like to Cook, the Kids WILL be OK

My idea of the perfect meal – the greasy spoon diner.

I think this is the first time I’ve admitted this fact – I dislike cooking. While I’m not a bad cook, I don’t enjoy doing it. I think it’s because I’m just not a foodie – I mean, sure – I enjoy good food, but I love eating a $10 meal at a greasy spoon joint where coffee flows freely as much (if not more) as I enjoy a meal that costs multiples more than that. To me, food is just food and hence, I get very little joy out of creating culinary “masterpieces.”

Because I don’t get excited about cooking, I’ve never mastered the art of pre-planning meals. Every day at about 4:00, a nagging thought comes over me: “What the hell am I going to feed the kids for dinner?” I rarely pre-make meals which usually means that because I get home after 6:00, their dinner ends up being anything that can be made in less than 15 minutes – starch (pasta or rice), frozen veggie, and frozen meat (chicken nuggets, hot dogs or fish sticks). Lather, rinse repeat. My kids honestly believe that the microwave and toaster oven, not the stove or oven, are the main tools for cooking meals.

People close to me criticize me because they believe that by feeding them only a few choices, I’m setting them up for a lifetime of eating problems – obesity, poor eating habits, picky-eating. My mommy guilt wrestles with this because as someone who has terrible eating habits and struggles with my weight constantly, I don’t want them to struggle with the same issues. But then I realize – my mom was/is an AWESOME cook. She was a stay-at-home mom who would start preparing dinner before we even got home from school. Dinner was always hot, fresh, delicious and elaborate. Yet despite this, I: 1) am the world’s pickiest eater; 2) have suck-@ss eating habits; 3) never learned to really properly plan and cook a meal. My dinner of choice is often a bowl of ice cream.

As I observe my kids, my friends’ kids, and those around me, I realize that healthy eating and the tendency to be adventurous is way more about personality than it is about what they eat as kids. I, as the world’s pickiest eater, and my son as one of the most adventurous toddler eaters out there are living proof of that. My son will try ANYTHING – he doesn’t always like it, but he always tries it. I mean, he devoured a steam tray of chicken feet (possibly the grossest dish EVER) the last time we went for dim-sum and is always looking at other people’s dishes to see what’s on there. On the other hand, my daughter has my tastes – she could happily live off mac & cheese and cinnamon waffles for the rest of her life, and refuses to try new foods unless they look like they might taste like candy. And yet, these two drastically different eaters don’t have two moms who feed them different things – they both get the same exact meal, every single meal.

Chicken Feet – would you eat this? Credit: wikipedia

(Just in case you were wondering, when I was pregnant with them, I lived on PBJ sandwiches and white rice with hot water, so to those who tote the what mom eats when pregnant affects the kid’s tastes can just go preaching somewhere else).

So, perhaps what I really should be feeling guilty about is not that I am setting them up for a lifetime of terrible eating, but that my adventurous eater is getting short-changed of the opportunity to experience the different tastes and flavors that he might not know he craves. I have decided that the best I can do at this point is to feed them balanced (even if repetitive) meals and teach them to have a healthy relationship with food. The rest will fall into place in time.

(Although, after writing this, I have decided to become reacquainted with my crock pot, as I am the slow cooker queen…at least that way, my kids might have a chance to taste freshly made foods rather than nuked meals).

4 thoughts on “Even Though Mom Doesn’t Like to Cook, the Kids WILL be OK

  1. I feel like I could have written this. The guilt, the PB&Js, the limited menu, the mom that cooked meals every night while I’m still a picky eater, the chicken feet … ummm … ok, not the chicken feet. But the fact that your child even had the opportunity to have chicken feet means that he is not being short changed in the adventure department! Please update on the crockpot experiment! Maybe you can blaze the trail for the non-cookers!

  2. I am the opposite. When do not travel, I am the family cook. Last night, I made seared yellow fin tuna with a sesame crust, on a bed of asparagus risotto, and a summer salad with ginger sesame dressing. My 12 year old devoured it like I was an Iron Chef. My 14 year old had a PBJ on gluten free bread and a banana. She would have nothing to do with it. My point is – whether you are a foodie cook like me or a total non foodie like you – all you can do is provide balanced nutritional food and hope they find their way.

  3. Hey! Don’t be too hard on yourself. Your adventurous eater will have their whole life to try new foods. I think you’re doing a great job. We all have aspects of adulthood/parenting that we aren’t good at (for me it’s imaginative play, not that I enjoy cooking either!).

Share Some Comment Love

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s