My teenager decided to dish out her own tell-all version of Kitchen Confidential at our house after a texting session in which she moaned and complained that there was “Nothing to eat, Mom.”
“I usually skip dinner altogether, but on the rare occasion that I do want to eat, there’s never anything to eat. My Mom refuses to go grocery shopping unless the fridge is completely empty, and we have been eating nothing but stale chips and canned goods for a few days.”
Here’s what I have to say to that…
“If you closed the bags of chips, they would not go stale in the first place. And I’m not sure what you mean by canned food unless you’re referring to soup or tomatoes for marinara sauce. We live in the first world here! You are not starving. You’re just kitchen lazy. In case you forgot what our pantry looks like or where it’s located, here it is:
We also have a 28.6 cu. ft. KitchenAid refrigerator with a special vegetable drawer that practically sings opera when you open it; a four burner Wolff stove; a microwave; a Big Green Egg smoker; and a charcoal grill. How can you possibly say there’s nothing to eat or that you’re starving?
These texts from her sister are what got the whole thing started. (She’s in blue and I’m in gray, like my hair):
It was soon after that I realized I was up against more than the perception that there’s “never anything to eat.” The girls also typically won’t eat what I cook, preferring smoothies over steaks and bowls of cereal over bok choy stir fry. What’s a mother to do?
I’m not trying to say that my mother is a bad cook when she tries, has time and the right ingredients, but this is a rare occurrence at our house. Much like when she bakes cookies and doesn’t burn them or doesn’t have a kitchen disaster.
And when she does decide to cook, she usually tries grilling something. The key word here is “tries” because it never turns out well. I actually do not mind our family meals. It’s rather amusing because the same things always happen with slight twists. And I’ll let you in on the secret: it gets funnier every time. The whole thing starts with my mother wrangling us into actually having the meal with her. Then she tries to light the grill which never works as she begins chucking things into the grill and trying to set them on fire. First come the rolls of paper towels, then the napkins and anything else she can get her hands on that could keep the charcoal going. Only it typically doesn’t. After all of this the fire is never hot enough, so the meat must remain on the grill forever and ends up raw on the inside and charred on the out.
Then comes the sitting down. She calls us to the table impossibly early, we set it, and without fail, she comments at me every time for putting the knife and fork on the wrong sides. By now, I know the correct sides, but I just like to see her face scrunch up and get all exasperated. It’s a family tradition, I suppose. Then Nell and I sit for twenty minutes as she runs back and fourth between the kitchen and the deck to check on the grill. My sister texts her friends that she’s planning to meet after the meal, updating them on every delay and hiccup of their plan. I sit there and watch them, knowingly. I have actually come to look forward to the family meals although I wish someone else would cook them.
OK, fine. If you don’t like my cooking, which really isn’t that bad considering I even went to cooking school, then learn how to cook for yourselves. And I’m not talking boxed mac and cheese.
Knowing this would be a failed experiment in the end, I turned to Blue Apron for help. It’s a nationwide delivery service that sends you a box of pre-portioned meal ingredients with easy colorful step-by-step recipes for the meal plan you’ve chosen. This way, no one needs to scour cookbooks for recipes, make a grocery list or go shopping before even cooking the meal. It’s all done for you. And while it’s more expensive than do it yourself, it’s really not so bad when you calculate all the food that doesn’t go to waste anymore. Plus, the girls are learning how to cook.
This was Susannah’s meal tonight! And yes, of course I noticed that the utensils were still on the wrong side of the plate, but this time, I didn’t say a word about it.
Thank you Blue Apron!
photo credit: Pinterest inspiration!