It’s the plaintive cry that echoes across homes world-wide. Three little words that are enough to drive mothers everywhere to drink. What’s for dinner?
Before having children I wasn’t even the cook in the family, Mr Shambles always got home before me so he did dinner, and he can actually COOK which is nice.
However, it seems upon giving birth I became the fully-fledged chef of the household. It’s taken a bit of getting used to (for everyone concerned) but somehow I’ve fudged my through to creating a reportoire of dishes that are almost edible.
It’s not that I hate cooking, I quite enjoy the big events, cooking with a purpose, birthdays, Easter, Christmas. I enjoy reading cook books and experimenting with new dishes.
It’s the daily drudge that wears away at my soul. It’s the never ending THINKING. Trying to plan ahead, now what we all feel like eating in four days time? The shopping. The manic race to use all the darn ingredients before they go off – spontaneous dinner at a friend’s house? NO, I’VE GOT TO USE THE BROCCOLI I BOUGHT FIVE DAYS AGO.
Then when you’ve got to the end of the shopping week and you face the dreaded moment of opening the pantry, then the fridge, and desperately try to work out what gourmet delicacy can be created from a can of baked beans and a limp carrot.
Then of course there’s that infuriating response when you answer the question of what’s for dinner? Let’s just say chicken stir-fry – then comes “don’t feel like that”. Bless you there are days, early in the week, when you even try to accommodate – offering up alternatives because after all there’s plenty of fresh ingredients for a variety of meals. But as the days pass by you get a little less generous, until you get to the point where you simply dish it up to them (no correspondence will be entered to).
There’s also that magic moment, when you try something new (having searched high and low for the exact ingredients required by the three page long recipe) when after a mouthful they declare “umm, do you think we could heat up some frozen lasagne?”
My instant response to the frozen lasagne query is no, although previous disasters have alerted me to the fact I do need to question WHY they don’t like it.
It goes back to the ice-cream incident of ’04. I dished up the girls some ice-cream with chocolate topping. A few spoonfuls and they said “Mum this doesn’t taste too good”. I went into a rant about how you have been begging for ice-cream, now you don’t want it, it’s perfectly good ice-cream – only to have my eyes wander to the kitchen bench where I realised the bottle sitting out was the BBQ sauce, in a container deceptively similar to the chocolate topping.
Well I’m at day one of the 366 evening meals that will need to be prepared this year (it’s a leap year so we get a bonus one), I’m not off to a salubrious start, Chicken & Mushroom Ravioli with Tomato Sauce (all packaged cooked in five minutes stove and microwave). I’m on holidays.