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Short Order Cook

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May 30, 2013 by Marj Hatzell

I used to love cooking, honest.

It’s something I enjoyed doing on a regular basis. I loved reading cookbooks (yes, read, as in for pleasure-type reading) and own many. I loved experimenting with flavors and presentation. Heck, my sisters called me “Martha” for a reason, and I’m not talking about Martha Washington. I’m talking about frou-frou Martha, former resident of Cell block D. You know, her. I loved to make people happy with what I cooked. I loved to make ME happy with what I cooked. It was actually fun!

Then our kids were born.

Despite my best intentions, my kids do NOT follow in our footsteps. It started out well, really. They loved mashed avocado as babies. I did the whole, “No jar food, make-my-own, hippie-healthy” baby food plan. But then they grew, their motor skills and texture issues became more apparent, and eventually they stopped enjoying much of anything. Bugaboo would go a whole week eating nothing but rice and apples. One week, he just ate the apples. And Bug Boy wouldn’t eat any red food (no sauce, no tomato, no watermelon, no ketchup even!) but a bit of that has changed now. It was BEYOND picky eating. The food they ate made them sick. It gave them terrifying anxiety. It took years to sort out, yo. YEARS. New things still crop up once in a while. It’s super-happy-fun-time around here!

I’ll admit, I was one heck of a picky eater when I met The Guy I Live With. I was pretty plain-jane when it came to food. I grew up in a large family and my mother cooked out of necessity (large, one-pot meals) so it was rare when I was able to partake in something NEW and DIFFERENT. Can you imagine? NEW STUFF? The first time The Guy I Live With invited me for dinner with his family, they mashed potatoes and carrots. TOGETHER IN ONE BOWL. I mean,TWO FOODS MIXED TOGETHER. INORITE? But these days I enjoy food. Probably a little too much, since it’s sort of an unhealthy obsession with me sometimes. I think I’ve written about my struggles with my eating disorder before. I pretty much think of food, food, food all day long. I’m eating breakfast and think about lunch and dinner. I eat dinner and plan to eat the next day. It’s… Anywho, food…I love it. But I’m all MEH these days.

Between the food allergies, food intolerance, reflux, GI tract issues, Esophagitis and sensory dysfunction, preparing meals in my house has become more of a chore. Finding something that all four of us enjoy, ONE MEAL that all four of us can eat, is next to impossible. Our requirements:

Wheat-free (for Bugaboo)
Dairy-free (for Bug Boy)
Nut and Seafood Free (DG, The Guy I Live With)
No sauce
No gravy
No spices
Not overly greasy or heavy
No food mixed together/touching in any way
The proper texture
The proper temperature (no one likes hot food. Bugaboo prefers room temp)
Not soggy, chewy or overly crunchy

Yeah. Exactly. So what the heck do I prepare? Some days I feel like a short order cook. I usually plan a main ingredient with four variations. Everything is made PLAIN, with no sauce, gravy, crazy seasonings, spices, etc. I typically grill, saute, or bake a meat product of some kind and we either have separate veggie or side dish accompaniments or have four entirely different meals. Bug Boy recently started eating Caesar Salad and we wanted to throw a party. I mean, that’s lettuce WITH cheese WITH croutons WITH dressing, all touching and mixed together (He can actually have some cheeses now!) MIXED TOGETHER, Y’ALL. Instead of in four separate piles or four separate plates, in case there’s a messy food like mashed potatoes. I mean, you can’t have that touching broccoli. AS. IF. I cannot believe you even mentioned that!

Now you know.

I think we should order takeout tonight.

One thought on “Short Order Cook

  1. I know this doesn’t help you at all, but you’ve made me feel better about two of my triplets almost refusing to eat vegetables at all. I think Sunshine triplet would exist on crackers and fruit (oh and chocolate pudding) if at all possible. Princess triplet, she really only wants to eat stuff that has red sauce & lots of Italian spice. Then Angel triplet, she’ll eat anything, no really, nearly anything (and that includes grass, mulch, plastic, toys… can you say PICA…)

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