Friday, June 8, 2007

I do windows, though

Hubby has been so overwhelmed with writing the book, working contracts, writing articles for technical publications, editing an issue of a technical publication, preparing workshop handouts/papers/presentations for conferences... etc. etc. etc. he's just running down to the nub. So...Sunday afternoon I asked how I could help. He suggested that I start making dinner.


This is a pretty dramatic change of behavior for me. I can immediately see several potential problems:
1) he is by far the better cook.
2) he enjoys cooking a lot more than I do.
3) more than once when i did start cooking he came in midway and would start to suggest changes... which sometimes goes over okay, sometimes not.
4) he can usually find some way to improve nearly every dish, no matter where it is in the preparation or post-preparation process, which is often annoying, though sometimes not.
5) if he is in town, when he'll be coming home can vary from 6:00 to 7:30 pm with very little notice.
6) when it is just me and the girls, we have frozen chicken nuggets, hot dogs, or meat balls for more often than Hubby would ever tolerate. That is my kind of cooking.

But fine, i can roll with the punches. I bought him a Rachel Ray 30 minute meal cookbook a couple of years ago that has been sitting unopened on the shelf, so I pulled it out and chose a couple of recipes, and went shopping on Monday. Maybe if it only takes 30 minutes I can stand to cook something. I also like that she suggests the whole meal, not just one item. I am famous for pulling a main course out of the oven and blinking in surprise when Hubby asks what else we're having ... "Ahhh... raw carrots and .... a slice of bread for everyone! Huzzah!"

The other challenge is finding something that the girls (Thing 1) will eat. Her menu of acceptable foods is quite limited.

I don't usually talk much to Hubby during the day, but Monday afternoon I needed to ask him something and he casually mentioned he'd be at the library until it closed. This was news. Admittedly he'd said something about not watching a movie or anything that night because he needed to work late, but I had interpreted that to mean that after dinner and putting the girls to bed, he'd need to do some more work.
Do I continue to cook for myself, or do i blow off my new dinner making routine for another day?

I decided I'd go ahead and cook for me and the girls and he could eat when he got home. I made a chicken with gravy, (Thing 1 does eat some chicken if I wash off any seasonings it has on it and hold the gravy) cheesy orzo (I told her it was a different kind of macaroni and cheese) and some vegetables cooked in Balsamic vinegar. (Our balsamic vinegar was so old it pretty much ruined the vegetables.)
Thing 2 fell asleep on the couch while I was cooking, and would not be roused. I finally carried her lifeless body to bed at 8:00.
Thing 1 was enthusiastic about dinner until she walked in the kitchen and saw it on her plate. Then she yelled that she didn't want that for dinner, she wanted waffles, launched into tears, and ran out of the room. No amount of coaxing or rational explanation lessened her overwhelming sorrow.

Skip ahead to ten minutes later I am sitting alone at the table, eating my dinner. Thing 1 comes in, the weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth reaction has passed, and she calmly eats several bites of chicken, a decent sized serving of orzo, pronouncing them both "Good," but no thanks on any more than what she ate. She then asks for her frozen waffle, which has been the deal in our house. If you take a couple of bites of what's on your plate, I'll make you, within reason, something else. I am not completely happy with this deal, and think it’s going to change soon. But that’s another story.

Hubby had a plate when he got home.

That or something like it has been the story. Thing 2 of course wolfs everything down, proclaiming each dish "her favorite," and asks for more. When she's awake.
Over the course of the week, Thing 1's fits upon seeing what dinner actually was have lessened, last night she sat down and had her pork chop and cooked apple slices without hardly a peep, though she only ate three beans (one of each) of the three bean salad and pronounced them completely unpalatable.
Hubby has been high with his praise, has only made suggestions when asked.

So goes my foray into cooking.

This is Thing 1 all ready for her foray into the wading pool in our yard.

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