I consider myself a bit of a foodie and love it or hate it, I do indulge in a few minutes of food porn everyday as I flick through my favourite social media sights over a cup of coffee. So it saddens me that I’m limited to cooking a grand total of 5 dishes due to each person in the house having some sort of issue or demand regarding food.
Hubby can’t eat dairy products and when he ignores his dairy intolerance, the whole house knows it due to the groans and his need to share every detail.
“Too much information” is my stock phrase after he gives in to his pizza urges and suffers the consequences. So eggs, cheese, milk, cream and most things containing any of those ingredients are all out, which is limiting enough.
However, J has a real fear of certain foods and won’t eat anything with bones in. Or anything he sees me taking off the bone. He won’t eat fish just in case there are any lurking bones and that includes tinned fish.
All the meat I buy for him has to be boneless and it’s not too hard with chicken but he picks through every dish I serve him with a fork, inspecting it and checking it before he’ll even eat a mouthful. He also has a fear of foreign bodies and mould and I have to buy food with long dates on the package or he won’t touch it.
I understand his issues with food stem from his early experiences, and although I don’t know all the details, I’ve read notes that professionals involved in his case have made and I can see how he’s been left nervous and distrustful of food.
He has come to trust me and occasionally if he’s in full chatty flow about a certain car model and the complex details of the engine, he’ll forget and just dive in, especially if it’s one if his ‘safe’ dishes. By safe I mean one of the 3 dishes he feels he can trust which are roast chicken (as long as he doesn’t see the carcass and he only gets white meat), pork chops (again the list of acceptable standards are long and include a certain thinness, fat to meat ratio and everything has to be burnt to a crisp) and plain pasta (yes, again there a list of standards that pasta has to meet including the shape and I find myself sighing, just thinking about them!).
M has a list of what she will eat, and an even longer list of what she won’t eat, however very little is down to taste. She doesn’t much like cabbage or dark green vegetables but will eat or try most veg and seeing as she’s now Vegan, it’s probably a good thing.
M’s issues with food are about provenance, sugar content and whether it is organic or not. She washes everything she eats and has fortnightly fads, then changes her mind and won’t touch whatever was her favourite food last week. This is all very well, but when she’s out with her friends at the shopping mall on a Saturday, she’s happy to eat a McDonalds and wash it down with a full fat soft drink.
Individually, each person’s food issues are an irritation to the person that does the cooking (me), but combined together it makes every evening meal a thing of torture. I worry about what to cook, feel defiant then contrite, stress about what ingredients I can use, and sigh in a deflated slump when one or all of them pick through the meal as if it was my sole aim to poison them.
I’ve tried various tactics over the years including food lists, reward charts, meal plans and in the end it all goes the same way and falls apart, as what one person will eat this week isn’t the same as last week. Meal time looms over me continuously but I’m always amazed at what everyone (apart from Hubby) will eat if we go out to a restaurant.
I’m having a slow but steady about turn though as everyone will eat McDonalds when it suits them, everyone will eat a kebab on the way home from a football game and everyone will eat as much chocolate and sweets as they can get their hands on.
So this worm is turning and I’m going to get firmer about the lengths I’m willing to go to. No more making 3 separate meals and no more accepting M’s passing fads. I won’t change anything with J as his issues with food are deep rooted, and having M trampling on them with big feet won’t help. However, I’ve decided that this year, I’m going to be teaching everyone to cook a meal and they can take turns in cooking for me!