Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Beef...I Wish It Was for Dinner

Last fall, I jumped back into the world of full-time employment.

First, I worked at the Full Time Job I Couldn't Blog About, which was as much fun as walking through Jerusalem with a t-shirt that says "Free Palestine" on one side and "God Promised it to Isreal" on the other.  But my co-workers were terrific, so that was the upside.  Now, I market equipment to hookers.  Rug hookers, that is.  And both the job AND my co-workers are terrific, so it's a win-win.  Plus, I will be a bona fide hooker in a month.  Current Husband can't wait.

However, as it goes with Moms Who Work, some things have gone by the wayside:
  • Laundry
  • Dishes
  • Thank yous
  • Role playing sexual adventures
  • Getting children's paperwork to school on time
  • Home cooked nutritious meals
I actually love to cook and I love to eat and I love to have family dinner, but who has the time?  When I get home from said full-time job, I usually have about 20 minutes before we have to head back out the door for cello or piano or dance or basketball.  Tonight, I registered Oldest Daughter for high school (sweet baby Jesus, that's its own post).  Tomorrow night it's the piano/dance combo hours.  Thursday night it's my turn to drive the cello carpool.  Hello, Drive-Thru muffin top...will you hold my vanilla latte for a minute?

Where I used to cook lasagne or homemade chicken noodle soup via Barefoot Contessa or French Dips, we now have pizza or eggs or waffles or soup.  Most meals involved some sort of chicken or tilapia, now we contemplate Papa John's as gourmet fare.  Compounding matters is the fact that Oldest Daughter is a vegetarian.

Where I come from in Nebraska, if you didn't cheer for the Cornhuskers, you were taken to South Dakota, and if you didn't eat beef, you were dumped at the Colorado border.  I am a willing red meat eater - bring me a medium rare bacon-wrapped filet smothered in onions and mushrooms with a loaded baked potato and a beer and I will walk through the fire pits of Hades for you.  Bring me a Quarter Pounder and I will walk through the McDonalds parking lot for you.  Bring me tofu and I will say, "What the hell am I supposed to do with this?"

About a year and a half ago, Oldest Daughter announced she was becoming a vegetarian.  We asked her for a good reason, and she said she was grossed out by eating fish because they pee in the water and then breathe it and eat it, and that she just didn't like the texture of meat.  Okay.  I thought she was just being trendy.  Go then, Teen Vegetarian!  Take your two week sabbatical from meat and then come back to embrace a pork chop with me!  However, she never really came back to meat.  She will eat my crab rangoon, because it IS irresistable, and she will occasionally eat chicken in Chinese food (an odd choice of cuisine to go back to the meaty side), but otherwise she has stuck with it.  Which is great for her and bad for dinner.

So I have the following people at my table:
  1. CH - he is allergic to shellfish and seems to be both gluten and lactose intolerant.  Or, he is just simply Intolerant.
  2. OD - vegetarian, not a fan of vegetables, likes cheese.
  3. The Son - eats what is on his plate and then has four bowls of cereal before bed.
  4. Youngest Daughter - won't eat anything, says she needs to avoid healthy food because she wants to "stay little" so she won't have to "do chores" and can "fit in small spaces".  Which leaves
  5. Me, who ends up eating all of the extra stuff.
Why don't I come home from work to Marion Cunningham or June Cleaver setting the table and bringing a big roast out from the oven?  Why doesn't Alice pop around in her blue maid's dress and get something healthy together?  Where the hell is the Judy Freaking Jetson oven I've been asking for for years?  Sometimes I get tired of cooking four variations on the same meal to fit everyone's needs, so I've been succumbing to the "Breakfast for Dinner" or Frozen Pizza rut, and frankly, I'd like some broccoli.  Cauliflower.  Mashed potatoes and gravy.  Dinner rolls.  But most of all?

BEEF.  I want it for dinner.


Mrs BC said...

I totally feel your pain, & I have no solution either. Sorry :(
Husband is a kiwi that will not survive without meat (lamb) & potatos. Teenage Daughter is a commited vegetarian that will eat seafood but NOT potatoes. 6 yr old boy will eat almost anything, now that he has grown out of his wheat/soy/dairy allergys (thank Christ on a cracker) & 3 yr old boy is very picky at the dinner table but will eat his body weight in junk food. I am diabetic & need to lose weight. Sigh. Like you I also cook different variations of the same meal & i'ts driving me nuts! I am about to see a dietician & my question isn't 'How can I eat better?' it will be 'How can I accomodate everyone without opening a bistro?' At least I don't have a paid job.
Hugs & commiserations,
Mrs BC

The Table of Promise said...

I completely hear you. My blog is about trying to cook and feed my kids non-processed foods all while working (and having an hour and a half commute every day). My kids are really behaviorally sensitive to sugar and have problems digesting lactose, so non-processed foods weer the way to go. But don't forget the hilarity of tantrums and thrown food and sending 18 month olds to bed without dinner. Fun times!
You just need 5 staple dinners that you can do in the crock pot or make in big batches on the weekend and freeze.

I also recommend always making double and freezing some for later. Also setting aside time on the weekend for grocery shopping but also organized put away. It is your food! So it is okay to make it a priority. Like for example I wash my greens as soon as I come home. Then I store them in a glass container in the fridge, so making a salad for lunch is quick and easy.

It was really hard at first, but we have found those 5-10 dinners that we like and we can make in 20 minutes when I get home from work.
Hang in there, look for solutions and you will find them!!!


GrandeMocha said...

Keep it simple: Box, bag, bucket, or border. Pizza, burgers, chicken, or Taco Bell.

The Table of Promise way sounds really good & organized. When I grow up, I want to be just like her!

Shirley said...

You need a sister wife to stay home and cook and clean for you.

Anonymous said...

nice! @Shirley

Gofer said...

I would say maybe OD can start helping with dindin and maybe making the veggie part of the meal (with a side of cheese sauce) and then just normal food that is something at least more than 1 person will eat and in my house (growing up and now) the rule is if you dont like what mom cooked (member mom cooked it not a short order cook) than they (usually my 12 year old son) can find something else to eat that I have veto power over (like wanting just chips for dindin I have him make a sammich or soup to go with it) there is no reason to stress yourself out over making everyone else happy with food and no sense in wasting time, money, and sanity over it either so your kid didnt like the tilapia and had cereal but you all got to sit down to eat together no one complained and everyone has a happy tummy. We also have every man for himself night (usually when there are severl leftovers to choose from) which also helps on real busy days everyone can pick and choose from the different meals to make their own or have cereal or a sammich for dinner.

lori said...

I like to cook, but I've been a little spoiled this year - my brother lives with us and he cooks every night. I come home from work and dinner is made. Don't hate me :-). But I do remember the days when I had to do it, plus play taxi to the kids. It's hard, but it gets easier. For a short while we had the kids each take a night where they had to cook. I say "cook" loosely. "Heat" maybe is a better word. It did help though - they were early teens-ish.

Anita said...

Take heart in the reality that you are doing much better than me....still. The first day or two after I go to the grocery are awesome and healthy and after that....not so much.

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