The Short-Order Cook Thing

3 Oct

Happy Monday, y’all.

So we talked a few weeks back about kids and pickyness and not being a short-order cook just because some short, income-less person decides they “don’t like” whatever you’ve worked to make for dinner. Yes? And how we all love, love, love our kids to pieces and wouldn’t know what to do without them, really and truly, but man would you just eat dinner one night without so much commentary?

Last night was one of those nights. We had an unseasonably cold, wet weekend and yesterday being Sunday and a football day for both of the teams our family follows (some wisely and some extremely misguidedly, but I digress), it was without question a chili day. I made a recipe very similar to this one, but with beef and on the stovetop–I’ll share it this week, promise.

My kids don’t like chili.

This one is an honest dislike. They’ve tried it more than once and they really don’t like it. Especially all spicy-like, which is how I made the batch yesterday. I try to get them to try foods honestly, but if they truly don’t like something, I don’t shove it down their throats. Nobody needs lifelong food issues.

The solution? Actually remarkably simple. Instead of buying a one-pound piece of steak for the chili, I bought a piece that was about 1 1/3 pounds. I diced up most of it for the chili pot, but kept that last third-pound whole, marinated it in some ginger-soy dressing, popped my cast-iron grill pan onto the stove, and grilled it up for the kids. They enjoyed their steak with broccoli and rice while DH and I had our chili and the same sides. Yeah, I had one more pan to clean, but it was much easier than listening to the complaining, wasting food, resorting to McNastiness, or making a whole different meal.

That’s my take on this one. I’d love to hear yours–if you’re making a meal you love but the kids don’t, how do you handle it? Comment below!

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6 Responses to “The Short-Order Cook Thing”

  1. Laura October 3, 2011 at 8:37 am #

    This short order cook issue is by far my, well really my husband’s, biggest beef.
    My kids have a short list of food they will eat without complaining. It is always easier
    to just pick something off the list, and then make something else for us. The kids list
    is slowly getting longer but certainly does not include anything toward spicy. My husband says they should just eat what they are given. (I am hearing an older generation’s mother in my head). I can’t handle the whining-pout-complaining. I am happy to make more chicken nuggets.

  2. Leslie October 3, 2011 at 8:40 am #

    Neat topic (and close to many maternal hearts.) I really don’t get into the multiple meal thing at all. I suppose I would, if I knew for sure that option #2 would then satisfy all three short people. In my experience, #2 will be rejected after a few tries as well, or it’ll be liked by 1 or 2 kids and the other kids will then be doubly resentful, etc. (“Everyone gets something they like except meeeeeeee!”)

    Our tact is to have multiple things for each meal, and try to balance it so that there’s something each person is ok with in every meal. That may or may not be the entree, but if sometimes the kids have just biscuits and jelly or just rice and broccoli, that’s ok. If I know the whole meal has been a fail for the kids, I use the bedtime snack to slip more nutrients in (think smoothies.)

  3. Mary Malinowski Neidich October 3, 2011 at 8:48 am #

    Luckily, my not quite three y/o is not too picky (yet). However, there are some things she absolutely will not eat. I tend to have those things she flat-out refuses on a night when I have some small amount of left-overs that she does like. Like your kids, she’s not a fan of chili, and the hubby absolutely loves it, especially on a cold, rainy day. We had grilled chicken and steamed broccoli the night before (one of her favorites). There wasn’t enough left-over for all of us, so the hubs used one piece for a lunch sandwich, and she had what was left for dinner, while we ate chili. That way, everyone was happy, and nothing went to waste =)

  4. Rachel October 3, 2011 at 11:11 am #

    Loved the reminder about how they won’t die if they don’t eat what you give them a few weeks back. And the last time my daughter stated, “I don’t like this” after I had just spent an hour in the kitchen and honestly, it was something that did not contain any ingredients that were foreign to her, I just said, “Well, then, don’t eat.” Guess what? She ate it all without another comment. At the end she said, “It’s not my favorite but it was okay.” Hallelujah! I don’t care if it’s your favorite, sometimes I just want to eat what I like! Thanks again for the reminder. : )

  5. Ali October 3, 2011 at 2:13 pm #

    I love this post! I think it’s okay to offer an alternative in this situation. If they’ve given the meal multiple tries, I think you either make two meals that night or take the meal out of the rotation. I’d miss chili myself so I think making an alternative makes sense.

    I will say that ground beef chili seem to be a hit here! I get big thumbs down when I use ground turkey. I’ve never tried steak.

    • Kim October 3, 2011 at 3:12 pm #

      Try ground chicken. It doesn’t get tough and chewy like beef. I’d bet they won’t notice it’s not cow if you don’t say anything. 🙂

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