Too many cooks in the kitchen
I’ve heard it said that people either like to cook or they like to bake, but they rarely like to do both.
And for me, that’s true.
Cookies, cupcakes, pastries…give me an excuse to make them and I’ll hurry to the pantry and pull out my KitchenAid. I love making gingerbread houses and desserts for the holidays, or baking cakes for birthdays. And there’s nothing like a house filled with the smell of brownies or apple pie.
But cooking? That’s another story.
It’s not that I don’t cook. I do.
And it’s not that I hate it, either. I don’t.
It’s just that I always seem to get stuck in a rut, making the same six or seven recipes over and over until I’m up to my eyeballs in things like pesto and spaghetti and chicken and taco salad and burritos and, okay I’ll admit, quesadillas or grilled cheese when we’re on the run.
And every once in a while, when I happen to read a cooking magazine or see an amazing recipe, panic sets in and I worry that my kids aren’t getting enough variety.
That’s when I get super-motivated and dig through my recipe drawer and pull out things like Pozole Mexican Soup or Zucchini Carpaccio or Roasted Red Pepper Pasta or Cannellini Salad.
Then I go to the store.
And get all the ingredients.
And spend hours cooking.
And we sit down for dinner, and…
my kids eat two bites.
I know I could force them to eat. Believe me, I’ve said the line, “This isn’t a restaurant,” many times. But I don’t want to make an issue about food, and forcing them doesn’t always work anyway.
On account of my son’s (very strong) gag reflex.
And it’s after those kinds of dinners that I resort back to the six or seven recipes I know everybody likes.
It’s an ongoing cycle, and one that I need to do a better job of figuring out how to break.
Especially because my son has gotten a little too used to the menu lately.
Most notably, the burritos.
If he had his way, he’d eat them every day.
“Yes. We’re having burritos!” he said just the other night when he was helping me cook. (He had spotted the tortillas on the counter.)
“No,” I told him. “We’re having enchilada casserole.”
“Casserole?” He scrunched his face up. “Can’t we have burritos instead?”
“We just had burritos. We’re having casserole tonight.”
He eyed the rest of the ingredients…olives, ground turkey, enchilada sauce, green chilies, cheese…
“But what’s in enchilada casserole?” he asked quietly.
“Almost the same thing as burritos,” I told him, “but the casserole has beans and enchilada sauce too.” I smiled. “Trust me. You’ll love it. You’ve had it before.”
He looked at me doubtfully and set the table, seemingly in deep thought.
When he was done, he came up to me. “Mom?” he said, “I have three suggestions.” (This from my seven year old.)
“Oh yeah? What are they?”
“How about we make enchilada casserole, but without the enchilada sauce, and without the beans, and without the casserole?”
Which pretty much means we’d be making burritos. :)