I am not a chef.

However…

I love to cook.

I love to look through magazines: old school. I get Real Simple and Good Housekeeping: I love flipping actual pages and looking at glossy 8×10 pictures of delicious food. This makes me excited, knowing that I can create a reasonable taste facsimile to anything I see on the page.

Dutifully, when I finish pretending to read all the articles, I rip out recipes and I put them in a folder. Every Sunday I hand the folder to my daughter and husband and tell them to pick out a recipe: everyone gets a choice. But I pick all the other meals: after all I’m the one shopping and prepping and cooking…

My daughter is usually game for this experience. She rifles through and comes up with something. My Husband will grumble that there’s nothing good in the folder. This in itself is a microcosm of how people are: some will work within the framework that’s provided, while others will complain without adding a viable solution.

My Husband will say something like, how about gumbo?

Have you ever made gumbo?

Do you have any idea how long you have to stir a roux?

Or he’ll ask about a long, carefully braised meat…in the middle of the summer when it’s 93 degrees and humid and I can think of nothing I’d like more than having the oven on for three hours…does make you consider that choice can be a bad thing…

But you know what happens along the way, when you give people a little bit of say in something…

Even your ever optimistic daughter will start to get a little big for her britches.

Last week I made a fish stew.

I’m started hearing complaints about the fish stew even before I had even made the fish stew…

But my daughter said- “It’s fine. But it’s never something you would order in a restaurant…”

I looked at her…

I looked at her hard…

“Well” she stuttered “I’m not comparing you to a restaurant. I mean, I know you’re not a restaurant. I just mean that this doesn’t sound exciting…”

I still looked at her as I closed the folder on my desk, the fish stew prominently in front of me…

Husband chimed in “We mean, fish stew is fine, but do we ever just want fine?”

I stood up from my desk, my full five foot two inch persona glaring at them:

“I have canned tomato’s. I have a half bag of frozen shrimp. I have celery. The only thing I need to pick up is a piece of cod. I use up things I have in the house.” I am really big on using up what’s in the house “It’s also a one pot meal.” Sorry, not sorry, but who doesn’t love a one pot meal?

They glared at me…

I pointed at both of them: “Feel free to make your own dinner…”

Insert grumbling noises here…

So I made the fish stew.

They complained.

But should you ever really complain to the person making your food?

Wonder what I’ll make them tonight…

68 thoughts on “One Pot Supper

  1. He’s been grilling out lately so it’s been easy. It won’t be so easy when the temp is 10 outside and he doesn’t want to start the grilll. Then the I dont know what I wants will start. Totally frustrating!

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  2. I will say that my husband is very good about whatever I make him, he does have his favorite meals though and they are usually time consuming productions (for instance Thanksgiving) but he insists that if pressed that is what he would choose. I usually don’t offer free choice just for that reason, I will offer 2 or 3 curated meals from which to choose.

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  3. I write from the land of the mighty cod….The stew sounds delicious.

    Cooking is an act of love, and creativity.

    I think I will do some research on ‘The Psychology of Picky Eaters’.
    Bless you, LA, for feeding your family well.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Okay, let’s turn to my mother for advice on dealing with snarly eaters, she was epic. If we complained or made a single despairing noise about a lovingly prepared meal the very next day it was dried beef on toast (we called it shit on a shingle) or liver baked in a pan with a single onion (horrible is the only word that comes to mind). She loved both of these meals (extraordinary woman) and she would smile and every now and then she’d let out a rather loud “yum.” Very effective…C

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Along with handing them the recipes, I might also hand them a spatula and tell them to let you know what night they want to cook. 🙃 I get Real Simple, Better Homes and Gardens, and Southern Living….mainly for the recipes! Do I make them? Occasionally, but a girl can dream, can’t she?

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  6. For the most part, my Hubby eats and likes almost anything I put in front of him. My kids are pickier, but still rarely ever complain. They complain so rarely, I didn’t know that my son really wasn’t a fan of one of my favorite meals that I like to make on special occasions and hasn’t for years until a few months ago. Now I feel like crap because I always try to make sure there is something at most meals that everyone will like and I avoid making the things they actively hate or make them something different when I do. I’m a hugely picky eater, so I do what I can to accommodate others knowing how horrible it is when you really can’t stand what is put in front of you. They know this, yet he never actually said anything. That said, I’ve started forcing participation when preparing my meal list for the week and that is where I get the most grumbles. I’ve also gotten a lot more appreciation for the effort and the work because now they get why I hate that chore.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My family isn’t really picky…they just expect haute cuisine at every turn, and all of our meals can’t be like that. Add to that who doesn’t eat what…and they’re lucky they get a meal….

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Ah, the old “What’s for dinner” game. Made even more challenging in my house since 3 of the 4 of us are trying to eat healthier, i.e, limiting carbs and the other one is not. For now, I’m cooking for the three healthy eaters and sometimes I’ll add a dish for the carb eater but most of the time he cooks for himself. Your fish soup sounds good. They should be thankful you enjoy trying new things and cooking period. It’s never been a thing for me.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I’m reminded of a friend telling me that when she was first married her husband complained about a dinner she cooked. The rest of the week she fed him hard boiled eggs! She said he never complained again.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. I have made some amazing dishes from the NYT during this damndemic – and Sean has hardly touched even one of them. I saw him dumping an awesome salad I made into the trash. UGH. It its’ not a hamburger or pizza, it’s just not good enough. Doesn’t mean I’ll stop experimenting though ;-).

    Like

  10. No you should never complain to the person making your food… especially in restaurants because next visit you may get more ingredients than you bargained for! My opinion is it’s disrespectful to complain to ‘the chef’ and being truthful I’ve never complained to my mother because I know the answer I’d get! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s a slippery slope when you complain about meals…I made crab cake sandwiches with sweet potato wedges last night…I think they knew better than to complain…

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Brizzy Mays has a good suggestion! I remember my father was a very picky eater until my mom passed away and all of a sudden we discovered he knew how to make vichyssoise and was an excellent cook. Since my mom did all of the cooking, he must have picked up a few tips from her along the way.

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  12. You let them choose something every week?!! Lucky them. Yeah, I agree they need a serving of Humble Pie. Once in a while I ask hubby what he wants for dinner, but he won’t say unless I give him two or three options. He compliments every dinner I make, even if it isn’t all that great.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. My husband likes extremely simple foods, so he’s no problem. In your case I would start cooking things I like, that I wanted to try. If they want they’re welcome to have some. Years ago I learned the phrase, “If you act like a doormat don’t complain when people walk all over you.” My mother and I learned that by heart and we were a lot happier. Good luck!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m not changing my recipe/cooking schedule. I just don’t like the lack of gratitude. But, as stated, one shouldn’t complain to the cook….

      Like

  14. No, you don’t complain about dinner. Cooking interesting meals has become a major challenge for most of us right now because it’s so unrelenting. My dad used to compliment every dinner my mom made, my husband not so much.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. When Himself first moved in with me, I did the planning, shopping & cooking. He’s not overly keen on my style of cooking, but rather than be ungrateful, suggested he be allowed to take over. Our tastes are different and so there’s meals I miss and ones I’m not overly keen on, but it doesn’t stop me expressing my gratitude every day.

    Have you considered couples (or family) therapy?

    Liked by 1 person

  16. My son and I eat differently about half the time. Mostly because he will eat the same thing for days on end. The joys of being on the spectrum. Or else I’ll make something that leaves lots of leftovers. I’ll eat them forever but he won’t. This morning I made him quick beef noodle soup for breakfast. Basically noodles cooked in beef broth. Better than bullion for the win. Its what he wanted. I had yogurt.

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  17. In answer to your question, no, you shouldn’t ever complain to the person who makes your food. You either thank them and eat it, or thank them and make yourself something else to eat. Those are your only two choices.

    Liked by 1 person

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