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Cooking for two or more

Discussion in 'Cookery' started by modelmaker, Jan 22, 2011.

  1. modelmaker

    modelmaker Occasional commenter

    In our household, thankfully, our kids have grown up and fend for themselves most of the time, yet there remains the issue of things we individually prefer to eat and the other dislikes. I can't tell you how many times I've either cooked meals she wants and enjoys but I am reluctant to touch and go hungry or times like this evening I've done two dissimilar meals. Am I unique in this?
     
  2. modelmaker

    modelmaker Occasional commenter

    In our household, thankfully, our kids have grown up and fend for themselves most of the time, yet there remains the issue of things we individually prefer to eat and the other dislikes. I can't tell you how many times I've either cooked meals she wants and enjoys but I am reluctant to touch and go hungry or times like this evening I've done two dissimilar meals. Am I unique in this?
     
  3. I'm lost ...
     
  4. modelmaker

    modelmaker Occasional commenter

    The Salvation Army can save you. Do you have their number?
     
  5. Si N. Tiffick

    Si N. Tiffick Occasional commenter

    In our house, it's eat what I cook or go hungry. I don't run a hotel. Mind you, the only other person living here is 7 and not yet able to cook unsupervised (he does help prepare meals a couple of times a week, but often eats the veg he's preparing as fast as he chops it!). That said, the only thing I like that he doesn't is curried eggs. Otherwise, he eats pretty much anything, from octopus to pickled chillis.
     
  6. modelmaker

    modelmaker Occasional commenter

    Well, this evening, My sweetheart said she'd like a bland chicken caserole and I fancied something more firey. She's had hers and said it was lovely. I have smoked chicken wings in chilli and soy sauce due, and that's all I want. Job's a good'un.
     
  7. nick909

    nick909 Lead commenter

    Whilst I'm not fussy, my missus doesn't like a fair range of things, but rather than cook two things, which is too much effort, especially on a weeknight, I go without some of the things I love (the ones I tend to miss most being aubergines, various pulses but particularly chickpeas and certain types of offal, such as heart and tripe) except on odd nights when she goes out, when I prepare all sorts of loveliness for myself alone. Certain things are easy to adapt, for example, adding black pudding and kidneys to a fry-up, or substituting a sweet potato for an ordinary one when we have jacket spuds, but I'd very rarely cook something entirely different. Having said that, I had mussels today, while she had king prawns.
    She's pregnant though, which means for her that she can't manage chilli-hot food at the moment; something I'm currently craving, so I might end up doing myself a hotter version of something she's having soon, although given that she'd probably be extremely jealous, I might not put her through it!
     
  8. No, I only cook one meal and that is it. I am certainly not going to cook different meals to accommodate all tastes.
    There are 7 days in the week - ample enough days for each to get a couple of meals they really love and a couple that are somebody else's favourites.
    I save my hot, hot, spicy stuff or my very weirdest veggie meals for the times the kids are at their Dad's.

     
  9. Bethannie

    Bethannie New commenter

    I live alone, so only cook for one!
    However, I grew up in a (very) large family and we all ate the same. Mum didn't have the time or the money to cook something different for everyone. You ate was cooked or went hungry - simple choice.
    The only exception was in harder times - mum made two versions of the same dish - with and without meat. My birthdad and my brothers got the meaty versions, Mum and the girls ate the non-meat. (So thick peas soup for us, thick pea soup with ham for the 'boys',....or a chop and potatoes for them, poached egg and potatoes for us)....it seems a little sexist today, but we accepted it without comment!
     
  10. Wotworklifebalance

    Wotworklifebalance New commenter

    In general you eat what I cook or go without in our family - except that my daughter is pescitarian so if we are having a meaty meal there is some sort of variation going on in an adjacent pan. I try to make her meals as similar to ours as possible.
    We tend to eat veggie 3 or 4 nights a week, fish 2 or 3 and meat once or twice. The boys can have a meaty lunch at school each day so don't feel too left out. There are a few things that I know some members of my family really loathe so we tend to have them if the hater is out. If I don't like it they miss out! A good example being turkey, which I cannot stand so my family have never had a turkey Christmas dinner.
    Every-one else is starting to take more responsibility for cooking - each is starting to cook one night a week - but at the moment they are all still cooking things that I like. When/if it gets to the stage that they cook something that I don't like I'll have to just get on and eat - as I say to them "I haven't asked you to like it, just eat it!"
    Re-reading that last paragraph I sound like an old harridan! I promise that mealtimes are actually relaxed and friendly affairs in our house! To take the edge off me being such an old witch I used to get them involved in the menu-planning. They all chose 1 mainmeal and 1 pudding each week, this meant that they all knew that there was at least one meal each week that they would enjoy! Now they choose the meal that they are going to cook; it would be silly for them to cook something that they didn't like!
     
  11. BelleDuJour

    BelleDuJour Star commenter

    My OH is quite a fussy ester but my stepdaughter is impossibly picky. Stepson eats most things and I eat anything.
    I offer two choices.
    Take it or leave it.
    I do not run a restaurant!
     
  12. nick909

    nick909 Lead commenter

    I agree with the "you'll eat what you're given or go without" principle, but also see no point in deliberately cooking something that contains an integral ingredient that someone else actively dislikes. Part of the joy of cooking is seeing others enjoy your wares, after all.
    We've already said that if and when our forthcoming child starts refusing certain foods, we'll allow it not to eat said food (I don't like the idea of forcing someone to eat something), but there'll be no offered alternative other than a piece of fruit, and there'll certainly be no biscuits or treat-like stuff allowed shortly afterwards when he or she discovers that they're hungry.
    My wife's family are all fussy eaters, and meals there often seem to be a bewildering myriad of options and alternatives, to cater for various tastes, which I think is bizarre, but MIL is happy to do it, it seems, so I suppose it's okay. Wife has tried to persuade me to cater towards these "needs" when family and friends visit, but I refuse to do this, on the basis that they're adults and if they don't like something, they can either force it down with a glass of water or feign fullness and leave it! I've actually never had any complaints, either and everything gets eaten.
    MIL, dare I say it, isn't a great cook either...oddly enough my wife has claimed to dislike many things she turns out to like, and that it's merely that they've been cooked badly before...! The most recent conversion being courgettes, which I can only assume had been boiled to death and served unseasoned when she'd had them previously, although she now loves them and is demanding them out-of-season, much to my irritation...;-)
    I also still hold by the "try it ten times" routine, where I'm convinced that most people will start to like something if they try it enough times. How many people who like olives, for example, started life off not liking them? We will attempt to get our children to like as much as possible though, by exposing them to a varied diet from the start...although I'm sure many have said that before us...
     
  13. BelleDuJour

    BelleDuJour Star commenter

    True.
    When stepdaughter is with us we try to cook food she will eat, but never offer choices. Offering choices just makes her even more fussy IMO, and it's interesting to see what she actually will eat when faced with that or nothing.
    She used to dislike green beans and would never even eat one, until she went to her friend's house and was served them up. Now she loves them!

     
  14. Si N. Tiffick

    Si N. Tiffick Occasional commenter

    That's the rule here, too. I can only remember it being invoked once, tbh.
    My husband's family were the same- there were 4 of them and at diner time they would eat 4 different meals, all cooked (badly) by his mother. It was a shock to him when he moved in wiht me and I wasn't going to make umpteen options at each sitting.
    I've always offered foods several times, and as I've said there's nothing much my son won't eat- he's eaten widely since he was weaned, including, to my friends' horror, spicy foods. I was raised on a mixture of European and Indian foods as well as other cuisines which were unusual in rural Scotland in the 70s and 80s and it did my palate no harm at all. My son's eaten spices since babyhood and doesn't have a problem eating out anywhere.
    I've always disliked brocolli, despite loving other brassicas (it's the texture, not the taste). I decided when C was a baby that I would behave in the way I expect him to, and so I always had some brocolli when I was serving it to him (he loves it) and now, I really don't mind it. I'd still choose another brassica in preference, but it doesn't offend me in the way it used to. I reckon you should try somehting several times before declaring that you don't like it.
    I think it's also important that you offer all foods to children, not having any preconceptions about what they will or will not eat. My aunts were astounded at a family party when C was about 2- there was a big plate of mixed seafood which C made a beeline for, filled his plate and sat under the buffet table, shelling langoustine and scoffing them greedily, spitting out any bits of shell his little fingers had missed. To this day, shellfish are not safe whenever he's around and the aunts always make sure they have plenty of prawns if he's expected at a buffet!
    On holiday in Majorca when C was 2 and a half, I remember my father ordering a paella, which C wanted to try. Fine, said my dad, not expecting him to enjoy it. Poor dad, ended up with not much more than rice and a few bits of rabbit as C had scoffed all the shellfish and baby octopus as soon as the dish was set down. Thankfully, at 7, he has better manners and shares better!
    I never understand why more restaurants don't offer half portions of proper food instead of the awful kids' menus (sausage, chips, beans- burger, chips, beans- pizza- chicken dippers, smiley faces, beans)
     
  15. That is how I got back into eating sprouts. I had loathed them since childhood but decided to give them to my kids and see - of course, that meant I had to eat them too. Don't mind them at all now (although still not favourite veg).
    Same with raw tomatoes - although I still can't eat them - but my son does now. Daughter still won't but will eat them cooked like me.
    Lots of places do here - I am always a bit narked off in the UK when the only option for kids is

     
  16. THIS!
    Sorry, post got cut off!
    I often order a half portion here myself (we call it a "Seniorenteller" i.e. a smaller portion for old fogies [​IMG] )
     
  17. nick909

    nick909 Lead commenter

    Agreed. I think it's important to remember just what many children choose to eat, such as strongly flavoured crisps, pizza, garlic bread marmite and astringently sour fizzy sweets. It's a myth that children prefer bland food, as this illustrates. It amazes me that people suggest the removal of spices and strong flavours such as chilli and garlic from children's food. Salt should be the only consideration, really.
    Similar to your experiences, I have two small nieces who will eat almost anything; I remember the youngest eating mashed up coq au vin at about 10 months and the eldest (currently 3 years old) recently demolished a plate of squid during a family dinner, demanding "more tentacles" from anyone willing to throw them her way!
     
  18. Bethannie

    Bethannie New commenter

    Mum has always cooked from a variety of cultures....her own East German, Birth Dad's Irish, the influence of a year or so in Africa and later two-and-a-half years in Singapore...spicy and 'unusual' food was the norm....and we always had plenty of school friends hanging around, desperate for an invite to a meal!
     
  19. bombaysapphire

    bombaysapphire Star commenter

    My 10 year old niece now turns down the children's menu with a very unimpressed expression and has done for several years. They offer such a boring selection in most places.
    When I first met Mr BS the only fish he would eat were fish fingers. He'll now try most things. I'm never going to get him to be a vegetable fan but he will eat any fish or meat pretty much. His diet mainly consisted of those children's menu choices and he missed out on all of the variety for years.
     
  20. Si N. Tiffick

    Si N. Tiffick Occasional commenter

    My (ex) husband was the same- everything he ate was of the orange freezer section sort. It amazes me that I put up with him so long!
     

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