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What shall we have tonight?

Discussion in 'Cookery' started by rustybug, Apr 17, 2012.

  1. My daughter in uni is bringing a friend home for dinner (just arranged now) - a Chinese guy in the First Year with her. My other daughter also has her boyfriend round for dinner, plus there's my 11-year-old daughter, and me and my husband.
    Don't know anything about this new guy's likes or dislikes.
    Middle daughter's boyfriend likes meat meat meat meat. Doesn't eat salad, and only has very simple veges like carrots and broc (same as my 11 year old, actually). He was round last night and we had spag bol.
    Youngest can't abide spicy food.
    Husband allergic to dairy products
    Middle daughter eats chicken and fish but no other meat.
    We were going to be having chicken broth with cabbage and noodles and grilled chicken in it but it won't stretch to 7 and isn't very sustaining for 2 young men. Also planned mushroom leek and tarragon risotto for this week sometime but not when middle daughter's boyfriend is around, he'd hate that. Ditto salmon in the fridge for one night.
    Can get to shops.
    What are your thoughts?
  2. Crowbob

    Crowbob Senior commenter

    Takeaway/fish and chips...
  3. bizent

    bizent Star commenter

    Did anyone elses mum used to say to them "you'll what you're given" when they were growing up?
  4. Si N. Tiffick

    Si N. Tiffick Occasional commenter

    Yes, and I'd say it to mine if he complained too!
  5. henriette

    henriette New commenter

    do you have any pasta in?
  6. lilachardy

    lilachardy Star commenter

    Jacket potatoes with a variety of fillings available - cheese, ham, salad, chicken maybe, beans etc.
    Pick n mix.
  7. henriette

    henriette New commenter

    I rather like the sound of that: what cabbage do you use and do you add any flavouings to your "broth"?
  8. Yup.
    And my kids hear the same. So do any friends who visit.

  9. Sorry I didn't reply to anyone yesterday, I was busy shopping and cooking!
    Yes we had pasta in stock, but had had it the night before, with the spag bol.
    Re the chicken broth, I use either pointed heart cabbage (is that what it's called?) or savoy, and use a chicken broth made from a Sunday roast carcass, if it needs padding out I either use a tub of shop-bought stock or occasionally a stock cube, and always add a handful of dried porcini mushrooms, which give a really earthy lovely flavour. Also a shot of sherry.
    Now for the parenting queries, and making kids eat what they're given (funny how even on the cookery thread a discussion about gustatory matters turns into a general holding up of one's parenting skills for examination!) I'm not the sort of parent who will cook pasta for one child, chicken nuggets for another and fish fingers for a third (as I saw a friend do once when our kids were all in junior school).
    However I do think it's just very basic manners if one has invited guests to dinner, to try to think about what they may like to eat and accommodate any likes or dislikes that you know they have. Even if they're only 18 and 19, as our two young men were last night, I don't think they're any less entitled to consideration than if it was our 40-year-old friends coming for dinner? The one I know well hates things like stir-fries, and very vegetabley things, so it would be rather perverse to serve them to him when he is our guest, wouldn't it?
    I also wouldn't force my 11-year-old to eat food she finds too spicy, would you? Some people on here have held up their own (no doubt excellent) mothers' examples of saying "You'll eat what you're given" but in those days it was probably not usual for the offering to be something very spicy.
    Re the 16-year-old not eating red meat, what we mostly do if we have a roast rib of beef or whatever is she just has the vegetables, and is very happy to do so, I wouldn't cook her fish or something special, but I also wouldn't serve something like a beef stew (i.e. a meal where everything is meaty) because she would then not eat any of the meal, just have bread and salad probably. She's only with us half the time as we share her with her dad - when we want very meaty food we have it when she's not here. Seems perfectly reasonable to me!
    And, well, my husband would love to not be allergic to milk, but he is. Nuisance as it is, it's worse for him than it is for me and if he does take a risk (which he does in restaurants etc when it's unavoidable) his eczema is bad for the next few days, so we make it a rule to keep everything he eats at home dairy-free, which has drastically cut down on the amount of steroid creams he needs.
    In the end we had the risotto (I bought extra ingredients and made double) and some baked chicken pieces and butternut squash and rocket salad. The vegetable-refuser dealt manfully with the risotto (wasn't very vegetabley and I reasoned they're kind of pizza vegetables anyway so he'd be OK with them) and had about 5 pieces of chicken but refused the butternut and the salad (even though we had a bowl that was left undressed to accommodate him!), the parmesan was added to the risotto on the plate to accommodate the dairy allergy, the young Chinese man seemed to eat everything with no trouble, and we had a lovely evening!
  10. bizent

    bizent Star commenter

    Eeek!! Rustybug, it wasn't my intention to question your parenting skills!! [​IMG] It was a joke as your OP sounded as if you literally had to provide for each individual guest that was coming to dinner.
    I'm glad you had a pleasant evening and that everyone was catered for. In OFSTED terms your dinner was Outstanding!
    *backs away reminding self that things aren't always funny when written down*

    PS - I am one of the fussiest eaters so can I come to your house for my dinner from now on?
  11. Bizent - I wasn't offended! Just, I came on to present an (I thought!) interesting gastronomic conundrum and it started turning into a sort of "why do you spoil your brats so?" thread with people popping up saying I should tell them to like it or lump it.
    I also forgot to reply to lilac's suggestion - husband doesn't like jacket spuds, and nor does the 11-year-old. She will eat them, though!!
    I do despair sometimes. I think the hardest thing is the dairy allergy and I do feel like telling him that given that his presence at the table severely limits our options as it is, his likes and dislikes (like jacket spuds) should be ignored as outrageous luxuries and he should jolly well like it or lump it!
    I used to love cooking, and liked nothing more than leafing through a recipe book, and shopping for and cooking something new, but that pleasure is all gone for me now. The latest Jamie Oliver cookbook has about 2 recipes suitable for our whole family (and even then you'd have to substitute the lovely bubbly tasty butter for a minging dairy-free margarine!). I used to even want to be a cook or a chef of some sort as a career.
    Used to be sausages and mash was a firm reliable weekly fave that could be dressed up or produced quickly (with a few veggie ones out of the freezer for the middle child), but all the health scares about sausages lately tore the ar5e out of that too.
  12. PPS, what are your fussinesses, then?
  13. lapinrose

    lapinrose Lead commenter

    I use Donald Russell sausages, not heard of any health scares about sausages though.
  14. Apparently regular consumption significantly increases your chances of bowel cancer. If you have sausages and mash once a week because it's a reliable favourite that does for everyone, and every 2 weeks or so (maybe even every week!) you have a brunch that may involve a sausage or 2, that's regular consumption. Our 11 year old has been having them regularly for most of her life (always organic ones, but that's not the point with the bowel cancer risk, I believe?) and she needs a healthy bowel for another good 70 years or more!! So we've stopped buying them for the time being.
  15. nick909

    nick909 Star commenter

    I'm of the firm opinion that this has been completely overplayed.
    I'd imagine that they sampled people who developed cancer and found that the incidence increased with people who ate a lot of sausages.
    I'd also imagine that the majority of these people are obese and eat little in the way of vegetables.
    You might as well also survey these people and find out if they watch Jeremy Kyle. Given that there's probably a higher incidence of Jeremy Kyle watching among obese people, you could also claim that Jeremy Kyle gives you bowel cancer. Although, to be fair, he is a pain in the ****.
    An unhealthy diet, with loads of meat and processed carbs and very little in the way of fresh fruit and veg and no exercise may well increase your chances of developing bowel cancer. Eating a few sausages a week almost certainly won't.
  16. I agree because there is a huge spectrum between your value bangers and the ones that come from somewhere like Donald Russell. Unfortunately, because I don't eat pork, I used to get mine from a halal butchers, but I am pretty certain that these are towards the lower end of the quality range, so I have actually stopped buying them. I had felt a bit ambivalent anyway because I want to buy decent meat.
    But back to the point, surely it is 'everything in moderation?' (Something I have never been able to do which you could tell if you could see the size of me!)
  17. I don't think a couple of sausages a week are really something to worry about (well, I am not worrying!).
    I do think it is worth buying good quality sausages, with a high meat content and not a load of floor scraps and water.
    I have to defend the sausage - I live in sausage land!
    P.S. Rusty, I didn't mean to offend either. I think it is lovely that you take the time to think about what you are offering, and dealing with allergies is always a challenge.
    Basically, I am just a lazy moo and do anything to avoid having to accomadate for too many different tastes ;o)
  18. bizent

    bizent Star commenter

    Very silly...
    Peppers have to be raw. I can't eat them if they are cooked in something (lasagne etc). Green peppers have no place in the food world.
    Onions again fine raw but if cooked then they need to be finely diced or grated.
    Mushrooms - no way!
    Tomatoes - [​IMG] - as my Welsh colleague says "ych a fi!". Evil red things that can p*ss off out of it.
    I wont eat chicken on the bone - ugh!
    Broccolli - ugh! Swede - ugh!
    Also, whoever came up with Ratatouille as an acceptable food stuff needs their head examining!
    Oh and fruit in puddings??!! 'Ave a word!! Puddings need to be spongey cakes with custard or ice cream sundaes with chocolate fudge sauce....sigh....

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