I just had the most amazing lunch. All by myself.
I mention this, because as I was enjoying it - savoring it, even - I thought about how different that lunch would've been if I'd prepared it for my family.
First, the food: I sauteed about 1/4 of a thinly sliced vidalia and a thinly sliced cored apple. Then I used that mixture to make a sandwich with brie and whole wheat bread (we swear by Daily Bread - a local bakery. Our whole wheat bread is comprised of stone ground whole wheat flour, water, molasses, yeast and salt. Try to find an ingredient list THAT simple in the grocery store...) I lightly grilled that sandwich to melt the cheese and served it with a side of whole cranberry sauce.
This is how I imagine the same meal going if I'd served it to my family:
Tom: Can I have one without onions?
Lea: Oh, GROSS! Onions and apples? GAWD, Mom! And what is up with the cranberries? When you said we'd be having cranberries I thought we'd have those good sliced ones like Memaw makes. (Note to you, gentle reader: You know, the jellied ones that slide out of the jar with a sickening "thawonk".) This looks gross. It looks like puke.
Tom: Don't talk to your mother that way!
Liv: I'll try it, but it doesn't look too good.
Lea: I'm not gonna try it. (Pushes it across the table. Begins to cry.)
Tom: No cranberries for me. Do we have chips?
Lea: Can't you ever just make a normal grilled cheese sandwich?
Me: You mean with processed cheese food?
Lea: (nodding enthusiastically) Yes! And would it kill you to buy white bread once in a while?
Tom: Don't talk to your mother like that.
Liv: I don't like this. Can I have cereal?
Lea: Don't hog all the milk! I want cereal, too.
Tom: (having dissected sandwich into neat little piles of stuff he won't eat. The chips will be gone.) Thanks, hon. That was great. (He'll have yogurt and maybe a little cereal himself as soon as a respectable amount of time has passed)
And this, my friends (that's me going all McCain on you. I'm Tammy Howard, and I approve of this post), is why I hate cooking, even though I think I'm pretty good at it. This is why on any given day, I'd rather go out to eat than cook for my family.
And this is why a disproportionate amount of my weekly food budget goes to cereal and milk.
I should give up and just give them what they want. But now that Liv has declared herself to be a vegetarian, there is only one meal the whole family agrees upon (Vegetarian taco salad. Our version features Frito's. So, yeah.) We have that about twice a month. Every single other day SOMEone is going to be unhappy with SOMEthing and I am going to be pissy about having gone to the trouble of preparing a meal (with love!) only to be rejected.
Fondue, tonight. Cross your fingers for me.