They may expect too much


Yesterday I had to buy dinner whilst doing the school run - 3pm.  Dinner has to hit the table at 5pm.

I bought (on offer) steak and ale flaky pastry pies (2).

SS caught me up in the store after school finished with 'hello, what's for dinner' (normal greeting).  I said pie, he immediately said 'one of your home made ones'.  When I said no he said 'you may as well feed us smash (indicating the smash packets I was standing next to) - he grinned, I assumed he was joking.

I faced three more 'what's for dinners' and every damned time I faced disappointed faces or censure when I admitted it was a bought pie.

Now, bear in mind it was served with four steamed veg (fresh), two roast (fresh) and mashed potatoes.  A starter (basil, tomato and mozzeralla) and a dessert (lemon or chocolate cheesecake with either raspberry ripple ice cream or extra thick double cream).  I even cooked southern fried chicken strips for youngest to have instead of mozzerella.

Afterwards, with my thanks, I got one of those 'Blind Side' moments where it was pointed out I hadn't actually COOKED it, just served stuff 'from the store'.

It was in good humour don't get me wrong.

But I feel a bit slighted to be honest.

Now, is it just my family?  Do yours sneer a bit at shop pies?  Have I created a monster by spoiling them rotten?  And it is unreasonable to just 'serve shop bought food?'

I'd give them the ingredients and tell them to do it if they complain again

I have never made a pie in my life Corris - wouldn't know how to to be honest.

Well, I think you DO spoil them a little bit Corris- i know you want to and cooking and stuff is part of the reason you're taking time out... but I would get very cross with that kind of attitude. I know they are just being thoughtless teens, and I'm sure it WAS good humoured, but really it isn't on.

Do they realise how long it takes even to just 'assemble' a meal like that for 6 people, especially with all the veg prep and all? Do they do it regularly (shop bought) themselves? Do they regularly cook a similar meal 'from scratch'? Sometimes there aren't enough hours in the day, and even if you are Nigella there's a time and a place for shop bought.

Perhaps they need to do it themselves. Perhaps a couple of nights a week, they need to be responsible for food prep- either totally, (from scratch!) or as your sous-chef, doing the veggies and peeling spuds and so on. Once a week won't kill them after all!

I have to agree with EB; you do spoil them, but it's not necessarily a bad thing. 

My mum cooked everything from scratch, so I learned to copy her and do the same. Olly cooks pretty much everything with me and helps prepare dinner most evenings, so fully understands the time and effort it takes to make our meals. Obviously at 6 he wants to help, but I'm hoping that he'll carry on the healthy-eating habits throughout his life and not be a stereotypical helpless male heating beans in a tin can for his lunch when he's 21. But yes, he's a snob already. MIL made us a lasagne one weekend, Olly stood in her kitchen helping as she got the pre-made white sauce out of the cupboard and said "but nanna, why would you use that when home-made bechamel is nicer...mummy says jarred food is crap". And fair play to him, I do say that. And with things like pies, I can understand why they'd sneer at a shop-bought one if they're used to home-made everything. We're like that here. 

Love EB's idea about getting them doing jobs in the kitchen, I think that's definitely the way to go. 

I have learned to let Alex do his share, and not to expect perfection when he does.

For example he makes his school lunch every day... now some of the lunches he makes look, to my eye, revolting. Great big chunks of cheese inside butterless bread (urgh), bread not cut into sandwiches at all but packaged up as rounds, orange juice and then an orange on top because he can't be bothered to make a salad or even look into a few drawers to find an alternative fruit... the list goes on.

I used to make him the most beautiful lunches. Staff at his school used to comment on them, they were all packaged up in a bento-style lunchbox, balanced and varied, and whilst I didn't ever go as far as photographing them (for example) I was often rather smug! I sometimes look at his lunches now and think crikey... I wouldn't eat that, it looks revolting!

But at the end of the day (or rather, the middle of the day) he's had sarnies, fruit/veg and fruit juice, plus a treat sometimes, it's perfectly nutritional and he's done it himself so who am I to criticise? Next year though he's going onto school lunches... and I expect that will resolve itself into him doing one night a week where he does the food prep. he'd better buck his ideas up a little bit presentation wise then, because I am fussy and won't eat anything that looks like his sandwiches often do... hehe.

He's off school today, so I'll make him help with dinner, while I'm thinking about it. Hehe.

Do you always cook for them Corris?
I think we all rely on 'shop bought' sometimes when timing is tight, but it dioesn't mean that there is no effort expended.  Have you ever let them serve three course meal of 'stuff form the store' with accompaniments? It may teach a valuable lesson in  just how much time/effort everything takes!

They do occasionally do dinner for everyone (but not often) - maybe once a week or once a fortnight it's 'make do' and they have to scavenge from the fridge, and one of them may have a rush of blood and make pasta and something for the others, but chances are they have bacon sandwiches or cheese toasties or something, but I don't think it kills them to have make do every so often.

Generally though I cook from scratch, and I make pies and things - today we have 'molly's chicken' in the slow cooker

just because I liked the look of it - we have legs though - and it will come with rice, and home made nan breads (so easy!) - and probably carrots and maybe onion bhajees, I'll see how I feel....

so generally I cook.  every so often we have pizza because they all like it.......... but then I do homemade as often as not.

I was just surpirsed at the attitude.

Ha ha my es would have loved that Corris, I had the total opposite attitude problem with him.

He complained that I always cook from scratch while his friends are allowed to eat microwave meals.  Now es hasnt had microwave meals so doesnt know how minging they are where as my sdd has asked me to show her how to cook as they live off shop bought meals.

I think its lovely that you cook such lovely meals for them Corris... I would be delighted to sit down to that menu (minus the meat pie, obviously) and they clearly appreciate it in the sense that they can tell the difference and prefer yours! I suppose that in itself is a compliment.I don't think Alex would notice or care, which is possibly a testament to my cooking skills- or otherwise!

I think the difference in their cooking is that it's make do or 'easy' stuff, minimal prep. My point was you might get a bit more appreciation if they were to do the sort of thing you do every day. A 'proper' meal, not just a make do, or pasta or toasties or whatever.

I've just cooked... I used a jar of sauce, a packet of Quorn and frozen peas, but it still took half an hour to do the rest- chopped onions, carrots, mushrooms, sautee stuff together and so on. It's currently bubbling and I'm keeping half an ear on it- I'm not counting that as cooking time but I'm still in and out of the kitchen checking, tasting, seasoning, stirring etc. And later on I'll be out to pick, wash and cook the broccoli and cook the pasta, and grate the vegetarian fake parmesan (lol) so I reckon another half an hour. And that's a one course, semi-already-assembled meal for two. Ok four, because I always do doubles. But damn- these things take time!

If they don't really know how much time these things take, they won't appreciate that you do it so often. Of course they might not appreciate it anyway *eyeballs own teenager severely* lol.

I want to go to Corris's for my dinner now.