As I was cooking dinner yesterday I quickly grabbed my camera because I decided I wanted to share this particular meal with you. I had two reasons for this and they can both be summed up by this sentiment; I worry that sometimes when I share our meals and send messages about healthy eating, I might come off as “and then this gorgeous meal was served to my perfect family and everyone ate every single bite because we’re soooo lovely and healthy I am a perfect MotherChef.
Really? It’s mostly two out of three kids taking exactly the minimum amount of bites they’re required and me trying not to yell and scream at them. Yes, we have nice family dinners, now. But that is because I let go long ago of the notion that my kids would all clean their plates and like everything I cook. I cook almost every night. I try new things. I experiment and then I do everything I can NOT to seek validation from my children because they will almost certainly not give it. We have a rule that there is no crying or whining in my kitchen because it hurts my feelings. Other than that, they can make all the faces they want. Which they do. Often. And I do not take it personally.(Mostly.)
Also, RARELY do things look like I think they are going to. I’ve learned a few things about taking pictures of food and THAT is why our family dinners look so nice here on this page. They often taste just fine, but they don’t often look like the pages of the cookbook I found them in-even if they appear that way on this blog.
Case in point: Saturday night I wanted to make this
This is the picture from the book Cooking for Isaiah, Gluten Free & Dairy Free Recipes for Easy, Delicious meals by Silvana Nardone. (I’ll write more about why I’m using this book another day.) The recipe is Hash Brown Belgian Waffles with Apple Sausage and Fried Eggs. I figured my husband would love it and the kids would get a kick out of waffle shaped potatoes. Also, breakfast for dinner is always a winner.
Everything started out fine. I shredded the potatoes and put them in the waffle maker.
Then while they cooked I made the sausage. I set the timer but then when I checked on them, they didn’t look like the picture in the book so I kept them in longer.
Long story short, I overcooked them and they NEVER looked like the picture in the book. I almost gave up because they were so bad looking after I managed to scrape them out of the waffle maker. But The Husband convinced me they’d be fine. He was so giddy over this meal that I could have served them in one pile of slop and he would have scarfed them down. So, I plated them but still wasn’t too sure.
Those are mustard greens on the side. Delish! I’ll share later.
As I finished up the sausage and eggs I tried to figure out how I could save this meal. We could just have greens and eggs. We didn’t need the starch. The potatoes were merely for fun right? But, I finally decided to fight my inner critic and roll with the meal as is. I figured, they’ll complain anyway (see above) so why not just serve and be done. Here’s what we were left with:
The kids loved the eggs. (I hardboiled theirs because I knew they’d eat them that way.) Two out of three liked the sausage and they tolerated the greens. They each commented on the waffle/potatoes and ate some but admittedly they were burnt in places so I couldn’t expect much more. The Husband? He scarfed down his entire plate and then proceeded to clear the plate of everyone else at the table.
All in all, I’d call the meal a success. Did I have to cajole them to eat the vegetable? Yes. Did it come out as beautifully as the picture and garner rave reviews and raucous applause? No. But they did get a healthy(ish) meal and all was not lost.
Just to review, things are never perfect here. In fact, they are far from it, but I try not to let that ruin a meal. And that’s the message I’m trying to send.
*This post was originally posted on The Right Hand Mom. Cristie’s parenting blog.