Sunday, 19 January 2014

feeding the hungry

One of my biggest chores is cooking dinners that everybody eats. Luckily I share it with Richard, he loves cooking and I think he prefers his dishes to mine (something he denies!)... However, since I am not working at the moment I do most of the chores. If have this weird sense of having to earn my keep just now.  

I like to be organised and usually note on the shopping list what I want to cook, adding the ingredients we need to the list as I go along. Unfortunately this doesn't necessarily work out: Richard frequently does the shopping and he prefers to shop with his eyes and with what's on offer in mind. This is good but doesn't work if I do the cooking...

So what do you feed a relatively fussy crowd? Not all of us are fussy. I am, but I am the cook so this doesn't count. I tend to eat whatever is on the table even if I don't particularly like the food but I don't eat lamb (the smell makes me sick). Sam is very fussy although he tolerates and grudgingly eats most foods except courgettes, mushrooms, cooked egg, melon, avocado and savoury creamy stuff (I am sure there are more foods but they escape my memory just now). James is unpredictably fussy and sometimes makes himself gag. Alistair is a terrible eater all round but not too bothered about what is on his plate. He usually starts eating when most have finished. Annie is a pleasure to feed as long as it isn't carrots. Richard eats everything but is not a fan of pasta or much other carb based food like pizza. If he is on his own, he mainly eats lamb, cabbage and spinach.

I know how difficult it can be to eat a food that I don't like, it just spoils the rest of the meal. We tend not to force any of the kids to eat what they really really don't like. No harm asking them to re evaluate their dislike from time to time though. If they choose not to eat a food, they won't starve and only rarely is there an alternative and only if it is convenient. This week for example I cooked courgette-spaghetti with pesto. Sam hates courgettes so he got the leftover pesto and some green beans that I cooked in the pasta water.

We tend to cook fresh and from scratch most days but there are days when I can't be bothered or when I am too tired. Ikea meatballs are great for such days, or fish fingers.

So here is what we ate last week:

Richard cooked the kedgeree. Sam and Annie are both good cooks and like to help or cook on their own. Annie cooked most of the chilli this week for example. Unfortunately the kitchen looks like a landfill when they do cook. How they manage to get the pancake mix on the ceiling remains a mystery, as does the need for four saucepans if they cook spaghetti with tomato sauce... I can feel a rant coming and better stop here.

It never ends, doesn't it? Today I did the shopping whilst James was at a birthday party at a softplay centre next to Lidl. I didn't know it was possible to do a weekly shop at Lidl, and cheaply, too. Having said that, I still have to get Puy lentils and salmon. On the menu for next week are butternut squash curry, minestrone, satay chicken, salmon and lentils, Hungarian stew and pizza. If all goes to plan that is.

To a happy week of cooking! Christina x

15 comments:

  1. I loved Lidl when I was living in London. I love baking but am a bit of a reluctant cook. Mr H is way better than me, and I have learnt so much from him. I am trying to be more adventurous with my cooking this year and so far have been enjoying cooking the evening meals. No one is missing my "magical, mystery mince Monday though.......xo

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    1. mystery mince Monday does sound ominous :-)

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  2. We are so similar Christina, I could have written a lot of this post myself! My husband and I are not at all fussy (although he won't eat cooked vegetables so I guess he is a bit!) Our eldest will eat most things as he gets so hungry, he doesn't always like it but rarely complains. The middle one say he dislikes almost everything I cook although I think he may be just awkward; and my youngest is quite fussy all round.
    By the looks of it though you get them to eat more of their 5-a-day than I manage!
    We have a Lidl but it's not too close, I really ought to give it a try though, I'm keen to save money!

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    1. I am sure Sam never gets his five a day.... but I try. I spent a surprising £53 pounds on my weekly shop (minus the salmon and puy lentils, which Lidl didn't stock). I have two Lidls within a 3 mile radius, a bit of an overkill I guess but I will be back. I think it is not just the food that makes us similar, we seem to have a compatible view of parenting, too. I have been enjoying your posts a lot. Cx

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  3. Your post has reminded me of how time consuming, and sometimes exhausting, cooking for a large family can be. I was very fortunate though in that none of my kids were picky eaters. We always said it was because if they hesitated for a moment trying to decide if they wanted something the food would be gone before they could put it on their plate! :-)

    I had a very wise friend who had picky eaters, and she let each of them pick three things they really, really disliked. If she made one of the things on the list, that child could have something else. But they all knew that if they were served something that wasn't on their "most hated" list they wouldn't be offered an alternative. It seemed to work.

    Good luck feeding your family. It is a huge job!

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    1. Someday I'll be glad to have them all back for a meal! I might try your friends approach although with four kids there might be very little left that all like.... Thanks for the suggestion. Cx

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  4. Loved reading this, Christina! your pics are gorgeous and your meals look delicious. I love anything served in wide white soup plates for s start. I love cooking but always getting routine meals on the table sometimes gets me down I have to say! H loves cooking also but as you've found, the kitchen looks like a bomb site afterwards & I have to be feeling strong to let him have free rein! He eats most things though unless it has any affiliation to cheese sauce which is a shame because I love the stuff! Hey ho! E x

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    1. Routine cooking is a bit dull sometimes, especially because we tend to sick to the same old favourites (because they work). I have started teaching my lot how to clean, we are getting there but my standards are not quite matching theirs... Love cheese sauce, the cheesier the better! Cx

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  5. I think you're doing just fine feeding your family and I've heard how good Lidl and Aldi can be for a good value shopping trip, though my shopping habits have never ventured to either as yet. Your weekly meals are varied and full of fresh ingredients and I say well done you. The family all help in preparing the food, another big tick (even if it is more messy) In my home there is just myself and my boyfriend and we both work full time, we don't plan meals in advance but tend to stick to old favourites. I like to get more involved in cooking something when I have time off and Sunday meals are almost always a roast that we both help to prepare.

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    1. Personally, I favour Waitrose but I guess with a big family on only one earner (but I have a job interview next week!!), Lidl is better value just now. Yes, I suppose we are doing ok food wise, we have fresh food most days. Funny enough, the kids complain about not having enough ready meals.... I miss the days of unplanned dinners but one day, it will be just the two of us and we'll no doubt go back to our old habits of shopping on the day, or going out for a meal.

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  6. I enjoyed this post so much. I also plan my meals a week at a time, and my attitudes toward children's eating habits are the same as yours. Mine really aren't very picky, but they both have their pet refusals. I usually require that they taste each thing on the plate once, and if they don't like it, they don't have to eat it. But I rarely, if ever, offer substitutes. It's too much work and they'll never try anything new that way. I love seeing what you cook because some of it is so different from what I make, particularly the kedgeree. I've seen it before, in cookbooks, but have never eaten or cooked it. I think my equivalent dish would be bacon-and-egg fried rice. Tonight it might be pancakes since I've been home with sickies all day and I'm tired. I was going to make a veggie soup from scratch but I don't think I have it in me at this point.

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    1. I hope your two wee ones are better by now. Bacon and egg fried rice sounds delicious, I might give this a try next week. Kedgeree is very good with smoked haddock if this is a fish you can find in Albuquerque. Cx

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  7. It doesn't get any easier the older they get. I still have a 21 year old who will barely touch vegetables. I resorted to grating carrot into the shepherd's pie at the weekend!

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    1. Hi Gina. I hope my fussy one will move out at the age of 18! I cook a lot of hidden vegetables, too but haven't tried the carrot in the shepherd's pie yet. Good idea! Thanks for stopping by. Cx

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  8. We really need to plan our meals more. We end putting stuff in the freezer (as we don't fancy it and the use by date is approaching) and then uncovering it months later with frostbite! My eldest has only just started rejecting certain veg after enjoying it up to this point. I'm still at the stage where I can say "This is Cinderella's/Rapunzel's/Belle's/insert princess name here favourite meal!!" - I'm not sure how much longer I have. Good luck with the interview...I have things crossed for you!!

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