Sometimes I feel like a short-order cook in my own house. According to my wife, Lisa, it’s my own fault, and she is probably right. We are in one of those stereotypical situations with a household of young and fussy eaters, each of whom has strong likes and dislikes.
Ellis, who is 11/2, is by a mile the easiest to feed, if the messiest. Half of anything he’s given will end up in his mouth eventually, though sometimes via a trip to the floor or a hand-art session followed by his snuffling it off his tray like a pig onto truffles.
The girls, now 7 and 10, make things tricky, especially at the breakfast-time scramble. Evvy likes her pancakes with chocolate chips; Adelia does not. To one, a grilled cheese seems a fine way to start the day; to the other that idea elicits howls.
Eggs? Well, we have chickens and get five or six eggs a day, and I am afraid the girls are burnt out on them. Cereal? Generally, they won’t touch it unless it’s one of the sugar-laden varieties, which we do not buy. Crepes are okay with everybody, but a pain in the neck when I am racing the clock to get them to school or camp. I usually have a certain anxiety as getting-up time approaches about what they will deign to eat this day.
In our household, I do the cooking. Lisa does not really care to cook, though she can whip up a few good things in a pinch. She is a fan of my cooking when I have time or inclination to make something interesting, but she is equally happy with a couple of yogurts and some fruit or oatmeal, even for dinner. The other factor is that I get up early most days and have time to coffee up before it’s time to fire up the stove.
One hopeful thing that comes from my catering to the girls’ whims is that they are learning how to follow a recipe and basic kitchen techniques, more or less on their own. Adelia, the older one, went through a period in which she was making cupcakes, including fancy marbled ones from a Martha Stewart cookbook. Evvy surprised us on a recent night by making her own sushi rolls with Chinese takeout brown rice and some old nori sheets I had tucked up in the cupboard.
I can foresee a day when they make breakfast for me. I hope.