Monday, December 3, 2012

My Secret to a Happy Life: Pleasing Only One

As head cook, I'm in the process of reinventing our standard meal plan for the week. (Do More, With Less). I found this great, easy Quiche recipe. Now I can slip out of bed on Saturday morning, make a quick Quiche and coffee, and then crawl back into bed for cuddles and Morning Prayer.

I felt pretty excited. Easy French food for seven! Then all the complaints started rolling in. Mimi only likes it when I made it with straight eggs and cream-- no cheese. Alex hates the crust. Hannah prefers pancakes and eggs. I started to problem solve--"well, maybe I'll make two breakfast quiches, one with a crust and one without a crust, etc." Over all the din, my husband loudly proclaims--"I love it! Don't worry about the kids. You're cooking to please only me in this house. Cook it again and again, please!"

It sounded so shocking to hear this job description from my husband. "Cooking to please only him?" Surely part of my job as a Mom is to make healthy food that my kids will actually eat? We talked about it in depth  and I realized that the Holy Spirit (working through Jon) was handing me a ticket out of "crazyville".

I now have five kids. It is impossible to make them food that they will all like, all the time. I will drive myself crazy trying to cater to five distinct tastebuds every day. Moreover, they are kids! Totally fluid, moving targets. One day they hate asparagus, the next they announce it's their favorite food and why didn't I make more? In contrast, my husband "is pleaseable." He's a stable adult. It's possible for me to figure out what he likes at the dinner table and how to cheaply serve it on a regular basis.

Moreover, "pleasing only one" is more holy--because I'm not pleasing myself. For example, I'm lazy on a Saturday and I hate eating a big breakfast early in the morning. If it was up to me, I'd make only toast. However, by gently pushing myself a little bit--I can make up a yummy Quiche in 5 minutes--and then go back to bed while it cooks. (A doable task). But it's not as hard as poaching eggs or flipping pancakes for a hungry crew of seven--which pushes me so far out of my lazy Saturday morning comfort zone that I'm grumpy and irritable for breakfast. (A much harder task, that becomes almost impossible while breastfeeding or pregnant)

Finally, what do I want to model for my kids? Dinner means eating chicken fingers every night? A meal time that is catered only to them? Or do I continue to put delicious meals in front of them and trust that at some point they most likely will change their mind? (Of course, any kid who won't eat is able to go make themselves a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for dinner or brunch, easily.)

I love practicing so concretely in marriage (Pleasing only one, my husband) because it helps me to work on pleasing only one person in all things (Jesus). This Advent Season, that is a workable plan for me!

13 comments:

Made For Another World said...

Wise words! I love pleasing my husband through food!

Sew said...

Love your hubs! :) It's so true and so easy to get distracted at dinner! I need to refocus again serving him dinner and then getting the kid ready. I only have one kid to feed and I swear she is so loud at dinner I shove food in front of her having hubs fend for himself. :) But he is the one that worked all day! :)

Sew said...

Love your hubs! :) It's so true and so easy to get distracted at dinner! I need to refocus again serving him dinner and then getting the kid ready. I only have one kid to feed and I swear she is so loud at dinner I shove food in front of her having hubs fend for himself. :) But he is the one that worked all day! :)

Jen said...

Quiche is yummy :) When the kids are smaller, I do tend to let them graze and eat what they want. I don't make anything too special. Mainly because David had the sensory/texture thing for so long, it was a battle I didn't want to fight. But we do a lot of oatmeal during the week and yeah, I make what my husband likes. He could care less if the kids like it too. ;) I do find when they get older they get out of the picky stage, at least as long as we don't cater to their whims and just say, "This is what you're having".

Amber said...

I have a pet theory that by catering to the whims of my children's taste buds, I make them more picky and more likely to balk at whatever is put before them. We have a policy where we just shrug and say, "well, this is what we are having" and I think about 95% of the time they end up eating it happily and commenting on how good it is. The only day where kids get to totally pick the food is on their birthday. As my kids get older, they will be given a day when they are in charge of dinner and get to pick and make the meal (with help, at first!). We started this over the summer with our 10 year old and it is going fairly well.

As far as catering to my husband, this is something I started doing several years ago... But it was so hard to get him to let me know what he likes! It took seven years for him to tell me he doesn't like peas! I actually asked him to plan weekly menus with me for awhile so I could get a better idea for his preferences. Now I ask him to approve the weekly menu and he will occasionally make a meal request.

Karyn said...

i get your point. On the other hand, if I only made what my husband likes, no one would eat any green things aside from salad, or mushrooms, or beans, or....let's just say my husband is pickier than my kids! Fortunately, unlike kids, he's not a complainer and just eats the other stuff.

Meredith said...

Great post, Abigail! I am guilty of catering to the kids' tastes du jour, but at some point, it becomes impossible to please everyone.

Will you share your magic quiche recipe?

Abigail said...

Amber--I thought I was the only one. Imagine, 11 years of marriage and I find out that my husband likes mushrooms on his pizza. I mean how many pizzas have we eaten together--never once did we order mushrooms.

I told him that we have to start ordering things that he likes--because a) we have kids that probably like mushrooms too since they have his DNA and b) even if I don't normally like mushrooms by year 11, I'm looking for variety in my life too.

My spouse turned 40 this year--and its been cool to be "all about him" this year. So far I've been cooking with mushrooms, playing scrabble (which I thought I hated as a kid but now love), and playing tennis (also something I thought I hated while we dated, but now totally love to do with him).

Abigail said...

Easy Quiche recipe shameless cribbed from "All.recipes.com"

Preheat oven to 425

take a single prepared pie crust, put into pie pan, and crimp the edges

dump about 2 cups of shredded cheese in the bottom (think any kind is good, I'm using mozerella)

Take 4 or 5 eggs, beat. Add "stuff" 1/4 teaspoon salt, some pepper, nutmeg (but I'm out, so I'm using cinnamon)

Then add "dairy" supposed to use 1 cup of half and half, I'm using that canned evaporated milk I have left over from pumpkin pies.

Whisk. Dump egg mixture over cheese in pie pan.

Cook at 425 for 15 minutes.
Reduce Temp to 350 degree. Cook 20-25 minutes.

--variations, also added chopped ham slices to the egg mix.

Kim said...

Hi, I came over from Meredith's Tumblr link.

I'm going to take a page from your book and only please my husband from now on. I have the same issues you have where my kids' likes and dislikes are a moving target and it ends up making me hate cooking. But my husband is very easy to please and rarely complains.

Great advice!

L. said...

Ha -- pleasing only one? I cook for our family of five, doing the same, except....the "one" is not my husband, but ME.

Melanie Schreck said...

My husband is a deacon and we have four children including two teenagers. Our schedule is quite busy, but I make sure to fix meals my husband likes when we are all at home. When he is at different meetings, then we plan meals the kids choose.

One thing we done for over eight years is have a weekly date night. If we can't afford to go out, we a special meal at home which we eat in our room. The kids have frozen pizza and can watch a movie. Our policy is if anyone disturbs us for any reason other than major bleeding, everything shuts down and it is immediately time for bed. Needless to say, we are never disturbed. It gives our children a chance to see the importance of our marriage.

jill said...

What a very wise husband you have. Thank him for me please. My 24yo son is currently living with us, and I have found myself cooking more for him...which is not always easy. My husband says he loves everything I make. So I will do that from here on out. And yes, if my son does not like it, he can make peanut butter and jelly sandwich for himself. Which is funny in a way, as my son would only eat them for a time when he was four. His doctor said it was fine, since he would not starve from eating them. Translation: chill out Mom, it is just a phase.

blessings, jill