Food Fatigue

army chef

I love food.  I love to cook it, and I love to eat it.  I love to read about it and plan menus.  I love everything about food.

Except cooking when my husband is gone.

My children are relatively typical elementary and middle school kids.  They have thoughts about food.  Thoughts like “Ick” and “I don’t like that.”  We are middle of the road folks when it comes to kids and food.  We don’t force them to eat everything that comes by their plate, but we don’t let them get away with eating whatever they want.  Depending on the actual meal, we might force them to eat a little bit, or refuse their request to get something else.  It is a fluid thing.

One thing that isn’t fluid, however, is how much I dislike cooking for just the kids and me.  My husband appreciates my cooking.  He enjoys eating flavorful food.  He sees the value in trying new recipes.  He is encouraging even when things don’t turn out great.

Not so much with the kids.  And honestly, I’d be just as happy to snack instead of eat dinner.  However, we are strict about that:  we sit down and eat dinner as a family if it is at all possible.  We’re also strict about not always having “kid food” available for our kids.  They need to try new things and learn what they might be surprised that they like.

So here it is, six pm on a Friday, my husband is not expected home, and I’m dreading dinner.  It is my responsibility to prepare something that resembles a meal and put the kids in front of it.  And I don’t want to do it.

Anyone feel like pizza?

About the Author

Kate Horrell
Kate Horrell is a military financial coach, mom of four teens, and Navy spouse. She has a background in taxes and mortgage banking, and a trove of experience helping other military families with their money. Follow her on twitter @realKateHorrell.
  • Brian Pearson

    Nothing wrong with a little pizza now and then. That’s my opinion, and I’m sticken to it. :)

  • “My husband appreciates my cooking. He enjoys eating flavorful food. He sees the value in trying new recipes. He is encouraging even when things don’t turn out great.”

    I was just lamenting this deployment-related lack to my husband in an email this morning. I am having a devil of a time working up the motivation to cook anything remotely elaborate without him here to enjoy the results with me. We don’t have kids (and the cats are only interested in my cooking if it involves chicken, so I don’t have anyone “Ick!”-ing at me, at least.

    I’d vote for pizza tonight — better now than on Super Bowl Sunday, when everyone and their brother will be ordering pizza and you’d be lucky to get it before passing out from hunger.

  • kirsten

    Lucky me, the Groupon for the Chicken Out Family Feast for 4 expires today so guess what we *had* to get for dinner?? And we couldn’t eat it all, so there’s a lunch for the weekend too.

    I love to cook, bake, can, ‘put up’, it is my stress relief. My kids are generally great with eating most of whatever I cook, and taking leftovers to school of their particular favorites. They are also great about eating snacks for dinner when I don’t feel like cooking (apples, cheese, carrots-or-broccoli, popcorn and a movie is a fav). What I miss about having my husband gone is that I have TOO MANY LEFTOVERS! It’s hard to cook a smaller batch of beef stew and we get sick of eating it. For a while my brother was working in town and I’d pawn off all my leftovers on him, but he moved away. I know to make lasagna in a loaf pan (or other less-than-9×13 pan) so that we only get 2 meals out of it. I know to freeze muffins (or make 6 week muffin batter) so that we’ve got a few breakfasts on deck.

    As for pizza-someday consider making your own. Without my husband to share, I make exactly the kind of pizza I want (gorgonzola and caramelized onion? Anchovy and Artichoke Antipasto?) as do the kids (cheese for the one in elementary school, MEAT! for the one in middle school). Pioneer Woman’s got an easy dough recipe that comes together quick (I make mine as I’m cleaning up from dinner) and is better if it’s sat in your fridge for a few days. If, like me, you usually make a pizza on Friday night but discover that you’ve got an expiring Groupon . . .

  • Ellen

    I can relate completely to your e-mail; as I was reading it I thought that you could be writing about our family! We have the same middle-of-the-road attitude about not forcing them to eat, but not cooking special things for each picky eater. At least when my kids were younger they were more than happy to eat cereal for dinner whenever my hubby wasn’t home. Now that most of them are strapping teenagers I can not get by with just cereal for dinner!

  • sheofthesea

    Here’s my encouraging report from post-dinner. No one wanted pizza, so I reheated leftover penne pasta, steamed brocolli and pan sauteed some chicken tenders with a touch of seasoned salt. Everyone ate something, I threw it all together with some fresh grated parmesan, and it was fabulous. The only requests to eat off-menu were some fresh pears – I certainly couldn’t argue with that.____Seems my attitude was the hardest part of dinner :)

  • Dana

    I feel the exact same way! My husband is not home every 5th night for work and so we either have pizza or left overs because in addition to not enjoying cooking when the hubby isn’t home it also is so much more work to cook and be completely responsible for bedtime routines and cleaning the house at night. So my reward…not cooking on those nights! :)

  • DL Sly

    “No one wanted pizza…”

    Is that a new language? I don’t *recognize* that phrase.