I am in the thick of a perplexing and frustrating predicament that I think most parents can relate to. When it comes to feeding my kids, my time and effort are typically rewarded with looks of suspicion and distaste. It's not like I am serving up liver and roly poly fish heads. I try to make things that are somewhat agreeable to their very particular palates.
The part that kills me is that my first grader is not afraid to expand his gastronomic horizons at school. He is willing to try any and all school lunches made by strangers, but his own mother's cooking? No way. And I am not one of those moms who sneaks pureed beets into brownies or omega 3 fish oil into chocolate malts. I go straight-up with the good stuff.
My four-year-old is the equivalent of a culinary Sybil. One day he will relish in the goodness of mac and cheese with hot dogs. The next he vehemently declares, "I don't like hot dogs!" And then they will be requested a week later. With all this indecision, I may start medicating myself just to get through the grocery store.
Lately ketchup has been requested at every meal, as if drowning their food in it will transform it into something they'll like. When Ferg asked for ketchup to go with a beautiful cut of beef tenderloin that my dad prepared, I think a little part of my dad died. Ferg asked for the Heinz last night when I served up a plate of baked chicken. At first I resisted, but you know what they say about resistance.
And when my kids moan and groan about their dinner, I hand them a box of Honey Nut Cheerios. It's my go-to. I figure they're getting honey, which has something that's good for you in it, I think. Plus I want to keep the honeybees in business. And there are some nuts. They might be Corn Nuts for all I know, but I'm turning a blind (fish) eye.
I buy two giant boxes of this cereal every time I am at Costco, and you practically need a pallet to get them to your car. We rip through these mammoth bags of goodness in no time. As a bonus, I get to feel good about clipping off Box Tops for Schools, which based on the collection I started last fall, I will soon be contributing a whopping $1.60.
So put that in your hairnet and smoke it, lunch lady.
What's your go-to meal substitute? (And if your answer is kale chips dipped in flaxseed-enriched hummus, hooray for you– just please don't respond.)
The Adult Imposter