Future Dinners


Not too long ago on the TU Parent to Parent blog, Tracy said, “I asked my girls what kind of meals they think they’ll cook when they are on their own.”  The answers were a little demoralizing. She suggested that readers ask, too, and report in the comments.

I thought it was an interesting question, so I asked my kids.

J said, “Artichokes, that pork and apple thing we’re making tonight, and Naked Spaghetti.” J remains obsessed with artichokes. Naked Spaghetti is spaghetti with a bit of olive oil & butter, Parmesan & Asiago cheeses, basil, and garlic salt, all to taste.

I loved M’s answer. The first words out of her mouth were, “Not the junky stuff that some people have, like right out of the microwave. I’d make chicken chowder, quesadillas, and ‘Octupus’ because they’re classics and they’re awesome.” I sort of can’t believe that I haven’t shared these recipes already, although “Octopus” is really a flank steak recipe from Cute W’s family. M then proceeded to give me the never-before-shared inside scoop on some inadequacies she had noticed at friends’ houses, including one home where the mama always seems about 400% more with-it and together than me.  So I was feeling like the Rockin’ Excellent Mama.

Of course, then I didn’t comment because it felt too snotty to say, “Wow, my 7-year-old named a vegetable first, and I’m the Best. Mother. Ever.”  I blew it all off and saved it for some night when I was feeling blog-lazy. Like tonight. When I checked the link tonight, I noticed that no one ever commented. That’s so today’s parenting. Either your kids only like to eat crap and you don’t want to admit, or they like vegetables and you don’t want to rub the other mamas noses in it! Talk about damned if you do, damned if you don’t.


  1. Danielle

    My kids are already in bed, but I’ll bet they’d say oatmeal, because they are allowed to make the instant oatmeal themselves in the microwave already, and are oh so proud 🙂

  2. June

    When Alex was in preschool they asked the kids what their favorite food was. Alex replied,”Spaghetti with green sauce.” Now today, everyone would easily be able to figure out that this was pesto, but 10 years ago, the preschool teachers were perplexed and had to ask me what green sauce was at pickup time. It is still one of his favorites. The trick is not to assume your kids won’t like it just because it’s “grown-up” food.
    I’ve also heard about some questionable dinners at other kids’ houses and we are the preferred house for Hannah’s sleepovers; the kids know they will get something good. There. Hate to rub the other mama’s noses in it, but the truth will out.

  3. Matt

    Well, my eight year old eats his vegetables first at the dinner table, often comes home with his school lunch having eaten the healthful stuff and having left whatever little treat I stuck in there for him as dessert, and behind my back does otherworldly things such as refuse soda at friends’ houses (we don’t allow it at our house). My four year old, on the other hand, cries out every time he sees a Dunkin’s from the car, crams in the carbs first at every meal, and steals cookies. (He does, however, have a taste for olives and kale in balsamic, go figure.) Same fascist-organic-parenting applied to both of them, I will confess/brag.

    So I’m going out on a limb and say that it’s the kid as much as the training, when it comes down to it. Obviously we need to mentor the younger boy a lot more than the older.

    When I was in my first “Moms” group with my eldest, dating back to his infancy, our teacher always emphasized laying out a lot of healthful choices and have a very small quantity of “treat” food available at the end if they had made appropriate choices on their own. (And “treat” food isn’t donuts and coke, it’s stuff like grapes with yogurt.) By and large I think this has been a good approach. It’s not like I’m going to lay out Cheetohs for the little guy to have, anyway. But in terms of the I’m-So-Awesome-a-Parent award I’m under few delusions that guidance and control of the supply are going to do more than control what they’re eating in front of me…the healthful habits for life is going to require a lot of support from everywhere.

    As a new transplant from California, too, I’m a little appalled at things like: there’s chocolate milk in the schools (preferred, I am told, by a rate of 10:1 by the kids) and the “nutritionally balanced” meals they offer seem to have a lot of white flour and fried foods on the menus. This is where I’m petrified moving forward about the food choices my kids make. Fortunately my elder guy still wants to take his lunch, at least for now.

  4. Danielle–my kids love oatmeal. One of my pet peeves about my house is that our microwave is built-in, high over the stove. So they can microwave, but it’s not easy.

    June–I feel confident that food at your house is better than just about anyone’s. I find it annoying, b/c both my girls will eat basil leaves straight off a plant, but they turn up their noses at pesto. Argh.

    Matt–I think it’s an age thing, too. My kids have definitely gone through different phases, although the older one is much more anti-junk. One of my proudest moments as a parent was when she smelled McDonald’s fries cooking and thought it smelled gross. I still think they smell delicious, but I love that she doesn’t. The school lunches are pretty awful. Both of my girls are “bringers” with no bought lunches in sight for now (knock on wood).

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