thoughts and things

Dinner Time Showdown

When I get home from work, I always have that dreaded question in my head, and like clockwork, the question will be asked. It’s one of life’s mysteries, and one we all ponder on a daily basis.

Question: What’s for dinner? 

Answer: I don’t know what’s for dinner. 

Why am I the gatekeeper of the fridge? The only one who can dictate what we are having for dinner tonight?

Why is it my job?

Meal planning is a great idea. In principle. However, I can’t help but feel a contestant on masterchef being given a box of mystery ingredients to cook with (such as pasta, tinned peaches, chopped tomatoes, half a knobbly courgette, 5 day old hummous and a slightly soft onion) most nights.

Or, I plan meals and then find out someone else has eaten one of the essential ingredients.

OR, I spend hours cooking something amazing  and exciting and then NOBODY LIKES IT apart from me.

OR, I run out of all energy and end up chewing on a piece of celery* all evening.

The rage boils up inside and I feel like throwing the lot on the floor snd screaming ‘Well YOU make something then!’

The worst comments for others to make at dinner time, and cause possible rage are:

“I don’t like this”

“I wanted chilli not curry!” (or whatever it is, when you didn’t say that) 

“My mum made this much nicer”

“It’s a bit well done”

“I’m a bit fed up of broccoli”

“It’s too watery”

“What is this?”

“I was going to eat it but I’ve just ordered a Dominos”

or, my favourite: “It’s alright”

(what, pray tell, does “alright” mean? is it good or bad? is it mediocre? is it just something you say when your manic over heated partner has thrown a plate of food at you?!)

Well, I’ve started to fight back. I tell people it’s their turn to cook. I decided it’s time they have to think, use their brain, and chop vegetables (apart from my partner who tells me he can’t chop vegetables?!) and devise a meal suitable for everyone as soon as they walk through the door.

This experiment has resulted in:


– nothing being cooked 

– pasta, pasta, pasta

-some nice meals cooked by my sister 

– every implement, pot and crockery being used and the kitchen looking like it’s been through the apocalypse 

So to try and prevent scurvy from being reintroduced into my family, I have had to admit defeat, and start actually cooking again. I really want to eat more than pasta. Starting Slimming world has helped my momentum, as now I really do need to cook properly in order to lose weight.

I do have a vague meal plan in my head, and I have plenty of ingredients so that I can hopefully make something quick and easy. I dusted off my clow cooker (again, I am the only one that uses it!) and have made some very nice things in it too, with minimal effort.

So basically, if they don’t like healthy low fat meals, they know what they can do*.

*order a takeaway, ahem.



10 thoughts on “Dinner Time Showdown”

  • God, yes. Been through this. And I must admit, since launching my business I have found it much harder to fit in my meal planning. Which is silly because it would actually be more helpful than ever now that my time is more limited.

    But I learnt long ago that if I don’t cook, we don’t eat … or we eat crap. If I’m just too knackered to cook on any given day, husband’s answer is NEVER to offer to cook himself. It’s always a takeaway. Either that or toast suddenly becomes an acceptable main meal for our children. Not even beans on toast. Just toast.

    Also, the ‘meh’ comments around the dinner table after I have made the effort. Totally with you on that one. Those are the days when I wonder why the hell I didn’t just throw frozen fish fingers at them from a distance, while stuffing a mint Aero in my face. You are not alone!

  • You poor love. That is SLIGHTLY annoying. I’d go bananas if i had to do it every night. Luckily i have a childminder to feed kids 3 days a week, pasta the other nights and Emlyn sorts himself out (not in that way!). My excuse is….ugh gastric band…can’t eat anything *eats huge bag of doritos and tzaziki*

  • YES! Ugh. Just because I am on 5:2 now apparently that means I have to cook EVERY SINGLE DAY! I fast the same two days each week so pray why, is it up to me to decide? Ugh.

  • I feel your pain. When my husband took over as stay at home parent I used to take great delight in asking him this – irritatingly though he always knew!

    What also made me really angry was when he would say ‘I’m happy to cook if you just tell me what we’re having’ I always feel that the deciding is the hardest part!

    Also toast is totally a meal- beans on toast is a banquet!

  • Hi

    Until attending a talk here in Sheffield last year on Hannah Mitchell (Socialist, Suffragette Rebel (1872-1956) I’m ashamed to admit I’d never previously heard of her.

    Inspired by the talk, I did some research about her, in the course of which I came across a copy of her memoirs.

    Within this autobiography are a couple of short paragraphs which I think sum up perfectly the conundrum you’ve been describing, which she calls The Housewife’s Greatest Burden – ‘the tyranny of meals’.

    “Looking back on my life, I feel my greatest enemy has been the cooking stove. My life is a constant round of ‘wash days, cleaning days, cooking and serving meals”

    The ‘tyranny of meals’ she found the greatest burden on the housewife:

    “Her life is bounded on the North by breakfast, South by dinner, East by tea, and on the West by supper, and the most sympathetic man can never be made to understand that meals do not come up through the tablecloth, but have to be planned, bought and cooked”

    Although written about a time more than a century ago, how wonderful a summary (though equally depressing) is that?

  • I hear this!!! This is exactly what I say, in my head, most days/nights! When did it become my sole job?? If I wanted the Hubby to cook I would have to give him several days notice, choose a meal for him to cook, write a shopping list and have everything ready for him. In fairness Ella (age 6 1/2) and Sam (age 3) can’t really be responsible for cooking but they both totally turned their noses up at my Cottage Pie last night despite the fact that they readily eat Nanny’s or the School’s! Geesh! 😉

    Karin xx

  • I feel your pain! My husband goes to the shop sometimes to buy dinner (if I haven’t got anything out of the freezer or can’t be bothered to ‘create’ anythng). He won’t walk out the door though until I’ve told him exactly what to buy. It drives me insane. Why can’t he decide when he gets there? If I don’t cook we end up eating shreddies. Woe is me!

  • I am lucky, Mr F is happy to share cooking duties but… it seems to be my sole responsibility to buy the food!

  • The thing is when you’re a one parent household it is all down to YOU; sourcing the food, preparing the food, cooking the food, serving the food, (boys will lay and clear table thankfully), washing up or loading the dishwasher, chucking the uneaten wasted food in the revolting recycling thingy – makes me exhausted just thinking about it. Easter Holidays are approaching so the possibilities for non stop food prep and meal supply will be endless.

    If we go out it’s the endless making of the sandwiches. If I don’t make another sandwich (no butter for both mine which is why we can NEVER pick up a shop bought sandwich….but that’s another grim tale) it will be too soon. Buying meals out involves half of it not being eaten.

    The only thing that gets me through it is wine, chocolate and shouting. One son will only eat horrible fare e.g. fish-fingers, nuggets (and not home-made ones either), the other won’t (he has of late become a gourmet) and will only eat home cooked from scratch meals! My favourite mantra is “I’m not running a [add your own expletive]” café here”.

    I am going to change my name to Hannah Mitchell by deed poll and will be teaching my sons to cook as soon as humanly and safely possible (though teaching the one with Dyspraxia will be a challenge).

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