Friday, December 10, 2010

What's for dinner?

As far back as I can remember dinner time has always been a time of stressful decision making.  Growing up next door to my Grandma Vivian had lots of perks, including the fact that she would cook dinner for our whole family 3-4 nights a week - but she would always call the night before and ask "what should I make for dinner?"  As a young person I would roll my eyes and wonder why she insisted on calling and demanding our help in planning the menu.  Why couldn't she just make something?

In college dinner time didn't get any easier.  The campus dining hall provided SO MANY options it was hard to decide.  Especially when the options included cheese or frosting. 

Early in my relationship with MG it became clear that dinner time would continue to be an issue.  I can't tell you how many of our evening conversations went around in circles -

Me: What do you want for dinner?
MG: I don't know.  What do you want?
Me: What do we have?
MG: Pickles, bread, raisins, jell-o and sesame seeds
Me:  Well I don't want any of that.
MG: Then what do you want?
Me:  I don't know.  What do you want?

In fact, I blame my weight problem on those many nights of indecision that eventually led to the old standby: Papa Johns.

As if deciding on and making dinner weren't hard enough - we now have the bonus challenge of feeding a baby.  And you can't always fall back on pizza with babies.  They tend to choke on the pepperoni.

It was deceptively easy in the beginning.  I would grab a jar of  orange mush labeled "sweet potatoes and beef" (YUM!), pop the lid and shovel little bite-size blobs into Picklebugs mouth.  But then we made the mistake of letting him taste real food at Thanksgiving - and our laid-back, easy-to-please baby has become a food connoisseur.

Last night I buckled PB into his high chair, snapped on his bib and walked to the pantry to get his dinner.  All the while he's banging his tiny fists on the tray, kicking his feet and smacking his lips in anticipation.  I pop the lid on a fresh jar of vegetable chicken and extended a spoonful of mush - to which Picklebug responded with a loud "BAHP!"  He wrinkled his nose, pursed his lips and defended his little baby mouth with both hands.  When I took the offending glob away from his face he pointed at the fridge with another "BHHAAAP!"

Lucky for me the fridge held more than pickles and raisins.  So Wednesday night's leftover spaghetti allowed me to narrowly escape a food war with a feisty 11 month old. 

But come 6pm tonight I will have to once again come face to face with this hungry little monster - and I'll once again face that ever lingering question: What's for dinner?



  1. Smart boy you've got there Jen - he knows the real stuff is better!

    I've more or less solved the "What's for dinner?" problem by doing a menu plan once a week. I sit down with my recipe book and plan out dinner for the week, make a shopping list, then go shopping based on that. Then when it's time to cook, I already have a plan.

    Also for little ones you can make extra of whatever he likes and freeze it in small portions (ice cube trays) to reheat for meals later if you're having something that he can't eat (like pizza).

  2. So cute! We also menu plan for the week- it makes grocery shopping easier, too! And we just feed Jace whatever we happen to be having, sometimes with modifications. I've found as long as I keep cheese, fruit, and bread on hand I can have a happy baby during dinner time :)

  3. So funny! The good thing is that he will eat most any real food now and like it. It tastes so much better than processed baby food. The bad part is you indicated......coming up with dinner is not as simple as it was before! I like the way Kelly and Greg chose to feed their kids. "Here it it up....or your brother wil1!" I was too nice, so I have Chipcah.