Cooking dinner at home has become an interesting experiment and I’ll tell you why:
My dad wants everything fried, my mom is allergic to wheat, pork, strawberries, carrots, all nuts, and all citrus. Also, refuses to eat anything that is slightly spicy. I of course do not eat grains, dairy, legumes, processed foods, or sugar. Talk about a conflict of interest.
It’s worse than living with a bunch of picky 3 year olds.
So what ends up happening? Luckily, the person with the strictest dietary needs does all of the cooking (that would be me!). I refuse to be a short order cook, but I do have to modify my meals from time to time. Here are our most popular meals and how I modify them:
Stuffed Bell Peppers: There is rice in the hamburger mixture so I just leave the rice out of mine. It’s not too big of a deal.
Fish: My Dad refuses to eat fish if it isn’t fried….which is highly irritating, but I need to keep him somewhat happy. I usually end up oven frying the fish and leaving the breading off of the fish for my mom and myself…so basically he eats fried fish and we eat baked fish.
Fajita night: I saute onions, mushrooms, garlic, and bell peppers with whatever meat I have (steak strips or boneless skinless chicken thighs) add some cumin and it is absolutely delicious. I reduce some black beans in chicken broth with some cumin and garlic powder ( I used to love these and I miss them dearly). I put this out with flour and corn tortillas, rice, and all of the fixin’s. So I just end up eating the meat with the sauteed veggies, tomatoes, and lettuce, but both of my parents can eat everything I put on the table.
A Roasted Chicken: We can all eat this and it is absolutely delicious.
My general rule is that I serve a meat with two vegetables and always have fresh fruit on the table. It used to be a requirement that we have some sort of potato or bread with every meal and every now and then I will still serve it to them as a special treat. It is extremely important to me that everyone who sits at the table can eat a balanced meal from the selections at the table, and yes, that means more time spent in thought and preparation.
That Roasted Asparagus I have at the top of the post? I have to serve the lemon zest on the side, because of my mom’s citrus allergy. Where there is a will, there is a way!
Children. I have a 3 year old niece and I watch her often, so I also have to consider what she likes to eat. This is actually easy. If she helps me cook dinner, she is proud and will eat whatever is on the table. She also knows that Aunt KK (that’s what she calls me) will not let her eat junk and has accepted this fact. She is very conditioned to eat what we eat and does not make a fuss. Maybe I got lucky, or maybe I did something right, either way I have no issues with her being picky. It takes A LOT of patience to cook with a 3 year old, I’m sure a lot of you know this, but you have to find a task that they can complete; it is excellent for their self esteem. A child with a great self esteem, makes a happy adult.
Once you get the hang of it, your thought process becomes automatic when cooking. Your mind will automatically eliminate foods that your family can not eat and preparing dinner will become as easy as it ever was.
Food allergies and gluten intolerances have really become prevalent in the past few years and you may find yourself frustrated when a family member has a special food need. Don’t let this discourage you! When one door closes another door opens. You will go out into the world and find delicious foods that you may not have found otherwise!
When my mom was diagnosed with all of her food allergies, she thought she had to live a life of eating chicken, potatoes, and rice. It’s not true! Don’t be depressed by a food allergy, get adventerous and find new foods that you love that you can add to your diet. The world is full of foods to try, don’t get stuck in a rut!
Now, you will fail. Your family will hate some meals you cook, but that just comes with experimentation. What if Edison had given up after his first failure? There is an amazing world past the failure, that you have to explore. Don’t be afraid to try.
Health and Happiness,