If there’s one thing I can count on, it’s that my two girls will not like the same food. No matter what I make, if one likes it, the other hates it, and for the exact opposite reason. Especially regarding spices. One likes things spicy hot, the other likes it so bland as to be tasteless. Now, I’ve been on a “cook new food” kick lately, and their opposing tastes just add a new level of complication to the mix. Since I’m not a short-order cook, what I make is what everyone eats. I do try to accommodate their tastes, as well as my husband’s, but what I’ve begun to find is that the key to getting everyone to like the same meal is in the positioning. For example, when my husband calls at the end of the day to tell me he’s on his way home and to ask what’s for dinner, I tell him the basic ingredients—meat, tomato sauce, noodles, etc. I see no reason to tell him specific ingredients that I suspect will just raise his suspicions (did I mention that he’s picky too?). As I’m cooking, my youngest will walk in and take a look at the stove or ask what she smells. Again, I’ll give her the basics—meat, noodles and spice—and leave out the ingredients I know she doesn’t like. That’s the key with her—highlight the spice and her face lights up. Unfortunately, that’s precisely the word that my oldest keys into, resulting in faces, whining and groans. So, then, trying not to miss a beat, I’ll inform her that spice does not necessarily mean spicy, and look, there’s noodles. By the time everyone sits down at the table, they all have their own ideas about what’s for dinner and feel pretty sure that I cooked especially for them. I feel slightly like a car salesperson—this car is PERFECT for you, no matter what your needs are—but everyone sits, tantrums are kept at a minimum, and if I’m lucky, everyone eats at least half of what’s on their plate. I’ll deal with wasted food issues another day!
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