Saturday, May 17, 2008

In Which I Chastise Ungrateful Grown Children

Today, I must confess, I'm mad at Sue. And not just because she's funnier than me. I'm over that. Really. But, geez, Sue, you're a mom, right? And yet, you're inviting all your readers to make fun of the food their mothers fed them? Maybe you haven't been a mother long enough. Maybe you still entertain the notion that as long as you make healthy, fun meals, your kids will not have any complaints about how you feed them. Right? Am I right? After all, if a kid's unhappy, it's got to be his mother's fault.
Ha, ha, ha, ha! Oh, I slay me.

Well, let me tell you, Sue, just wait. Yeah, that's right...just you wait. There will come a day when you realize that no matter what you feed those darling children, someone will whine and complain. There will come a day when, every single time you put a plate of food in front of one of your children, your stomach will clench up in a knot of anticipatory dread; because you know that within 3.4 seconds, someone is going to be voicing their unhappiness with the menu du jour.

You see, Sue, it's not us (the moms); it's the kids. You can make everyone's favorite breakfast, and someone will be sitting there crying because she didn't get her favorite spoon. You can get them the junkiest cereals known to man, all those cereals both you and I pined for as kids; and they'll complain because it isn't the boring healthy cereals we hated. Do you know why your mom handed you the bag of brown sugar with your Wheaties? Because she wanted y'all to just shut up and eat. That's right. And if giving you early-onset diabetes was the only way she could get you to ingest some fiber, then that's what she was going to do.

And those peanut-butter snacks she made for you? Those sounded pretty good to me! Hey, peanut butter has protein in it, so double points for her! In fact, tell her to send me the recipe, okay?

Seeing as how your mother had nine children, I'm not surprised she locked the refrigerator. Especially since one of those kids (not naming names here, or anything) had a propensity to eat raw hot dogs...I mean, what else could she do? And I'm sure locking the fridge cut down on the between-meals mess in the kitchen. This idea is sounding better and better to me.

As an aside, that raw hot dog incident hit uncomfortably close to home for me. Back when Rachel was going through her toilet-stuffing, stuffed-animal-decapitating phase, Theo went into her room one day and said, "It smells like hot dogs in here."

And I said, "No, it doesn't. Don't be ridiculous. I've had my eye on that child all day." Because I was trafficking pretty heavily in denial at that particular stage of our lives.

But he insisted, "It smells like hot dogs in here." After a brief search, he discovered the half-eaten pack of frankfurters in her desk drawer. But she wasn't the type to just cram a few raw hot dogs in her mouth in a hurry - no sirree! We weren't dealing with just any amateur food thief here. The remaining hot dogs were ensconced on a pretty plastic plate, with a dollop of mustard on the side. With them in the drawer were a knife and a fork and a cloth napkin.

Say what you like, that kid has style.

So I say, if locking the fridge works for you, all you moms out there, then go for it. And if your grown kids later try to accuse you of traumatizing them and giving them bad eating habits, just laugh that sort of hollow laugh all we older moms develop and ignore the ungrateful wretches. Because we all know who traumatized whom.

And, Sue, go apologize to your mother. I don't blame her one bit for waking you up singing "Good Morning To You" when you were a teen. Not one bit.


  1. There was a day that I cooked and baked everything from scratch. And then I had kids. Because of their constant whining I've resorted to box mac & cheese on a regular basis. Now? They have the infinite nerve to come from friends' houses and declare what wonderful things their mothers make FROM SCRATCH!

    Somedays I hope they choke on thier dinner.

  2. Ah, it was so nice to get that off my chest.

    My mom was a terrible cook, and I can't complain about it on MY blog because she reads it. And it would make her cry. Cause she's emo like that. So I have to vent such things on other people's blogs.

  3. I loved both posts. No really, I did. I am not just sucking up to two of the funniest people I read. Although I want to shout "Amen" while reading your post, I am happy to know that desperation and poverty have driven other mothers to be as crazy as I am! meanwhile, over here in India I am enjoying every day of my three year dinner making hiatus. It almost makes everything else worth it!

  4. AnonymousMay 17, 2008

    I am a new reader, brought by Dawn!
    I think you are incredibly funny!!

  5. Kids... well there's a reason I'm still in therapy. And if they have to have therapy when they are older... I'll just tell them that they started it.
    It was so hot last night I served frosted flakes for dinner. Yep! I think I'll call my counselor and make an appointment right away.

  6. I know you say that with LOVE. LOVE AND JEALOUSY because MY HUSBAND DOES THE COOKING around here.


    P.S. My mother thanks you for this post.

  7. Yea, I agree. It's the kids, not the Mom. You know, you can please some of the people some of the time. But you can't please all of the people all of the time. And since kids are people (well, that may be stretching it at times), there's no pleasing them.

    My dear niece, Sue, should apologize to my sister. I just wish Sis had told me about the bungee cord on the fridge. It would have saved some aggravation at my house.

  8. AnonymousMay 17, 2008

    My children would eat peanut butter on crackers for every meal if I let them. If I ever hear complaints about how often I DID let them, I will spend their inheritance on a personal chef. For me. Cause I wiped up A LOT of peanut butter.

  9. This was an undeniably hilarious reply to that OTHER post... I laughed all the way to the kitchen (where my 8 year old son was complaining about not having any "healthy" cereal in the cubpoards) Help me, I'm being traumatized!

  10. Bless you.
    I'm still a casserole fan due to Mom's cooking style. I loved it.
    Oh, and hot dogs aren't raw. just cold. you can eat them right out of the package. trust me. I am not dead yet. Now, after a few days in the desk drawer...not so sure I would go for them anymore.
    I love that child's style though...cloth napkin and all.
    Pax, EJT

  11. More and more often we are having "fend for yourself night" at our house. Then I get to hear "But all we have are fuzzy cucumbers and dried up raisins" to which I respond "Bon apetit!"

  12. What kind of parents are running around out there today? Let me break down the House That Nazis Built, aka, my house growing up.

    You ate what was on your plate. There was no sass, no whining, no complaining. You sat there until it was ALL GONE. I still say it was emotional abuse but now, as an adult, I am the least picky eater I know and will eat anything. I've been to tons of other countries and will even try their food.

    So I guess the House That Nazis Built worked.

  13. At my house the choice options for food are: take it, or leave it. I have 5 kids and you are right. one of them, at some point is going to throw a fit about what is being served. I just give them permission to go to their room, and go without, until they can apologize and eat like a grown up.

  14. Excellent defense! In fact I used to tell the whining girls at the table that the reason we were serving tonight's dinner was that we knew one of them didn't like it. It was they way we were able to manage the food budget. Let the wailing begin!

  15. a newbie dropped on my head in here by Dawn as well...My mother (God rest her weary soul) could screw up a box of mac and cheese among other things. She DID have ONE solitary meal that was heavenly and I have yet to duplicate it. It's probably due to my resistance to dumping a tub of butter into the baking dish. She could make the absolute best chicken and egg noodles. Whatever she did, it was utter gastronomical joy. The mac and cheese however was pure hell. Short story of it? undercooked noodles that were crunchy in the middle AND slimy on the outside, 'cheese' that was greasy and sandy feeling. She used too much butter and NO milk. She apparently lacked the ability to part with 2 entire ounces of milk. I revel in my ability to nourish my family without killing off a single one of them.
    I do however have a rule about meals they don't like. They must try it first. That means bite, chew thoroughly and swallow the food in question. If it fails that test they may have a peanut-butter-no-jelly sandwich.

  16. SC, that's the funniest thing I have read for a long time!
    Thanks, today I needed the laugh.

    I especially enjoyed this part...

    "There will come a day when, every single time you put a plate of food in front of one of your children, your stomach will clench up in a knot of anticipatory dread; because you know that within 3.4 seconds, someone is going to be voicing their unhappiness with the menu du jour."

    It's just so true! I feel that pain daily.
    There is NOTHING that everyone in my family likes.

    Now, whenever I am putting food on the table, I explain to everyone (before they have a chance to complain) that even though they might not like what I have fixed, they are not allowed to say anything about it.
    Of course, that rarely stops them.
    I usually have at least one child crying that I don't love him/her because I only fix food they don't like.
    I have one whose favorite line is "Do you really expect me to eat this?"

    My three year old is by far the pickiest of them all. He refuses to try anything new. Today, we went to a carnival, and I tried to feed him some cotton candy, and he wouldn't have anything to do with it.
    And he wouldn't even taste it!
    I think it was really nice of me to eat it for him.

    Great post

  17. Loved the brown sugar replay by you!

    Where would we be without our mothers giving us Easy Bake Ovens all those years ago?

  18. My mom is a great cook. I love to bake. Hubby has started to buying frozen or store bakery lemon merague pies, as I don't bake as much as I did before I went back to work a few years ago. The last time I made a real lemon merague pie-squeezed the lemons, etc, the kids didn't like it. The ones from the store are sweeter. They still like my apple pies, as hubby knows if the kids like them, I won't make him real ones anymore.

    Hubby also feeds them prepared, throw it in the microwave or oven foods on the 4 nights a week I work. I can't believe they actually like frozen corn dogs and chicken nuggets. They rarely had anything that wasn't made by mom until I started taking college classes 8 years ago.

  19. AnonymousMay 18, 2008

    What is being totally overlooked in Sue's post and this one is the husband involved. I don't doubt Sue has food trauma, with a type-
    A DAD who had lots of food issues and also insisted on: powdered milk, 100% whole wheat (home ground) everything (ever tried to make whole wheat pie crust?), no store-bought cereal, and miscellaneous unadulterated but not-so-tasty products from health food stores, while resisting salads, slurping half-gallons of French Vanilla ice cream every night and Peppridge Farm raspberry turnovers (with more ice cream) whenever the nearest Lucky store had them in stock. And he loved nearly raw liver (I shudder at the memory)! It was never a matter of lack of money. He died from a stroke brought on by out-of-control high blood pressure at age 55.

  20. My four year old hates cooked hot dogs. Around here a "cold hot dog." Is a treat.

  21. AnonymousMay 18, 2008

    You crack me up. I've quit fighting and if they want PB&J sandwiches every day until they're 28, well FINE WITH ME!!! (is there a bitter & annoyed font? I'd have used it if there was.)

  22. My mom fed us wheat germ cheesecake made with tofu instead of you know, cream cheese. GACK. And we're not even Californian. I mean, thanks Mom.

  23. farm suite - there ought to be a law against ever trying to pass off tofu as cream cheese. It's culinary sacrilege.

    mom2nine - I still want that peanut-butter snack recipe...

    chronicler - hey, we say that to the kids, too!

    veronica mitchell - you would think that peanut butter and saltines was the nectar and ambrosia of the gods, wouldn't you?

    anonymous - well, then, I think you have incredibly good taste in blogs...

    mrs. smith - does it? Even with the Pepto-Bismol jello?

    karen - they are just all out to get us.

  24. All I can say is my kids are probably going to need therapy for this area of our life.

  25. Oh, I know that moment (those fragile 3.4 seconds) before someone complains about what's on the table. Sometimes it even happens before, while the food is being made.

    And, god help me, just because they like something last week is no guarantee that they won't complain this week. It's a shock to me that more mothers don't spend time in institutions.

    This was awesome.

  26. Is there such thing as a raw hotdog? I thought they always come cooked in those packages.

    This was right on... "Because we all know who traumatized whom."

  27. I was the picky eater in my family- I hated onions. But sister, you didn't voice that because anyone who complained about the food did the dishes. Not rinse and load the dishwasher- Mom always said she didn't need an automatic dishwasher, she already had six! So, if you complained you did the dishes for a family of 8. And Mom never bought prepackaged processed foods- there were plenty of pots and pans to wash too.

  28. I believe that entirely too much fuss is made over food.

  29. Veronica, the best part is that in a few years your kinds will be commenting on a blog like this one about how their mom fed them peanut butter on crackers all the time. and it won't be prefaced by "hey, my mom was co cool"

  30. I cook in the full knowledge (an demonic delight) that my future daughters-in-law will never, ever, live up to the awesomeness that is my cooking.

    Now, if I could just get the kids to understand that my cooking is always awesome, I WILL RULE THE WORLD.

  31. HEY! Azucar stole my comment. LOL. That is E.X.A.C.T.L.Y how I feel.


    What shall we do today, Brain?

    What we do every day, Pinkie......TAKE OVER THE WORLD!

  32. Something magical happens when the kids leave home and have to actually BUY GROCERIES. Suddenly everything you cooked sounds good to them! Seriously, my daughter has called me up at 10pm to ask, "How do I make that taco casserole?"

  33. angela - I'm looking forward to that day...thanks for the perspective!

    molly - I like your mom's methods.

    jennifer h - you and I both know that the only institution we need is mrs. g's Women's Colony.

  34. AnonymousMay 19, 2008

    Here it is, such as it is, the "Chocolate Treat" recipe:
    (Can be doubled, tripled, etc., depending on how strong your chocolate craving is)
    About 1/3 - 1/2 c. powdered sugar
    About 1 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
    Abour 1 tbsp. peanut butter (I prefer chunky)
    Enough water to make a thick "paste" (start with about 2 tsp.)
    All measurements are approximate, and should be adjusted to taste.
    Then pray that your kids don't hold it against you forever!

  35. AnonymousMay 19, 2008

    By the way, Thank You for this post. I do appreciate it. And I love Sue,
    in spite of her lack of appreciation for the delicacies that were proffered in her childhood.

  36. I'm a new poster, brought over from Navel Gazing, linked from my sisters blog.

    Can I just say that my own kids will DEFINITELY need therapy as whenever they come into the kitchen while I'm making dinner (as that is when the crying over what I am making starts in my house) I tell them consistantly that I am making "poop" Honestly, I do. And it makes them cry, every time.

  37. Hilarious! I love it! (followed from Sue's over at Navel Gazing)

  38. When my 16 year old was 6, he would dry heave at the table for about 15 minutes at dinner every night. I dreaded the "what's for dinner question" from him. One evening while trying a split pea soup recipe he came in the kitchen and asked the dreaded question. I responded that he was going to hate it. He wanted to see what it was so I picked him up and let him look in the pan. I expected dry heaves at the very sight. He shocked me by proclaiming "Looks yummy!" I think my reply was something to the effect of..."Are you freaking serious? It looks like a pan of puke and you think THIS looks yummy!" I wanted to bang my head into a wall!! I finally figured out he was doing the dinner behavior to get extra phone time for pep talks from his dad who was deployed in the Army at the time. I still tease him about it though.

  39. Hahahahaha how fricking true is this. The mini-diva aka Miss Picky only likes certain things on certain days and she changes them on whim. I'd make her get her own food, but if I even think about it something catches on fire or explodes- unfortunately I kid you not and that is just a little snippet.

  40. When you have a hungry 14 year old a bungie cord is not going to defeat him. A little unconsciousness would never hurt him. We tried putting a padlock on the lunch meat and cheese drawer. He defeated that by taking a screwdriver and removing the hasp.

    Stopping by for the July Comment Challenge.