The 3 Words I Dread: What’s For Dinner?

October 22, 2012 in Parenting

This is the typical dialogue in my house, usually between me, and my oldest dude:

“Mom, we have no food in the house. I’m starving!”

“What are you talking about?  I just went to the grocery store yesterday!”

After my third son was born, my mother-in-law warned me.  She raised 5 boys and 1 girl so she knew what was coming. She told me I’d have to grocery shop all the time AND learn to cook for all these boys. Nooooooo!!!  That was NOT what I wanted to hear.

I hate to cook.  I hate it more than anything else – more than peanut butter, more than doing laundry, more than going to the gynecologist, more than getting a bikini wax.  You get the picture. Every year for the holidays, I put one thing on my wish list:  a live-in chef.  Well, that wish has not been granted yet, so I’ve had to try to improvise.  Here’s how it’s been going:

For the first 7-8 years of providing food for my boys, it went fine. No need to cook a real meal as macaroni and cheese and chicken nuggets provided enough calories for my kids. I’d cut up a little fruit or try to sneak in some veggies and they were good to go. Ha, I thought smugly, my mother-in-law was wrong.  Who needs to cook when you can provide a meal from a box or nuke a tray of frozen nuggets? Nobody complained.  I had food on the table in 10 minutes for three kids.  My husband and I could eat cereal or leftover Chinese food and we’d be all set for the night.  Until one day, that scenario vanished – poof!  Sorry, no more easy meal times for you OhBoyMom!


I soon had boys who were actually hungry, really hungry and who craved protein found in food like steak and real chicken (meaning not the processed chicken found in those nuggets).  Well, I was not willing to surrender yet.  I went to Plan B.

Plan B was buying pre-made meals that I could easily heat up. Fully cooked chicken parmesan or lasagna. I’ll admit this is not a budget-conscious option, but it is a sanity-saver.  I figured the boys would be fine with this because after all, it’s food.  So what if someone else pre-made it?

Well, sometimes this option worked but other times I’d hear, “Yuck, this tastes like cardboard!” Or, “Mom, how old is this chicken? I can’t chew it.”


“How about grilled cheese or a hot dog for dinner?” I’d offer.

“That’s not dinner,” I’d hear, “that’s a snack!”

I knew from that point on, I was screwed.  These boys needed sustenance and they seemed to want me to cook it.  I bid a teary adieu to the Kraft macaroni boxes as I put them back in the cupboard, and I got to work.  I pulled out recipe books, I went on, I did my homework. Don’t be misled, I did not turn into the next Rachel Ray, but I did find some easy, weekday meals that even I was capable of preparing. Do I still hate cooking more than having a root canal?

Oh, I most certainly do.  But, at least I now have three well-fed boys on most nights.  On other nights, when we order pizza or Chinese food, they are still well-fed boys and I am one happy mama.  And if anyone is interested in cooking for our household, please apply below.  No experience necessary.  As long as you are doing the cooking rather than me, you’ve got the job.


{ 37 comments… read them below or add one }

Jennifer October 22, 2012 at 11:52 am

Stopping by from the monday mingle blog hop. Love your blog. Lets connect on facebook too.


ohboymom October 22, 2012 at 1:00 pm

Thanks Jennifer — will stop by your blog too and connect on FB too! Thx for the “mingle!”


Janine Huldie October 22, 2012 at 5:22 pm

Oh I am the opposite and love to cook, but I hate the cleanup and the constant interruptions now when I am trying to cook a descent meal. Plus my girls eat like birds and would rather prefer the chicken nuggets or cheese quesadillas. Loved your blog today though, because I could totally relate to constant complaints and interruptions, too lol :)


ohboymom October 22, 2012 at 5:57 pm

Thanks Janine. You’re right, I didn’t even mention all the interruptions when I actually DO attempt to cook. It’s not a pretty combinations: hating to cook, plus having the complaints and interruptions — ugh!!


Amy October 22, 2012 at 6:08 pm

Lol! I hate having to make dinner so often as well. Maybe once or twice a week would be fine! I have three girls though, so it’s definitely not as difficult as it is for you. :) Very funny post!


ohboymom October 22, 2012 at 6:30 pm

Thanks Amy. I agree, once or twice a week I could handle – maybe:)


Kelly October 22, 2012 at 6:19 pm

Ok ok! Yep! I have some help for you my friend…..and very cool! Now I know what to blog about next! Lol

Cooking was not my forte 24 years ago when my first was born. Now I’ve got an ex husband under my belt and a second one with two more kids…and I can cook! Hahaha


ohboymom October 22, 2012 at 6:29 pm

Great — I can’t wait to read your next blog now!! Glad I could help motivate you.:)


Kate Hall October 22, 2012 at 8:08 pm

LOL! That was funny. I used to really enjoy cooking, but now that I’ve taken up writing, it’s become another chore I have to deal with everyday at 5 pm.


ohboymom October 22, 2012 at 10:55 pm

Kate – Chore is correct! My problem is a lot of times I don’t even think about what I’m going to make until 6pm…not a good idea with 3 hungry boys breathing down my neck!


Deanna Wiseburn October 22, 2012 at 8:19 pm

I’ll make you a deal, you provide the food, and clean up the mess when I am done, and I will cook. 😉 I just hate the clean up. I’ll even bake.

I’m visiting from the mingle. :)


ohboymom October 22, 2012 at 10:54 pm

Deanna, You’ve got a deal!!! And thx for visiting from mingle…going to check out your site too now!


Grown and Flown October 22, 2012 at 9:54 pm

Oh my you live in my house. Three boys, always hungry and the only time they think there is enough food in the house is when I am actually unloading the groceries. They eat the food as I am unloading it and when all three were home I shopped almost every single day. I knew when I had a third son in four years that we would have a period like this but I could never have imagined quite how much teenage boys can eat. I am still laughing.


ohboymom October 22, 2012 at 10:53 pm

Oh, so good to hear from someone else who has lived my life! So true about unloading the groceries — the boys eat as I’m unpacking them! Thanks for letting me know this is actually normal! :)


Cyndi October 22, 2012 at 9:57 pm

Hahaha…yeesh. Okay, so I didn’t like cooking at all growing up: I totally associated it with domestic servitude. My attitude changed, however, when my hubby’s version of cooking is twice-baked potatoes from the package and freezer-fried chicken, like everyday. BLAH! My mom went to cooking school and cooked all the time for us kids and my taste buds would not assimilate to processed food. Now, I love to cook because I explore weird things like tofu and other things – and I try to keep it pretty simple. :) That’s my secret: keeping it as fresh and simple as possible. Kudos to you! You’ll be a Rachel Ray in no time. Hehe.


ohboymom October 22, 2012 at 10:51 pm

Aah, so you learned to cook out of necessity too. My husband says he knew he had to do a lot of the cooking once he met me.:) Still, I like your suggestion of simple and fresh…although I think I’m a lost cause.


Michelle October 22, 2012 at 11:29 pm

Difficult to please all the fussy tastebuds! True and thanks, Emily!


ohboymom October 23, 2012 at 12:57 am

Michelle, So true! Even some of my old stand-by meals are now not good enough for them because they don’t “like” it anymore. Aaaahhh!


Audrey Howitt October 22, 2012 at 11:33 pm

Gotta say you have your work cut out for you! Great post!!


ohboymom October 23, 2012 at 12:56 am

Thanks Audrey…only 10 more years until they are all in college.:)


Stacy Harris October 22, 2012 at 11:44 pm

This was so funny. I have a 3 year old boy and he goes through phases where he seems like he never fills up. Luckily – the only thing he eats is peanut butter and jelly – grain group, fruit group, and some protein… not to bad! 😉 But one of these days he is going to make me go into Chef mode because I won’t be able to fill him up! Seriously though, I like to cook. Now, if I could just get someone to buy all the food for me so I could cook whatever I wanted. I love creating different meals and finding the latest and greatest in the cookbooks. But when I look at how much each meal costs because it has 500 ingredients, I start wishing I would have just heated up some good old mac and cheese!


ohboymom October 23, 2012 at 12:55 am

Oh how I long for those days when my kids ate only one thing — makes meal planning sooo easy!:) I do have one kid who eats peanut butter and jelly for lunch every day and that makes me pretty happy b/c you’re right — it’s healthy AND easy!


Julia October 23, 2012 at 12:09 am

Here is one household task I actually like to do. My ingredients behave so much better than my children, and I love the healthy results. Plus we have sensitivities and allergies to work around… Still, I would LOVE my own chef — I’m totally with you on that one!


ohboymom October 23, 2012 at 12:53 am

Thanks Julia..if you ever want to cook over here, you’re more than welcome.:) And you are so right about those well-behaved ingredients!!


Cari Lorine October 23, 2012 at 12:37 am

I actually understand what you mean, Emily. My husband has three kids with his first wife, and they spent the summer with us (right after we got married in May). I’ve known them for five years, but I was never responsible for preparing dinner for all of them. I’ve never found it so hard to please three people. Love those kids, but having three of them makes dinner very difficult! It sounds like you’ve found a way to make it work, so my hat’s off to you!


ohboymom October 23, 2012 at 12:52 am

Thanks Cari — SOME days I make it work. Other days, it’s a total scramble and if all else fails, pizza!


Cari Lorine October 23, 2012 at 1:25 am

Who doesn’t like pizza?! :)


Julie DeNeen October 23, 2012 at 1:00 am

This was great. I love to cook, but I have had kids who look at me and say, “MOM- we don’t want fast food…we want you to cook.” Damnit right?


ohboymom October 23, 2012 at 1:11 am

Yes, right Julie! Why can’t they just live on pizza like I did in college??


Roshni October 23, 2012 at 9:56 pm

I actually need you to post some of these amazing, easy, 5 min (?) recipes!!!


ohboymom October 24, 2012 at 12:18 am

Well, five minutes may be pushing it…they are easy, but not necessarily quick. :( However, maybe I’ll put in a few in a future post. I’ll call it “Easy Recipes That I Hate To Cook.”


Aprille October 24, 2012 at 12:28 am

I’m with you…cooking is not my strong point. I actually don’t mind the act of cooking, it’s all the dirty dishes and mess and putting all that stuff away and leftovers and wiping the table and blah blah blah. I’m exhausted just from MAKING the meal, then I end up having to clean it all up the next day…when he’s hungry all over again! lol

So, even though I only have one boy, and he’s still a toddler…I feel your pain. I did have three brothers, so I know what’s coming!!


ohboymom October 24, 2012 at 12:40 am

Oh yes, with three brothers I’m sure you’ve witnessed the amount of food consumption that goes on…I’m with you on the cleaning up part too, although I always say I’d happily clean up if someone else did all the cooking. Still hoping that happens one of these days…


icescreammama October 24, 2012 at 12:30 am

ha. i’m lucky – my boys – 10, 7 and 4 barely want to eat at this point. So it’s, cereal and milk! eggs and toast! Pasta and butter! add an apple and we’ve got a meal! Love em.
wow, worse than root canal? you really hate cooking.


ohboymom October 24, 2012 at 12:38 am

Oh yeah, definitely worse than root canal. And just wait, pretty soon your ten year old will want a MEAL. When that happens, come my way because I’ve got plenty of easy recipes for you! Thanks for reading!


Melanie October 24, 2012 at 5:24 am

Oh my gosh – now I know what my Mom went through with my brother growing up. And that was ONE boy. Cooking for THREE growing boys…I can’t even begin to imagine, LOL!


ohboymom October 24, 2012 at 2:00 pm

Yeah, it’s ridiculous how much boys can eat…I only wish I had a metabolism like theirs.:)


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