Not a domestic goddess

I dislike cooking. I used to take a certain satisfaction in planning, preparing and producing a meal, but that was before I was expected to do so several times a day, every day. From talking to friends I don’t believe that my family are unusual in their fussy fads, but they still drive me mad. I derive no satisfaction from feeding the complainers. It is a repetitive chore.

My husband is a connoisseur. When he eats out he prefers to pay for quality over quantity. He looks for taste, presentation and ambience in a restaurant. He will choose carefully and savour each dish. He looks for variety and imaginative flavours presented with care and precision. He never complains about the food that I put in front of him; he knows that, as an adult, if he expressed dissatisfaction then I would expect him to sort himself out. He vacuums up his meal so quickly I wonder if he bothers to taste what is going down. It serves a purpose but is not enjoyed.

My daughter wishes to be a vegetarian but is so selective in the vegetables that she will eat that this is impractical. I cook an even mix of carnivorous and vegetarian dishes each week and all are expected to partake. I will not accept a diet of pizza and pasta dressed basically. Whilst she lives at home she is expected to eat what is put down in front of her. She does so with bad grace.

My elder son wishes to eat meat in large quantities and little else. Like his father, he enjoys flavoursome dishes that offer variety. He has expensive tastes and complains bitterly about the boring food that I cook. Although I offer Indian, Chinese and Italian variations regularly he will still groan each time an English dish is presented. If the vegetables are not drowned in a sauce then he struggles to eat them.

My younger son has never outgrown his love of kiddie food. He dislikes strong flavours, sauces of any kind (other than ketchup!) and flatly refuses to eat stews, soups or salads. He would happily live on burgers, sausages, chips, pasta and pizza. If I place food that he dislikes in front of him then he will pick at it and then declare himself full, rubbing at his face as if exhausted. I know that he will be snacking on junk later.

I adore any food that I have not cooked myself; I find our daily meals tasteless. The time I have spent preparing them, knowing that over half the recipients will either complain or eat without noticing, makes the whole exercise one of necessity rather than enjoyment. I gain no satisfaction from this chore.

Of course I have tried varying our menu, experimenting with dishes in an attempt to find new meals that we can all enjoy. These are met with suspicion and are generally rejected, often unfinished. The individual members of my family have tastes that vary too radically to allow much variation from the rolling fortnightly menu that has evolved from the few successes that I have discovered over the years. Each member of my family looks forward to certain meals and will complain if they do not appear as expected.

I refuse to produce different dishes on a given night. I will vary the menu, allow for preferences and avoid any food stuff that is hated. I will not cook an entirely different meal for each person. I bake less than I once did because of failures being mocked and my skill (or lack) derided. Feedback is noted and action taken; this has led us to the current situation where I find meal production such a chore.

When we first got married, my husband and I would share the cooking. It is now rare for him to help out. I don’t blame him; it is a time consuming and thankless task. Of course, it must be done. As the stay at home mum it is my job to do it; I do not dispute that.

It would be pleasing if, from time to time, someone else did the clearing away and washing up after a meal. That too is my job. Even when I am not at home to eat, rare though this may be, I will return to find the pots and dishes that I left prepared for the family meal sitting around used and unwashed. The dishwasher is my friend; I suspect I am the only one in the house who knows how to use it.

Eating out is such a treat. It can be hard to find a venue that offers a wide enough variety of dishes to satisfy everyone, but it can be done. And how I love being able to savour a meal and then walk away from the resulting debris. Alas the cost makes this impractical too often. Perhaps it is as well to keep it special.

I cook largely from scratch using fresh and healthy ingredients. However much my family may complain, at least I can be satisfied that they are eating well; I have allowed the current situation to develop because I will not compromise on this. I will not use ready meals or takeaways on a regular basis and I insist on the consumption of a variety of vegetables and fruit each day. My children have been brought up to eat what is put in front of them. If their complaints bring me down then I may comfort myself with the fact that at least the food is eaten. Perhaps I expect too much in asking that they do not state their views so bluntly in their own home.

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5 comments on “Not a domestic goddess

  1. I hear you! I haven’t been allowed to eat seafood in years because all 4 of my lot hate it, unless it’s wrapped in a ‘crunchy crumb’!! On my semi-bad days, I do a buffet for lunch and dinner. This means crackers, cheeses, cold meats, fruits, veg sticks and dip and maybe cold pancakes. I had a supremely bad menu day today. The kids, at any rate, got instant mash and spaghetti hoops.
    My soul cries out for a garlic and wine soaked bucket of crustaceans.

    You don’t expect too much at all, but do allow yourself a break. Hub can cook and if he doesn’t want to, he could take the kids to eat while you indulge in some decent fine dining to your heart’s content!

  2. E J Kay says:

    I know exactly what you mean about the dishwasher. My son has perfected putting things near it, but that’s about it. John’s good at filling it up at night though – I think I’m blessed 🙂

  3. I can relate. Although no one actually enjoys my cooking, they never, ever let up in telling me “mommy, I’m hungry.”

  4. […] few months ago I wrote a post about my dislike of cooking (Not a domestic goddess). I am revisiting this theme because, in the last couple of weeks, I have come to realise that […]

  5. […] is write a series of blog posts saying how much I dislike the task and how bad I am at it (see Not a domestic goddess and The making of an incompetent cook). Not that I am now claiming to be competent and skillful. […]

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