Phil and I once went to a couples’ therapist who pointed out that all our fights revolved around dinner. Even if we were fighting about parenting, really the fight was a result of dinner. Because if I was off cooking tomato sauce from scratch, it was keeping me from doing something else like teaching a child to make his bed. If the fight was in the car over the fact that I pointed left when giving directions instead of saying the word “left” because my brain couldn’t think of the word, it was really about how I should’ve used Yelp! to find the restaurant instead of our car’s GPS. All out war and its daily battles were always tied to meals.
This week, I tried again to get Phil on board with my batch cooking plan, where I’d shop once, cook once, and feed us like a badass all week long. “That’s not you,” he said. “Besides, in the history of histories, the kids will actually eat two things of the ten you’ve ever made.” It’s true. No one ever eats what I make. ” Dear reader, he just walked in to say, “Lucas and Abigail need to eat lunch now.”
“So, they can get their asses something to eat. They’re thirteen.”
“Like, what?” he said.
“I dunno; I’m writing. Yogurt, sandwiches, heat leftovers in the microwave.” I know what he wants to say. Intuitive knowing tells me that he wants to say, “Again, it’s all on my shoulders whether these kids eat or not. Not cool, Stephanie.” But he doesn’t say this because I’ve thrown down the writing card, and he likes when I write because it means I’m being somewhat productive. I hear him firing up the outdoor grill, and I love him.
The dinner freedom fighters of my home resisted my Middle America Mom push for a dinner calendar. “Because what if we’re not in the mood to eat that,” was their unanimous battle cry. “Tough,” I said. “Together we’ll decide on what we’d like to have for dinner, then I’ll organize and take care of everything.” Aside from Lucas’s allergy to both salmon and cod, we don’t have any major food allergies in our house. Gluten, dairy, nuts, wheat, all fair game. Lucas won’t eat beans. Abigail won’t eat obvious animal fat and would prefer to be a vegetarian. I love the idea of cooked fruits like plums with duck or roasted grapes, walnuts and Brussels sprouts. Everyone in my house makes a bitter face when I even suggest as much. I can’t take it anymore. I need reinforcements. Enter the quad.
My Quad Squad:
Experts in all things weeknight dinner. I own these 4 cookbooks and am using them to go napalm on my family. The way I convinced Phil? “We’ve been married for over 13 years. I think you can give me a week in the history of all dinners. Even if I fail miserably, why not?” He went on to say, it’s a waste of food, I won’t follow through, if I do follow through, no one will eat it and he’ll be left having to make everyone dinner anyway, and cake topper to his argument: “it’s not who you are or what you do.” The older version of me would feel resentful. But the me who has been married to this man for over a decade doesn’t much care what he says about who he thinks I am. His words don’t bother me because I know the story of identity is my own. I can be anyone I want, on any given day, no matter who I’ve ever been. And this week, I’m going to be someone who executes dinner with a chalkboard and a blog. Documenting it all here, starting now.