Thursday, February 2, 2012
The holidays were not good for me this year. I have had all sorts of good intentions, but you know where those lead you. I have attempted to maintain our habits of menu writing for the week, cooking on the weekend, and not eating out. For the most part, I've succeeded. My weight is up a tad but I'm not back up to where I started, and so I consider this a coup.
The problem is work, time, weekends and the kid's pushback. I know that we all have this problem. Having pre-teens and teenagers with busy schedules on the weekends is a challenge. I cook and then get crap from the kids for what I've cooked. Sound familiar? Well, there was this GREAT article in the New York Times the other day about a mother who decided her sons were going to take over cooking two meals a week. She would have to be present and would be available for consultation, but they had to plan a menu Saturday morning, get her approval (the menu had to be healthy-no deep fried stuff), list the ingredients for her for grocery shopping, and prepare it on the specific day. They COULD prepare it on the weekend ahead of time and reheat, if so desired, during the week. They had to prepare it from beginning to end, and serve it. The parents, then, cleaned up.
I presented this idea to Tom and El. Ellie was all over it. (She's eleven) and Tom, well, not so much. He's 13. I left a note for them today, that they have to pick a meal, a full dinner (protein, veggie and starch), and list the ingredients for me so I can shop to a menu.
If you think about it, this is really great training. They learn how to prepare meals from beginning to end, learn the value of menu preparation, learn techniques of cooking, and as a bonus, get a healthy meal out of it. It is a meal they are more likely to eat because THEY prepared it. Of course YOU, as a parent, have to clean up, but let's face it, even when the kids clean up, you end up going back and cleaning anyway. You may have to eat some bad stuff, but it's worth it if they learn how to cook.
The greatest challenge the mother had, was sitting on her hands while her fifteen year old made mistakes. I completely agree that this will be difficult. Tom is in the Boy Scouts. One of the mantras they have for the parents is to leave the kids alone and let them screw up. They learn by making mistakes. It's really hard to watch your kid making mistakes and NOT leap in to help. Tom is thirteen now and is trying to establish some independence from me. He's being the typical snarky thirteen year old. Occasionally I sit on his head and remind him that I'm not his buddy or his friend, and he'd better shape up. Mostly, though, I'm giving him more rope with which to hang himself. Ultimately, he comes back and apologizes when he screws up. It will be a challenge to let him work unimpeded, or at least with less supervision. I just want all fingers and toes intact at the end of this year! I don't really mind eating carbonized stuff.
One of the bigger problems I had last year was the kids push back on all the "healthy stuff" we were eating. They missed eating out and not having pizza once every week or two. I think this plan might help alleviate this. Let's keep our fingers crossed that this works.