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Monday, November 3, 2014

Fun and Fooey

I had my first weekend with a full time husband. It was great! We slept in. He helped me with the animals and my garden, and Sunday, we spent the day in Canton, TX where they host Trade Days. It's one of the biggest flea markets in the country, maybe the world. It's spread over hundreds of acres, and we only tackled part of it.

Saturday, I threw him a little party. It was originally supposed to be a surprise, but my partner-in-crime had a family emergency and I had to pull it together solo. It worked out fine. 

We got to visit with friends we hadn't seen in a very long time and had a chance to chat with others who couldn't make it that night. In short, we had a fabulous time. Good company, good food, flowing wine, and lots of stories to tell.

It was a perfect evening! Greg was so touched by all the attention.

Ah, but there's another side to all the warm, fuzzy feelings about having a husband again.

Do you remember several months ago when I mentioned threatened to start a series called, Things My Husband Does?

Greg has already given me fodder for several topics. Apparently, having a full time husband is going to require some time for adjustment.

I've inherited a serious problem now that I'm responsible to cook for someone regularly.

Here's my question to you for today.  Do you know what you're going to make for dinner (breakfast or lunch) every day of the week? Who decides the menu, you or your significant other (or family)?

Greg always gives me the, "I don't know what I feel like eating" line. Yet if I suggest some ideas, he invariably shoots them down because it's not quite what his discerning taste buds had in mind. 

What's taste got to do with it? It's food. Just eat it.

Worse yet, I must ask him about dinner hours ahead of time so I can take whatever I need out of the freezer. It never fails that he doesn't know what he wants until about 15 minutes before he's hungry.

I'm happy with leftovers three days in a row but I can't get away with that with Greg.

Back when we lived together, he'd eat whatever I put in front of him, but 15 years of independence has made him particular about what he wants to eat and when. Greg rarely cooked at home, so he was used to restaurant food at least 80% of the time.

I made up a list of menu items and I've considered letting him choose from the list. Unfortunately, what's happened on more than one occasion is that I'll have taken out a pre-approved item from the freezer only to find that he had changed his mind. Oy!

To his credit, Greg never complains what I put in front of him, though occasionally I do get the puppy-dog eyes because he got hamburger instead of rib-eye. 

I want to prepare food he enjoys but I'm not one of those creative cooks who could whip up veal Marsala without a lot of prep work and research. I'm more of a "eat it; it won't kill you" kind of cook. Yes. It's always an adventure at my table.

How do you handle the menu at your house? 

A big basket of peppers, okra, cukes, and squash. I picked a couple of watermelons too but I forgot to take a picture. 

Any suggestions on what to do with so many peppers?

I'll freeze the bell peppers, pickle the cubanelle and banana peppers, and stuff some of the jalapenos, but I still have loads more on the vine. What would you try?


Jeannie Miernik said...

Ummmm, my husband does not behave this way (he has the taste buds of a dog--almost anything sounds awesome to him), but I do have a preschooler. If it's Daddy Day, my husband decides what to make and cooks it. He knows what things I don't like, so I never come home and whine about whatever he's made. On my days at home, I pick out something and cook it. If somebody doesn't like it (husband or child), they can microwave whatever leftovers they want out of the fridge. End of story. Avert your gaze from the puppy dog eyes and carry on! :) He'll learn to communicate better if he gets hungry enough.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

My husband is so easy but I'm kind of in your situation now that my son from Colorado is back home for the winter. He runs 10-15 miles a day so he needs calories while my husband and I try to keep the caloric count low. It's a challenge so good luck.

Angela Brown said...

Oh yeah, adjusting to a new full time figure in the household will require time. Maybe not a whole lot of time, but time yes...allow that for both you and him.

Because I have a situation in my household where I'm helping a family out by squeezing them into my 2 bdrm apartment with me and Chipmunk, we went through about 3 months of "Holy water, please, somebody. I'm about to go insane!!!" Not only did space tighten but apparently, my preference of appealling to my occasional food vices turned into everyone overeating my faves and a summer of paying waaaaaaaaay too much for store-bought food and restaurant items. So the other adult in this situation and I set up a weekly menu covering Sunday through Friday, allowing for some food freedom on Saturday. Either the kids eat what's on the menu for that day, or fumble through the fridge for a yummy left over that's still okay to eat.

In your case, maybe if he and you have a nice discussion about some of his faves, like what were some of his go to dinner items at restaurants, maybe that can help steer the food issue in a better direction. Of course, if you've already tried this and it didn't work, just disregard :-)

FastBusa said...

Het, I am NOT that bad! Besides I make a great Veal Marsala.

Maria Zannini said...

Jeannie: I've never been lucky enough to be around people who will eat whatever. Even my friends are epicureans.

Maria Zannini said...

Susan: Oh, heck yes. Your son probably goes through thousands of calories--especially when they're young.

All you can do is marvel at his metabolism. :)

Stacy McKitrick said...

I'm the wrong person to ask. We eat out more often than not. And when I cook, it's usually with the crock pot. I'm all about the easy.

But then, my husband knows this. He never asks for anything complicated! I think he's just happy I feed him! Haha!

Maria Zannini said...

Angela: It's really tough when you have a whole crowd at your place.

I don't know what you could do but ask everyone to pony up so the burden isn't all on you. If they're staying longer than a week, everyone needs to chip in.

You're right about the discussion. I'm going to show him my list of menu choices and let him decide, but then he's got to eat what's on the menu that week.

Maria Zannini said...

Greg/FastBusa: Maybe the answer is to let you cook. LOL. I don't mind.

Maria Zannini said...

Stacy: We used to eat out a lot too (whenever he was here) but that has to stop now that we're on a fixed budget--at least until I can see where the money goes every month.

I might start more crockpot meals. Greg likes those.

Author R. Mac Wheeler said...

Growing up I was taught the cook always decides.

"Does it say McDonald's outside?"

Sandra Almazan said...

I became a vegetarian earlier this year, but my husband and son are confirmed carnivores. I try to plan two-three veggie meals a week (we generally have leftovers) and cook some meat on the side. But my husband is easy compared to my seven-year-old. I can make something for him and then have him not eat it.

Rebekah Loper said...

WHOO! A subject I can share my 'expertise' on!

I make a weekly menu. There are a few factors that affect what is on the weekly menu:

What is leftover in the pantry/fridge/freezer from the previous week.

What is on sale at the store/what is readily available in the garden.

What items have been specifically requested by those who eat off the menu.

And the weather. I tend to cook more hot foods in the fall/winter, and less heavy foods in the spring/summer.

There's also the 'how much money is available for food after taking care of everything else' factor, but I don't think that's quite a struggle for you guys as it is for us sometimes. :)

My husband eats essentially the same thing every morning, but that's because he likes to sleep until half an hour before he has to be clocking in at work, so he eats in the car. Sometimes it's a smoothie & protein bar, sometimes it's a smoothie & a breakfast burrito, or sometimes all three items, depending on how hungry he is.

His lunch, 99% of the time, is the leftovers from dinner the night before. I struggle with having lunch items on hand for ME, because it just slips my mind. I try to have tuna fish and peanut butter, etc, on hand all the time, though, so there's always an option.

Dinner can be... interesting. Hubby has very particular tastes as well, SO particular that it's caused more than a few disagreements over the years.

There are a few dishes that I just don't make for dinner. Tomato soup is one of those - he won't even come inside the house if he smells it. There's a few things he loves that I really can't stand, and so he knows I don't make them. And I never will.

Otherwise, I can usually convince him to try anything at least once, sometimes a second time.

I have a few recipes that I fall back on frequently, and I'm working on widening that database. I can't whip something together without a recipe most of the time, unless it's just a matter of deciding what sides to have with a roasted chicken.

I do a LOT of recipe hunting on pinterest.

If you're looking for new recipes, I've found quite a few promising ones at

For the overall pickiness, though, I recommend just making a menu. Even if you don't make specific meals for specific days, just say "These are the options for this week. Pick what you want."

Then, you may be able to pull things out of the freezer for 2-3 days at a time and give you a little more flexibility.

Darke Conteur said...

I would LOVE to make up a weekly menu. I used to do it years ago, but as Husband buys the groceries and doesn't care for lists, that doesn't happen anymore. Generally we have three different kind of meals here 1) the low cholesterol/low sodium meal for Husband, 2) the no processed food for me, and 3) whatever the heck Sithboy wants, and it's going to get even crazier next year when we move in with my mom as she doesn't do gluten.

Brian Switzer said...

Jalepeno jelly. Easy to make, and a pound of peppers gives you five jars. Keep them in the pantry until you're in the mood, then mix it with equal part cream cheese and serve as a dip. Delicious. In a decorative jar it makes a nice gift, too.

Be sure you remove all the seeds when you split the peppers or it will be too hot for some taste buds. And wear gloves or your hands and any body part your hands touch will burn for hours b

Maria Zannini said...

Mac: Glad I don't wear a paper hat. :)

Maria Zannini said...

Sandra: Children always tend to be picky from my pov. At least husbands will eat what's in front of them even if they are disgruntled.

Maria Zannini said...

Re: "These are the options for this week. Pick what you want."

I think this is good advice. I'll try the weekly menu and see how that works. I just hate thinking stuff up day after day.

Thanks for the link too. I'm going to check that out.

Maria Zannini said...

Darke: Oh, Darke! Three different meals? I have trouble with one.

Maria Zannini said...

Brian: Thanks for the tip! I've heard people rave about jalapeno jelly but I've never tried it.

I'll check it out. Thanks!

Barbara Ann Wright said...

I don't cook. I suck at it. My husband does, too, so we eat out a lot. That and we have sandwiches. Neither of us can really complain.

Jenny Schwartz said...

I have nothing sensible to contribute -- I'm stuck on vegetable envy! Your green basket looks fabulous.

Maria Zannini said...

Barbara: I cook but it's not one of my favorite things to do. Actually, as long as I have company in the kitchen I'm content.

Maria Zannini said...

Jenny: Lots more still in the garden, but I imagine I'll have to put the garden to rest next month.

Mike Keyton said...

Hmmm, you have it easy, Maria.

I have a son who will only eat 'dry' plain food - so no pasta or sauces of any kind. Even his cornflakes are taken without milk. Bernadette can't abide tomatoes, and Frances turns her nose up at cheese or anything 'fatty.'

So Darke Centaur isn't the only one who has to explore creative planning. Still I don't have a homestead to run : )

Maria Zannini said...

Mike: Oh, my! I can't even imagine cooking without tomatoes, sauces, or cheese.

You win for most difficult family palates.

LD Masterson said...

Hon, he's a intelligent guy. Give him a list of some of his favorite meals with the prep time needed to make it and explain if he doesn't allow for the prep time, he can't have it that night. He'll learn to decide earlier or get used to quick-prep meals.

Maria Zannini said...

Linda: I hadn't thought about including the prep time. That's important too.

LD Masterson said...

Make sure the prep time includes defrosting time.