This week, I went on strike. After almost 19 years in the kitchen, I’m not cooking dinner for my family any more. I realize that I’m making a dramatic gesture and that I’ll probably cave and cook sometimes again. But at this very minute, I’m throwing in the dish towel and hanging up my apron.
I have a husband and two teens, and all four of us have different preferences and different schedules. My daughter is a vegetarian. My son is a junkatarian. And my husband is a porkatarian, preferring any-and-all-forms of pig: ham, bacon, sausage, BBQ, pork rinds, etc. I’m hypoglycemic, so I have to eat frequently and eat lean proteins (sometimes from plants or dairy), high fiber and complex carbs over simple carbs—food the men in my family find boring.
Dinner is an important time for family communication, but lately everyone is overscheduled, overstimulated and way too plugged in. This makes it difficult for all four of us to be home and awake at the same time. Also the two introverts in the family often want to hide in their rooms for several hours after arriving home, so it’s difficult to entice them to the table. They will go hungry just to savor some alone time. Sometimes people will want to take a plate to the computer, or they’ll want to be on their phone at the table. I try to encourage everyone to come to the table, even it’s just for 15 minutes of family togetherness.
Other culprits: The kids will eat big after-school snacks, my husband will have a big lunch at work or attend an afternoon reception with food, or I will end up eating while I’m cooking because of dropping blood sugar levels.
I’m also trying to cook meals that are fresh, delicious, health conscious and budget conscious. Meals that everyone will like and that everyone will eat.
This week, I have decided these ideals are impossible. So until further notice, I’m on strike. My kids are 13 and 16, and my husband was single until 30, so I know he’s capable of feeding himself. They won’t starve. They can eat cereal, heat up a frozen meal, or make a sandwich. On Tuesday of this week, all three of them told me that they didn’t want the dinner I already started cooking, so that was the catalyst for my rebelling. I’m on strike.