I wouldn’t want you to have a false impression that all is always sweetness and light chez fibermom

We don’t quarrel much, but there are source of friction here. Mostly about food.

Here are some of them.

1. I don’t like to be asked what’s for dinner. My mother didn’t like it either. If we asked what was for dinner, she always said “Fish heads and rice.” I have tried this at my house, without success. My husband and I have conversations like this:

“What are you cooking?”
“How are you cooking it?”
“In the oven.”
“With what?”

And so on, with both of us getting more snappish and the boys joining in with “It’s not time to cook yet, Dad,” or “Just tell us what you’re cooking,”

I honestly don’t know why this irritates me so much. At one time, I took to making little menu cards for the week and posting them on Saturday, so that I could direct all inquiries to the little menu card. I also don’t know why I gave up doing that, since it worked pretty well. I guess this is just an area of irrationality for me.

2. My husband believes that we spend too much on food. He has never actually done the grocery shopping. He does sometimes go shop for food, but his idea of a week’s groceries is a chicken, two kinds of vegetable, and  a loaf of bread. This irritates me because I know that I am actually a frugal shopper and spend less on groceries than most. It irritates him because he believes that if I would shop at Wal-Mart and give up luxury items like frozen vegetables, it would only cost $30 a week to feed us and our two teenage boys.

3. The boys complain incessantly about healthy foods. I am not serving them bowls of millet with brussels sprouts and seaweed. We are talking here about whole grains, fresh fruit and veg, nonfat dairy foods, and lean meat, chicken, and fish. They sneer at buckwheat pancakes, let out cries of distress at fish, and roll their eyes at homemade salad dressing. The inclusion of mushrooms or spinach in anything results in dramatic stomping, and they seem to believe that the right to eat sugared cereals is guaranteed by the constitution. They wail, “Aren’t there any snack foods in this house?” and are unmoved by my suggestion that apples are an excellent snack.

If they were writing this, they would say that I insist on serving them foods that they don’t like, even though they have made it clear to me that they dislike them. They would say that this encourages waste and that they don’t care about healthiness. Meatitude and sweetitude are the categories of foods that they recognize, although now that #1 son is going into horticulture (he got notice yesterday that he is receiving a scholarship, and we got the FAFSA forms back again, but I digress) he does like to have a salad every day.

4. My whole family seem to think that they are food critics for some very narrow-focus magazine column. They discuss my cooking as though they had just attended a play.

“This would be better without the carrots,” one will say.
“Yes,” another will agree, “They are really too sweet for the dish.”
“I thought,” I will chime in, defending my cooking, “that they added piquancy. And crunch.”
“But do you really want crunch?” they will ask consideringly, as though questioning whether the set was really in tune with either the author’s intent or the director’s vision.

I was brought up to believe that is was unmannerly to salt food at the table, suggesting as that does that there was some lack of perfection in the meal. And yet my children do this sort of thing at the dinner table.