Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Carnibattles and Herbiwars

As any parent of more than one child knows, they are most often not at all alike. This has held true in our family. We are the proud parents of a Math adept, looks like mom, baseball playing boy and a Literature loving, looks like dad ballerina girl. Most of their differences we take in stride, but one creates considerable chaos: the boy is a vegetarian while the girl wants to eat nothing but meat.

With the boy it is pretty straightforward--he has always hated the taste of meat. Even as a baby he rejected his favorite pureed squash if it had meat added. As a little kid we would split kids meals--he would eat the fries and plain bun while I got the hamburger and the bun with ketchup.

Early on he flirted a bit with chicken nuggets but by the time he started school he wasn't eating meat. And except for an occasional hot dog on camping trips he hasn't touched any since.
The problem is he's not that keen on most veggies either, He really only likes potatoes (sliced and fried by dad preferably), zucchini(ditto), and tomatoes. Boy loves his tomato sauce. We all appreciate natures bounty, but he is a prime beneficiary of each year's canning. His idea of pizza is dough, covered in sauce, sprinkled with lots of sauce.

And pasta. Lots of pasta.

 OK eccentric but manageable. Were he an only child it wouldn't be a problem at all. But we must now factor in his sister, whom we call the carnivore. She wants any kind of formerly living mammal or bird her dad can fix for her, and most fish as well. She loves steak, hamburger, pork, bacon, and chicken. The problem is she only wants meat. She doesn't want veggies, or sauce, or fruit on the side. She rejects such wonderful cost cutting meals as meatballs and meatloaf "because you add stuff to the hamburger".

 Meanwhile their long suffering father, who can cook a gourmet meal on next to nothing, is stuck. We prefer a subtle combination of seasonings, veggies, sauces and meats. But we are stuck with a kid who chooses only from column A while the other orders exclusively from column B. We often resort to dinners like tacos and pizza so everyone can add their own ingredients. And the are a few things they both like, such as waffles and pancakes and french fries and bread.

 Most dinners at Meg's house are more like this spaghetti night:
1) We cook the meat in one pot and the noodles in another.
2) The boy comes in and cooks his sauce as he sees fit, thick with herbs, then pours it over his pasta.
3) The girl puts meat and maybe a little garlic butter on her otherwise plain noodles.
4) Finally we are allowed to combine the remaining ingredients and eat like grownups. 

 We know we wont have to live in this culinary ghetto forever. One day they will be grown and cooking for themselves. And we can wish them children who will want to eat nothing but lobster bisque, and calamari, and jellyfish salad, and pigs in a blanket, and Hungarian Goulash, and ants climbing up trees.....


  1. Great title! Our house is kinda like that too. One child wants pasta with butter, the other wants just a little sauce. The veggies are anybody's guess. It's a crap shoot.

    "Culinary ghetto"...I love that! No way, with the goulash and jellyfish salad, it is anything but. ;)

  2. Instead of kids just like themselves I wish them kids like each other...that should mix the menues up...

  3. I don't eat meat. TG it's just hubby and I on many days I fix hubby something and just open a can of soup for me.