Wednesday, 10 December 2014

A change is as good as a holiday

I've been getting a bit bored with dinner lately. You know the balance of trying to keep everyone in the family happy. Finding what you all like, finding healthy meals, a good range of food, all that sort of thing. I miss cooking for someone who eats with enthusiasm (well, some nights they do) and smiles in appreciation down the table. So I decided recently it's time to shake things up a little.

It's not that radical. I've just started serving some of our meals at the table, rather than from the kitchen bench. I started it with a roast chicken, which always feels good, and the let the kids serve up their own food at the table. They did a good job of taking a bit of everything, and I loved the way they kept heading back for a bit more of what they fancied. It helps the growing boy to make sure he really has had enough, and their eyes lit up the first time as they gazed at the feast on offer. It gives a bit of a party feeling, and who doesn't like a bit of that?

Tonight, after bath, Esther asked "is it a choosing meal?" I wasn't planning such a thing tonight, and it was an all-in-one risotto, but I put it on my best serving plate and laid it out on the table for them to serve themselves.

The perfect photo, obviously representing the perfect family occasion.

What a disaster. Reuben was yelling as I took these photos because he had been sent to the next room for <insert some kind of offense>. He served up before I got to the table and the rice went everywhere, and then it was *too hot.* And there was only one plate of food so that's not choosing at all. Oh dear.

If there's steam on the lens it may have been coming from the risotto, but I suspect it was from various family members.

You win some, you lose some. But we'll keep experimenting. Once everyone had settled down I think they still enjoyed the opportunity to serve themselves, and to come back and choose some more. I love letting them get a little more involved, and regulate their portion sizes, and treat themselves to a little more of their favourite thing.

It won't work for everyone, and it won't always work. I can just see the rolling of eyes at the idea of making meal times even more challenging than they already are. But sometimes, if you pick your night ("hey guys, are you planning on being in a good mood or a bad mood this evening?"), a little change does everyone a world of good.

Wish me luck for our next attempt.

The peace candle. The only bit of peace blazing away bravely at our unhappy dinner table.


  1. Well that's a blog post of two halves :)

    Well done on your continuing inventiveness, observation and experimentation. The photos look great - you'd never guess the backstory :)


    1. Thank you! I suspect there are many back stories to the perfect images we see every day on our screens.