Thursday, March 18, 2010

Multiple Choice Night

Leftovers night as a child was always so disappointing. "Mom, I'm hungry, what's for dinner?" I would hang around her like a starving wolf, pacing behind her as she cooked on the white old fashioned stove.
"Leftovers! " She would say cheerily.

"Awwww shoulders would droop, I would sigh, and set my face in a frown and get ready to survive dinner. Leftovers always sounded so gross. Left over...the stuff that has been picked through,forgotten for how many days... may be contaminated by peoples germs, who knows? Definitely over cooked,mushy and gross.

Tonight, as I heat left over chicken, peas, and since that may not feed five,
(four of which are of the male gender and may turn out eventually to be scientifically proven to have three stomachs each )...I also heat up left over meat pasta. I have a new appreciation for my mother, who commuted and worked full time as a child care development official for the State of Connecticut, raised three kids, was married for 32 years, and was a partner in a summer resort which often hosted 55 people a weekend. AND came home and cooked great dinners. Leftover night to her was awesome. No cooking from scratch. I get it. As I arrange the food attractively on the plate, I look at the colorful display of assorted foods, it dawns on me.
It's all context.

How about Multiple Choice Night?
Usually dinner is "This is what's for dinner." Period. If they don't like it, they go to bed hungry. Seriously, unless we are eating fiery hot Indian food, we all eat the same thing and if they don't like it, well, too bad. We don't make peanut butter sandwiches ( well, sunbutter in our house) at 8:00 pm (anymore) because someone didn't want to try fish with black bean sauce, rice and bok choy. We aren't mean about it, we don't say it in a hostile voice, that's just the way it is. Sort of like buckling up the seat belt. That's just the way it is.

Because of that, I like to think, my almost 5 year old actually dipped fresh spinach leaves into a green mushy Indian pea sauce the other night and loved it. My 7 yr old jumped up and down with glee when I bought brussel sprouts for him. No kidding. They know that what's so is "This is what's for dinner."
Then we encourage and celebrate when they try something new.
Last week, when Bodee said, eyeing red peppers suspiciously, "Mommy, I don't want to try something new, I only want what I have tried before."

I responded simply, " Bodee, everything you have eaten, was, at one time, new."

He looks confused and then gets it. He sighs and tries it. He lits up with delight when he likes it!

Tonight we have a special surprise. Like a buffet, they will get to do something they never usually do for dinner, they will have a's Multiple choice night. They get the power to chose and it's an empowering context for everyone...something to look forward to rather than survive. Yea! Dinner!

Have any other ideas for jazzy names for leftover night?

Zen Honeycutt

1 comment:

  1. I LOVE this, Zen. Everything I've ever tried was once new. That is a motivator for great change.