Sunday, February 23, 2014

Kitchen Crusade

In the kitchen war, the budget, planned menu and my sanity are the first casualties.

It's not that I'm not vigilant,  I shop, I plan a week of meals, I try to teach nutrition and good choices. But there are 9 people under 18 going about this house with full belief in their skills, real and otherwise, who can at any moment decide they're feeling peckish and thus the galley ought to be open.  I find teens eating cereal at midnight and chili at ten in the morning, I've even found the six year old up washing an apple because she wanted breakfast, it was Saturday and no one was up. In fairness, it was 5:30 am and she had the courtesy to get an apple, wash it and sit at the table eating while reading a book.   She knows how to snow me, she was reading and at the table.  How could I possibly object?

As a kid, I remember feeling as if the kitchen was somehow off limits.  At least I knew after that French toast episode, the day my parents taught me how to make coffee, that I had at best, restricted access.   But with ten children, I've promoted/encouraged some level of independence and as such, every child in my house seems to have gained fully authorized clearance.  The end result, at all hours, soup's on. 

To cope with the needs of this battalion's constant need to operate on its stomach, I've developed a couple of strategies.  First, I purchased specialty items for those older ones, foods no one else likes, that serve as the equivalent of MRE's.  They include such things as microwavable soups, frozen pizzas, protein shakes and oranges.  None of them are easy to open or eat and thus they enjoy a level of security apples, juice boxes, cheese sticks and crackers lack.  

It gives me a layer of defense, but not necessarily against the ones where I need it.  The older ones can delay gratification. They don't often, but they can.  It is the younger ones who view all apples as made to be eaten, who run across the refrigerator like a pack of locust wolves, devouring everything I thought I had for the week. 

So I'd taken to hiding the food, the cookies, the cheese sticks, the yogurts, in short, anything tasty, under the vegetables. No one looks under the salad or the carrots. I also stashed the juice boxes behind my boring diet coke.  All this would have worked perfectly except I have two children who of their own free will, eat healthy things. 

As such, my perfect disguise was outed when they went into the drawers where the green things are, thus disclosing the whereabouts of said snacks.  Once discovered, the child solidarity call went out and all the children descended upon the treasures, resulting in an empty drawer.  

I'm going to have to have a new strategy. 

1 comment:

ama said...

Sherry, I grew up in a large family and my sister also has a large family. One thing we did (and she does) is keep a crockpot going with a soup (beans or split pea, flavored with the drippings from chicken or roast) or oatmeal. The older kids would take turns preparing something. Also, you can make your own yogurt in a crockpot and it is much cheaper.
For the little kids you can have a kitchen activity where they make their own "snack packs" putting some crackers or pretzels and raisins or fruit roll-ups or some other treats in a zip lock bag. Keep the amounts small and vary them them from week to week. Have them make up a bunch of them. Keep them where they can get to them more easily than the other stuff. And, no nothing will really work for very long, you just have to keep on staying a step ahead.

Leaving a comment is a form of free tipping. But this lets me purchase diet coke and chocolate.

If you sneak my work, No Chocolate for You!