Recently, one of my granddaughters told me I was the best cook ever, and I should enter a cooking show on TV and win her some money, like $100.
I didn’t laugh, but that statement is so funny on so many levels that I don’t know where to start.
First of all, I have told you before I am tired of cooking. I have cooked way too many meals in my life. I now have a stock number of recipes I can do by heart and usually just rotate them as my meal repertoire.
I am the master of the 30-minute meal. I know, I know. I should try something new, and maybe I would not be so bored with cooking. But I don’t.
Secondly, even if I enjoyed cooking, I am a very plain cook.
I like things to look and taste like what they really are. I don’t use many spices or fancy sauces.
My husband spices up everything I cook, usually by splashing it liberally with pepper sauce. He makes bottles of it every fall.
I keep telling him he will burn out his taste buds and not be able to taste anything.
But perhaps most importantly, this particular granddaughter is the wonder of all wonders, a child who will eat anything. She likes salad, broccoli and asparagus. She will eat shrimp.
I recently made a pot roast and cooked Irish and sweet potatoes, carrots and onions with the roast. She asked for extra carrots and sweet potatoes.
She didn’t want any onions so I didn’t give her any.
Then she said she’d try an onion. She loved it and wanted to know why I hadn’t told her onions were so good.
She wears size 10 slims in pants, so she is not overweight. But she will have three helpings of whatever is the main course if it is something she really likes — translation my chicken pot pie.
She even has taken a liking to cooking and can make macaroni and cheese from a box and fried eggs. Her raving about my cooking is not a reliable endorsement of my “gourmet” meals.
Sadly, she is the only one of my granddaughters who will eat everything.
I have one who, it appears, only likes hamburger in various forms.
She likes chili, spaghetti and tacos with meat and cheese only. She does not like an actual hamburger patty. She will eat any salty, chip-like snack and anything sweet. She is also a drive-by eater. She prefers to grab snacks five or six times a day instead of eating a meal.
One granddaughter who brings her lunch to school each day must (as asked for by her school) pack a vegetable in her lunch each day.
There is no requirement that she eat it, just pack it. Her mother bought an individual serving size of canned green beans and packs it each day for her lunch.
That same can goes back and forth each day to school and basically lives in the lunch box for the school year.
That’s the granddaughter who went through a half gallon of chocolate milk in one day.
Another granddaughter likes any brand of juice that is flavored orange (not to be confused with real orange juice).
She can go through a gallon of juice in one weekend. I have taken that child to more bathrooms in places that I did not know had public bathrooms, including Kroger.
There are some foods all four of them agree on. They all like fruit, especially apples, strawberries and pineapple.
One of our standard things to do as a group in the spring is pick strawberries.
They all will eat a hotdog. But they want it without the bun and catsup on the side for dipping.
Two like French fries; two don’t. They all eat pizza and love to go out to eat Mexican. But if one wants to go to one fast food restaurant, you can bet the others want something different.
I have, at times, resorted to going through three different drive-thru windows and taking it all home to eat.
I will have the two Macon girls for two weeks this summer. That usually means I feed all four of them.
My trips to the grocery store become more frequent and the lists get longer as I try to remember all the idiosyncrasies of each child’s palate.
Paula Travis is a retired teacher from the Newton County School System. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.