I’ve always loved having our family dinners with the kids and grand kids. It’s a chance for us to spend time together over a good meal and enjoy each other’s company. But lately my kids’ special diets and family dinners are causing me headaches!
Special diets and family dinners don’t go together!
Once upon a time I could make family dinner with only thought for the taste preferences of the family. There were a few things I tried to avoid; Pete & Estrella don’t like tomatoes or mushrooms and Mr. C doesn’t like big chunks of cooked tomatoes in dishes. But, overall, I could easily come up with a menu that would please everyone. But lately my daughter, son-in-law, and daughter-in-law in particular have made deciding on a family dinner a menu planning nightmare.
One of the reasons special diets and family dinners are difficult now are that Jami and John have gone almost entirely vegan. They now eat grass, seaweed, rice, and pasta. Okay. I could work with that. I could make a pasta dish with no meat, right? Nope. Andi doesn’t eat pasta any more. She feeds on goldfish, kelp, roe (that’s fish eggs, Folks), and rice. Jami and John love mushrooms. Pete and Andi won’t touch them.
Then how about a vegetable stir-fry over rice? Can’t do it. Pete will eat peppers and onions but nearly every other vegetable is out. Estrella doesn’t eat peppers or onions. Mr. Comfortable would be happy with either a pasta dish or something over rice as long as I am careful about the quantity of cooked tomatoes.
Just when I thought I was out they pull me back in!
I thought I’d come up with a menu but it was not to be. Andi will eat boneless, skinless chicken breasts if they aren’t marinated in a lot of processed things. Jami and John avoid anything that is, came from, or once saw an animal like it carries Bubonic Plague. And processed food is treated like poison. Is soy sauce safe? What about cheese? Oh. I forgot. None of the three consumes dairy any more.
The whole idea of the fun, relaxing evening together has gone down the tubes now that special diets and family dinners have mated. Instead I spend the week before madly texting the kids about what they will and won’t eat.
I think I’m handling it well
This is the tentative menu I’ve set to accommodate special diets and family dinners this week:
Heirloom tomatoes Panzanella Salad – Keep tomatoes, croutons, and cheese in separate bowls for the non-dairy, non-tomato, and non-gluten kids.
Sheet Pan Shrimp and Vegetables – Remove shrimp from non-shellfish eating kids’ plates. Remove “offensive” vegetables (mushrooms, tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, onions, zucchini, etc. from each person’s plate depending on “special diet.”
And whiskey. Lots and lots of whiskey. Just for me.
I think, hope, and pray this menu will be acceptable. If not I’ll tell them all to stay home!