Cooking for others

Cooking for other people is something a lot of us have to do on a daily basis – sometimes several times a day. With traditional and fad diets this can mean making one thing for you and another for the rest of the family. This definitely does not have to be the case here. In fact, everyone should be eating this way anyway.

The person who is doing the cooking can often feel responsible for providing food that everyone likes or, at the very least, will eat. I understand this completely. My two children have both been through periods of complaining about everything I put in front of them. There is nothing that wears away at your soul as much as a child telling you day after day that they “don’t like that” before the plate is even down on the table.

However, eating good food is not something that necessarily comes naturally to humans. Rather we often have to learn to like what is good for us. Learning takes practice and without exposure to good food the opportunity to practise isn’t there. Additionally, what people eat when they are children can form their preferences in adulthood, so just like we teach them to brush their teeth twice a day we should also teach them to get at least five handfuls of fruit and vegetables a day, and how to know what the right portion of mashed potato is.

With this in mind, my favourite strategy for dealing with this is to develop a thick skin to deal with complaints and teach whoever is complaining how to eat well. Failing that, however, you can often find excellent compromises. For example, if your family loves sausage and chips, try oven cooking the chips and sausages and add some baked beans. Use the hand-sized portions when you dish out. You can very often adapt your usual meals in this way.