If your children aren’t complaining about the seemingly poisoned, revolting food you’ve made after a long day, how do you even know you’re a parent?
Kids complaining about the food you lovingly prepare for them and force them to eat for your pure evil enjoyment, totally unrelated to giving them sustenance to function, is a common experience 0f parents of young children. But what advice do you give to an older child who wants more control over their diet, yet is held hostage by a parent still prepared to actually cook for them?
This is the situation Bec Sparrow, host of Mamamia podcast Ask Me Anything, was faced with, when she was asked by a young listener;
“How do I tell my mum that I don’t like her cooking?”
Bec Sparrow offers advice to teenage girls on Ask Me Anything. Post continues…
Well, as Bec wisely suggests, if you value your life, you don’t.
Bec advises that this particular listener proceed with caution. She explains that for a lot of parents, it’s exhausting to come up with something that the whole family will like every night.
“I’m a mum, I have three kids, and I hate cooking. It is the bain of my life having to serve up dinner every night.”
She explains that preparing meals isn’t necessarily something many parents want to do, but it’s more of a necessary chore. So if the cuisine isn’t up to the standard a child, who’s obviously old enough to call to ask for advice, wants, they’re probably old enough to effect change at a grassroots level: a.k.a. cook their own dinner.
Bec says, "From the age of ten or twelve, everyone needs to be able to cook one meal."
If that's not possible, and the food is consistently and truly inedible, Bec suggests a "positive, negative, positive" approach. For example:
Positive: "Hey mum, it must be really difficult to cook every night."
Negative: "Sometimes I feel like you're multi-tasking, and that's why some things get burnt."
Positive: "How about we do a cooking class together and we can learn some new recipes together?"
With this tactic, you offer a solution, rather than a pure criticism. As her final advice to the listener, Bec says, "I think it's time to get an apron and find yourself a cook book."
But the listener certainly isn't alone in her question. A quick search of the interwebs reveals that many 'children' (ahem, adults who are being fed by their parents) feel similarly.
One that stands out in particular is a thread started by user 'Cheeseoncrumpets' on mumsnet.com. In an impressive display of bravado (considering their user name), the adult child bitterly complains that their mother "is shit at cooking."
Cheeseoncrumpets asks the forum, "I know it's trivial, but am I really unreasonable to not want to eat her
slop cooking ever again?"
Cheeseoncrumpets is encouraged by other users to be kinder to their mother, and try to make her happy. But one commenter is prepared to be serve them some truth with a side of brutality: "What a horrible post."
The frustrated offspring eventually tells the thread of their mature and brave response to the feedback: "I've told her I'll go now, in order to keep the peace. I just had this horrible flash back to the wet, cold Sunday's of my childhood trying to stomach her Sunday dinners."
Whilst we thank Cheeseoncrumpets for their gratuitous apostrophe, we also must offer them comfort for the obviously traumatic experience of being fed by their mother during a childhood of "wet, cold Sundays".
It all sounds very 'Hunger Games', so we wish Cheeseoncrumpets all the best, and may the odds be ever in their favour when sharing a Sunday meal with the person who gave them life.