It's an idea that's so crazy it might work.
Having a child who is a picky eater can throw a monkey wrench into any chef’s dinner plans. And multiple kids with different preferences can drive a parent certifiably insane. That was the case for one dad and family cook before he had an epiphany that might change his family’s dinnertime forever.
In a viral post on Reddit titled “I just retired from cooking: Night One,” the dad—user BabaHooey—explains how his four kids between ages 10 and 16 have ruined cooking for him.
“[My] kids have become so picky that there are literally no meals left that I can make without someone complaining,” he wrote.
He then went on to give some examples of the restrictions and obstacles he has to deal with when coming up with an idea for dinner.
“Spaghetti? I make my sauce with Italian sausage and one kid has decided she hates fennel,” he wrote. “One kid has Celiac, which rules out wheat (obviously not her fault) so that makes it harder. One kid hates cheese, which rules out a lot of things. One kid hates chicken. We were safe for a while with tacos until one kid decided she was never eating tacos again.”
All of this came to a breaking point when he was in a grocery store and realized he had no clue what he could buy and cook that all of his kids would accept.
“So tonight, I was standing in the grocery store feeling stupid,” he wrote. “Like there's an entire store full of food, and I'm able to buy anything in the store within reason, and yet somebody will complain about anything I make. And that's why, in the middle of that grocery store, I decided to retire from cooking for the family.”
He bought a bunch of ingredients and came home to break the news to his kids. He told them that he’ll keep on buying them food, but it is up to them to figure out what they want and prepare it for themselves. And it actually seemed to work.
“I was expecting a lot of protest, but nobody said much. After about 30 minutes, they decided I really wasn't cooking dinner and they actually started feeding themselves. One kid made a turkey and cheese sandwich, one made peanut butter and jelly. The one with Celiac decided to make herself and her sister some noodle soup with rice noodles, chicken stock and veggies.”
The dad admits that they might have some “nutritional deficiencies” going forward, but for now everything has gone according to plan. The post has been met with praise from parents, including from some who have experience with this method.
He also clarified that he will continue to cook for his wife and will even make some dishes that he wouldn’t be able to before. While some are skeptical that this plan will last long, it does seem that at the least it will teach the kids some personal responsibility and life skills. Maybe it will even show them how hard picky eaters are on parents and get them to change their ways.
Written by Joseph Barberio for Working Mother and legally licensed through the Matcha publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.