We have some dietary restrictions but I don't wannnna! be a short order cook, so one meal fits everyone, for the most part. I do special meals for special occasions like birthdays and such and I really like that. I let my meal creativity flow and worry less about the cost.
What about you? Special meals?
Do you mean making different meals for each family member to eat at the same meal? As in, dh & I are having chicken and ds wants egg rolls?
If so, yup, I don't have a problem with it. But, there are just the 3 of us, so it isn't a big deal (ds is almost 15).
Ds pretty much likes everything we eat. It wasn't always that way and I had no aversion to fixing something "special/different" for him, if we were eating a dish he didn't like or wasn't in the mood for. It wasn't a "battle" in my mind. Just a difference in tastes!
Dh loves fish (especially trout and salmon) and the idea of eating fish makes me physically ill. So, I fix him fish (always on our outdoor grill), while ds and I eat something else. No sweat.
If I'm making something I know one or more kids will hate out of purely selfish desire on my part, I'll fry them up an egg or something. But ordinarily, no. The picky ones would be demanding something different Every. Single. Meal.
DS born 6/03, DD1 born 9/06, DD2 born 10/10, DD3 born 4/14.
Once they're old enough, they can cook for themselves. My partner and I fix separate meals when we don't want the same thing. We usually fix separate breakfast and lunches. Sometimes we'll do something nice and one of us will fix two separate things for the other- but that's not the norm.
I wouldn't expect a toddler to be able to- but a 10 year old can certainly make a sandwich and most teenagers can use the stove and sharp knives.
It is important to me that we all eat pretty much the same dinner most of the time. Both for logistical and financial reasons but also for the communality of sharing the same meal. I know that isn't important for everyone and I'm not making a judgment on that but it is something I value for us.
Mother of two spectacular girls, born mid-2010 and late 2012
I am a short order cook, and it's really no big deal. The analogy is a poor one, really, because it's not "I'd like hash browns and bacon/ I'd like a hamburger and fries/ I'd like grilled cheese and a salad/ I'd like a stir fry". I've been know to say "Nope, can't do that tonight". But here's how I make things easy:
I tend to make parts to put together as people wish. So, casseroles are out. Last night I made spicy hamburger, quinoa, and cabbage fried up in the spicy hamburger grease. My oldest just had the hamburger, though she will often have quinoa too. My youngest wanted chicken from last night, so I heated that in some chicken broth. DH and I piled the whole lot together with some hot sauce.
My dd2, 7yo, just eats whatever, but dd1 likes a lot of the same foods, so I will often start with her if I'm not sure what I want to make. "Do you want hash browns or mashed potatoes or quinoa with dinner?" What she answers I'll make sure to have that be part of the meal. So, one night the veggie was beets. DD1 chose hash browns. You cannot believe how delicious beets are with hash browns (with blue cheese sprinkles. Mmmmm....)
Other times I'm more organized with meal planning and just make sure everyone has something they like, even if it means pulling out the vanilla yogurt for dd2. Cereal is a totally acceptable option. So is toast. Carrot "fairy wands". Apple slices. There is almost always room on the stove for a hard boiled egg or broccoli.
This all started because of allergies. I was adamant before about not making different meals, but was forced to reconsider, and it hasn't been that bad, in part because of how I organize the meals, and always have easy options for those that would otherwise opt out. The cheese stays on the table as a condiment. I make myself wheat toast when I make a batch of cornbread for the family I can't eat (yes, I have allergies that make me the one looking for something different.)
Give me a few minutes while I caffeinate.