I used to tell people that if meat would defrost itself, divorce rate would be half of what it is, since deep down I truly believe this is a major factor that adds stress into most family’s lives. If meat had the ability to escape from the freezer out to the counter top, conveniently and in time for me to make dinner the moment I walk in the door, there would have been many nights Dave and I could have avoided tension and I would have managed myself better.
Let me start by clearly stating that I am married to a great guy who is an amazing father, and as we approach our 11th year wedding anniversary I am continually grateful for Dave’s incredibly and superhuman ability to fix all things electronic, computer-related, household related, car-related, and basically there is NOTHING my husband can’t fix…except dinner ! UNLESS we have communicated and have a plan, then he is absolutely able to make that too!
Over the years, since food is essentially my love and my life, I am the one who does over 95% of the grocery shopping, meal planning, cooking, cleaning out of leftovers, thinking about the next day’s meal, and basically the one who obsesses over what we eat and when. To Dave, food is the LAST thing on his mind. He is busy taking care of Claire, driving a mere 100 miles daily commuting to and from the school we chose for her, working from home, and fixing EVERYTHING and addressing everything that I am unavailable to do while at the hospital. Dave will eat when reminded, and never picky nor really opinionated about what’s for dinner. Hence, dinner is not in his awareness.
For years, I remember having to remind myself to call him from the operating room, between surgerises, or between patients when I was in clinic, no later than 2pm so that I can ask him to defrost some protein from the freezer, if that is, I forgot to defrost something in the morning before I run out the door. Now that we’ve moved to another state, it’s the same issue. We both get busy, forget to talk about what’s for dinner, and typically I may go all day without eating and drinking even much water (very bad and unhealthy), so come 6pm or later, as I am walking out of the hospital and calling him to tell him I am on my way, I may ask the most dreaded question…”What’s the plan for dinner?”
Dave knows that this is the worst time to reply with “I don’t know” or “I guess we’ll eat out” since I am usually tired, grumpy, and can’t stand the idea that on a school night we would be getting to a restaurant around 7pm. However, last week we had such a night and such was the conversation. I quickly did a mental recall of what’s in the fridge and at home, and gave suggestions to him to start making a few things as I rushed home and made fried rice and broiled some chicken thighs coated with a generous slather of hoisin sauce.
Here it is, we need an app to remind couples each and everyday to think about what’s for dinner before 2pm….before the hypoglycemia kicks in, and the day can go so long and even so poorly that all you want to do is come home to sit down with family to enjoy a hot meal. That’s my version of a perfect day, every day.
Our strategy? I cook every Sunday so Monday night and even Tuesday Dave can help get us ready simply by reheating. I also need to think about our weeknight menu while grocery shopping on Saturdays. Dave is a much better cook then earlier in our marriage, only because I over functioned and deprived him of the opportunities to be the great sous chef that he is. Now that he’s been a pescatarian for over one year, he at least will look for salmon or tilapia, or shellfish to defrost. Thank goodness for Buitoni boil to eat ravioli and other pastas which help to make meals come together quickly. As we always have green beans, broccoli, sweet potatoes, and brussell sprouts at home, no dinner goes by without greens!
Of course Dave is a master griller, but once again, all those years went by and unless meat was defrosted, the grill was useless!
We shouldn’t have to do this, but Dave and I even agreed that if he hasn’t heard from me by 5pm on any day, he and Claire needs to either order Pizza or do whatever it takes to get food ready because neither of them ever want “grumpy mommy”!
Until meat and all protein/fish learn to defrost themselves, Dave and I, as well as all the rest of you will have to communicate with your partners each and every day, so that you can enjoy and maximize your evening with loved ones over a hot home made meal.
Why not just eat out you said? other than incredible expenses that add up, less than nutritional or healthy foods, and not teaching your children the importance of cooking as a life skill and eating healthy, that would just take away our opportunity to communicate and care for one another right?
I love my husband dearly! he makes the best roasted sweet potatoes cut into perfectly symmetric cubes, and he makes the best sauteed broccoli! Practice makes perfect right?
What’s for dinner in your house tomorrow night?
Dr. Julie Wei is a pediatric ear, nose, and throat specialist and the author of A Healthier Wei. As a mother herself, Dr. Wei is a passionate advocate for improving children's health through better diet and dietary habits. She has been committed to helping parents learn how to eliminate their child's ear, nose, and throat problems simply by reducing excessive sugar and dairy intake, as well as minimizing habitual late night snacking. She hopes to raise awareness for the need for accountability by both medical professionals and parents to ensure that children are not prescribed or take unnecessary medications long term.
When she is not in the clinic, operating room, or conducting research, you will find her in the kitchen preparing food with love along with her daughter Claire. If you sit next to her on the plane, she will likely share with you information about how to minimize choking hazards in young children, and many other tips for improving your child's health.