When we say we’ve run out of ideas for dinner, it looks as if we really mean it. A survey by baby food manufacturers Organix reveals that 40 per cent of us churn out the same seven meals for our children week in, week out. Seven? Really? I was on a train with Fleur, the 16-year-old daughter of one of my best friends, when Camilla from Organix rang to tell me about the survey.
“Yep, sounds about right,” said Fleur, and began running through her mum, Rose’s, repertoire. “Roast chicken, roast pork, spaghetti bolognaise, curry, steak and chips, casserole, fish and chips and Chinese, that’s about it.”
Can it be true that we are so predictable? I asked Jack and Katy to remember my menus, hoping to prove Organix wrong. They came out with almost exactly the same meals as Fleur. Apart from substituting chicken pie for steak and chips it was more or less identical.
So what have I been piling my trolley up with for all these years if all I trundle home with is mince, chicken, pasta and the odd lump of beef and pork? Do they not remember the stir-fries, the stuffed peppers, the fajitas, the moussaka, the macaroni cheese?
My theory is that when it comes to food, kids’ memories are on a par with dogs’ hearing (if you haven’t seen the Gary Larson cartoon ‘What humans say: What dog’s hear’ you absolutely must Google it now!). We serve them up with a gorgeous array of tempting foods from around the world and they identify it in two ways: 1) Dinner (chicken pie, roast chicken, acceptable pasta sauces, fish and chips) or 2) Yuck: I’m not eating that (anything involving roast peppers, a cream-based sauce or cheese that isn’t bright orange)
Take a moment to think about what meals your family ate last week – does your dinner repertoire repeat itself with a fair amount of regularity? And is this driven by your children or grandchildren’s requests, by financial constraints or lack of inspiration? Do share your thoughts below!