Criticizing the Cook
My husband has a great policy: Never complain about food you didn't help make.
I'm a pretty good cook, so it usually isn't an issue for him. I do 98% of the meal prep in our home, so this has kept him in my good graces over the years. (Not quite as good as he could be, but since he does wash pots & pans - a task I try to avoid - I like to think of us as even. Almost.) He does offer to help sometimes, but I rarely take him up on it. The kitchen pre-dinner is my domain, the cars and yard are his.
Roger is a meat & potatoes kind of guy, but he has learned to love spinach salad, fried cabbage, Mexican & Indian food, and pea soup. I have seen him smile through brussel sprouts, kale, spaghetti squash, and falafel. He even tolerates tofu now and then. Out of deference I don't feed him liver, plain sauerkraut or artichokes, though I do sneak them into recipes occasionally, and still - not one negative peep! Gotta love a guy like that, and I do.
This policy of his is one he has tried to pass on to our children with limited success. When they were young, we insisted they at least try everything each time it was served. Some foods grew on them after a while. Those few that didn't they can live without. Everyone is entitled to their different tastes, after all. Since I provide a pretty varied menu, they still get balanced nutrition at my table.
Another rule we tried to live by was that everybody helps clean up. At the very least, each person is responsible for clearing their own dishes. Usually, though, we work together until the job is done.
What do my family's dining habits have to do with anything, you may ask? Stay with me while I digress a moment.
For years I griped about not being where I wanted to be in my writing career, as if that would fix it somehow. Instead, all it did was make me - and everyone around me - feel worse. I was a grumpy damsel waiting to be rescued. By not working toward a solution, I exacerbated the problem. Once I realized this and changed my attitude, it made all the difference. I began to see that the life I wanted had always been within reach, I just had to work for it.
Back to my cooking analogy, and the point of it:
We just elected a president and, like it or not, time for shopping is past. Now it's time to cook. Let's work together with what we have, and get dinner made!
Thanksgiving is this week. There are hungry people out there. We can be grateful that we live in a country with fewer empty tables than full, and where - if we are willing to share the work - we can make a difference. If you aren't going to help with the cooking, you shouldn't gripe. Now is not the time to sit at the table and grumble. If you don't like what's being served up politically, economically, socially, etc., complaining about it isn't going to change things! If you want concessions, you should be willing to help with the clean up.
And remember, in the words of Junior Asparagus - "A thankful heart is a happy heart!"
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