Crying Over Onions

Don’t judge me for this story but I HAVE HAD IT.

Why was I standing barefoot in the 24 degree garage this evening, digging through the recycling bin in a desperate bid to locate an empty can of white clam sauce?

Because I had had it.

ONIONS 15I found the can. I read the ingredients list, there in the weak light of the garage. And then I hollered back into the house, “THERE’S NO ONION! NO ONION IN IT!”

Like I mentioned, I had HAD IT.

Let me back up. Tonight was noodle night at our house and I decided–since the kids won’t eat sauce anymore on their pasta–I might as well revive an old favorite easy meal from my past. One I hadn’t cooked in 10 years and I really missed it.

While the linguine boiled (and I tried to convince myself that Carlos wouldn’t throw a fit because it wasn’t spaghetti), I sauteed some fresh garlic and minced celery in olive oil. Cooked it nice and soft. Back in the day, I would have included an onion in there, but G doesn’t eat onions. Wait, he’ll eat French onion soup and Funyuns, and he buys onion powder for seasoning meat, but he won’t eat onion onions. They’re too oniony.

00182So…garlic, celery, olive oil. Then stir in a can of Progresso white clam sauce to save a few steps. Easy peasy. Serve over linguine with some fresh squeezed lemon juice and shaved Parmesan. Yummmmmmm.

Vivi scooped up her noodles…plain. Carlos added “shaky cheese” (that Parmesan in the green can) to his. G scooped up a plateful of linguine then skeeted about two tablespoons of the clam sauce on it. I fixed my plate and dreamed about the cold bottle of Soave I would have served with this and the crusty baguette…back in the day.

Not today.

Vivi started eating her noodles by shoving in an entire forkful, then tearing the hangy downy parts with her hands. No. Carlos took one bite then went on walkabout through the living room and den. Nope. I kept on enjoying my dinner.

I looked over and G is picking at his plate. Oh hell nope. I give him a look and he says, “Are there onions in this?”

“I didn’t put any in there. But maybe there was some in the canned sauce.”

Next time I looked over, he had made a little clam pile on the edge of his plate.

THAT’S what drove me to be digging around in the trash after dinner. ONION DRAMA. There’s not a damn bit of onion in there.

I don’t know about you, but I am sick of catering to everyone else’s culinary choices. I haven’t sauteed an onion in EIGHT YEARS and sauteeing an onion was Step One of every recipe my mama and daddy taught me.

Vivi will eat an entire clamshell of grape tomatoes but won’t eat tomato sauce. No pizza or spaghetti bolognese. Carlos likes carrots if they’re raw but screams if he sees them in beef stew. Vivi will eat apples but not apple sauce. Carlos won’t eat chicken nuggets, for godsake! The girls will eat mac and cheese but the boy won’t. And don’t even think about making the version of mac and cheese I used to make with the Gruyere sauce and the butternut squash. Nope. Blue box. Shredded cheese is fine but string cheese is the devil’s own. One only eats toast with butter and the other won’t touch it if butter has been near. And by “butter,” I mean “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter” because they like that better than real butter.

Victoria used to be a picky eater and had FINALLY broadened her palate…just in time to get braces. No sharp things, sticky things or stuck things.

I am so sick of the seven recipes I make over and over and over because there’s something in them that everyone will eat. Chili, taco salad, stir fry something, noodles, chicken broccoli casserole, cabbage soup. Yes, these weirdos tear up some cabbage soup like it’s birthday cake.

But DAMN, I miss real cooking. I used to make my own vinaigrette with freshly crushed garlic and grapeseed oil. The secret is to muddle sea salt with the garlic to really pull out the flavor. I had truffle oil and I used it to “finish” things. I roasted corn, baked bread, paired wines. I shaved my own damn Parmesan. The door of the fridge was filled with cornichons, pomegranate syrup, ground mustard, Irish butter, fig preserves.

The garlic press, the cruet, the wine decanter–all are gathering dust in the pantry.

I’ve been spending all this time in the kitchen keeping everyone happy. Except myself.

30 thoughts on “Crying Over Onions

  1. Anne

    I so totally understand your frustration. I have actually bawled over people not eating what I put in front of them because of one tiny ingredient that they don’t even know if it’s in it, they just assume it’s there. Supper at our house could shag up the church.

    1. Baddest Mother Ever Post author

      Oh yes! Both the girls hate mushrooms, but if I chop them up fine, they don’t even notice them. AND LIVE.

  2. Lunch In the Park

    I feel like this regularly. One of mine keeps removing foods from his list of things he’ll eat. I’m trying not to lose my mind about it.

    You have the patience of a saint. Eight years without sauteing an onion is a long time.

  3. Sara A

    I think you should throw dinner parties for your friends. Tell your family to go out to a movie or something, and then make whatever you damn well please. Yes, I think that’s an excellent idea 😀

    Oh, and if your children start making noises about wanting to join in the fun, just say in your best condescending tone “Oh, no, I’m sorry, we eat a bunch of grown up food that I don’t think you’ll like. ” *evil grin*

  4. Ann

    I feel your pain. My crew is getting better, but the list of off limits ingredients is still too long. It drives me particularly crazy when they will eat all the components but won’t even try the dish. This time of year, my stir craziness cries out for something new. Since the trip to Tahiti is out, new recipes are the only thing between me and the loony bin. If they won’t eat it, there’s always cereal, and They won’t starve before breakfast.

  5. Leigh

    Girl. You need a new recipe. Try this.
    You can thank me later!

    Mini Meat Loaves ~

    Preheat oven to 350’
    1 pound ground chuck
    ½ pound veal
    ½ pound pork
    ½ cup milk
    1 teaspoons Dijon mustard
    2 teaspoon hot sauce
    1 teaspoon thyme
    1 teaspoon black pepper
    2 eggs, well beaten
    ¾ cup fresh white bread crumbs
    ¼ cup green onion tops (the green)

    Mix everything together by hand.
    Prepare a 12 cup muffin tin, spray with Pam and put your meat mixture in each.
    Brush tops with a glaze.
    Two Topping Choices:
    Catsup glaze: ½ cup catsup, 4 tablespoons brown sugar, 4 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
    Hoisin glaze: ½ cup Hoisin, 2 tablespoons catsup, 1 tsp soy
    Bake 25 – 30 min. minutes

  6. Cassandra Bagley

    I understand the craziness. I have a vegetarian who doesn’t like most vegetables! We’ve come to an understanding now that she’s 20 and the only kid living with me. She is in charge of her own food. She buys it and cooks it, and I try not to worry that all she ever eats is various pasta shapes with cream sauce.

  7. Sharon Watts

    I really regret the 1000 (ok, 20) years that I basically dumbed down my cooking to school cafeteria level! Great post!

  8. Chris Antenen

    Amy didn’t like onions in spaghetti sauce, chili, meat loaf, whatever – I just waited until she wasn’t looking, threw them in the blender and hit puree. I still make some things that way. Have you tried the trick of pureed vegetables in meat loaf – with lots of catsup and oatmeal instead of bread crumbs.

    Then there is the other way to handle this problem. Pretend you can’t cook, sabotage the things they like. My children thought school food was better than mine. “Here’s your lunch money.” They still laugh at my devious ways of getting out of the kitchen, and I never did any of the stuff you talked about. Cornichons?.

    Then join (or start) a gourmet group. We belonged to one for years, really fun. As you walk out the door with some fragrant French dish, they’ll be sorry! Don’t tell anybody, but I really can cook.

    1. Baddest Mother Ever Post author

      Well, tonight I heated up some leftover linguine and told them to fend for themselves! G taught Vivi how to make grilled cheese and he heated up some soup for them. Carlos had a jelly sandwich and milk. I had my wine and pasta!

  9. Marie

    I say declare an “Ashley Day” and do whatthehellever you please. Tell G to take the kids and be somewhere else. Invite some girlfriends (who may have the same problem) over, and y’all just cook like you were Julia Child or Ina Garten. And don’t forget the damn wine! Maybe you and your friends could make this a monthly event. That would be fun!

  10. Jessica

    I think I would go on strike if I could never cook with onions! I second the notion of having an “Ashley Day” with wine!

  11. dmcco01

    My momma would either make me sit there until I ate it all, or tell me, “I’m not making you anything else. If you don’t like it, you can go make a sandwich.”

  12. Michele

    Wow, I love this. I get soooooo…..tired of designing my grocery list around what a certain little girl will eat. I feel your pain (although I only have one picky eater to contend with). Every dinner is a broken record of “eat your dinner” repeated over and over and over, punctuated by the occasional “use your fork please, sit up straight, knees down”. I think it’s a condition called motherhood.

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