Be VERY Careful What You Ask Your Teen Daughter

Be Very Careful What You Ask Your Teen Daughter!  #funny #cook #crockpot #turkey #humor #parenting

So then…I take a bite of Pralines & Cream at our little neighborhood Baskin-Robbins shop and ask my daughter Chloe, age 13, “So what do you think I should cook for dinner when the Donnellys come over Saturday?”

She nearly chokes on her Oreo 31 Below.

I shoot her a sharp glance.

She tries to recover quickly.

She loves me dearly but knows that cooking is not my forte.

“Um…let’s see,” she stalls. “There are lots of things you could make…um…”

“Well, what do you like that I cook?” I ask.

“Oh, I love your cookies and cakes and brownies and—”

“No, not what I bake. What I cook. What do you like that I cook?

She pales.

To be fair, my cooking repertoire IS fairly limited. I’m a woman of many talents, gifts, and skills (FAR too many to detail here) – but cooking’s not one of them. In fact, the main reason I’m asking her opinion is that I’m a bit anxious about cooking for the Donnelly family (or anyone, for that matter.) For potlucks, I always bake dessert. For my own dinner parties, I often order in or even (gasp) cater for the special occasions!

I’ve long envied the women who can whip up a delicious meal on a moment’s notice with the ingredients already in their pantry and fridge. I could try that – but it’d need to be meal that includes the typical staples in my house (Nestles chocolate morsels, mayonnaise, peanut butter, and delicious cheeses.)

My other cooking issue is that I have a fanatical fear of undercooking the meat. It probably stems from the first turkey I ever tried to cook — it simply WOULD.NOT.COOK. It was in that oven for hours and hours and hours – and no matter what, it never fully cooked. Honestly, it was traumatizing! The next year, I even ordered a PRE-COOKED turkey so all I had to do was heat it up — and it STILL didn’t cook through! Ever since then, I ensure we invite cooking relatives to our house for Thanksgiving — or invite ourselves to their homes. We’re working our way across America for each Thanksgiving and will probably be at your home soon.

So this is why I always order steaks/burgers/fish/etc well done at restaurants. And this is why I started crock-potting. Because if you put something in there at 8 am, it’s usually cooked through by 6 pm. In fact, some might say a little TOO cooked through. (And to them I say, “Well, fine, more for me, my friend. Help yo’self to the peanut butter and delicious cheeses.”)

Actually I make a fabulous tuna casserole.

My daughter Chloe abhors tuna.

She ate it maybe ONE time when she was about 5 – and to this day, anytime she can’t readily identify what I serve her, she’ll suspiciously ask me, “Is this tuna?

“No!” I’ll say. She’ll poke it a bit, and ask plaintively, “Are you sure it’s not tuna?” As if I were serving her potentially poisonous pufferfish!

Honestly, I’ve never served that child tuna again since she was 5 – but she asks me at least once a month, with an accusatory tone, “Is this tuna?”

Add to this that Chloe’s a picky eater, so there isn’t much that she likes anyway. (Of course, her being a picky eater MIGHT be related to my culinary malfeasance…)

So you can see that this innocent conversation about what to serve the Donnellys on Saturday is a virtual minefield that Chloe’s trying to tiptoe through, so as not to offend my feelings – or God forbid, trigger a tuna dish.

“Well,” she says, “I like your porkchops.” (crock pot recipe)

“Yes, go on.”

“Um, I like your French Dip beef.” (crock pot recipe)

“And what else?” I ask.

“Um, your green bean casserole?”

“What!? You never eat my green bean casserole!” I say.

“Yeah, but I’ve heard it’s really good!” she says brightly.

“From whom?” I ask skeptically.

“From you!” she says.

“Oh, for God’s sake. Seriously? After all these years, that’s all you can come up with?” I ask.

“Well, I was gonna say, ‘You open a mean can of corn,’ but I didn’t want to offend.”

I bust out laughing. “Chloe!”

“Or ‘you order Honeybaked Ham well,’” she offers.

We both guffaw.

She’s right, of course. And she does love her some corn (as evidenced in the Embarrassing Book Club Incident)

We finish our ice cream and finalize the menu for Saturday:

crockpot chicken,
green bean casserole,
canned corn –
and 3 – count ‘em, 3 – scrumptious homemade baked desserts!
Get ready, Donnellys, you’re in for a treat!

— Darcy Perdu

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(Is your child terrified of tuna? Or some other innocuous food? Are you a culinary master — or more of a baker like me? Can we come to your house for Thanksgiving this year?)

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67 replies on “Be VERY Careful What You Ask Your Teen Daughter

    • Ha! I would happily eat Banana Cream Pie for every meal!
      I wish desserts were acceptable fare for all meals because then I’d be considered a gourmet!

  1. As a Sicilian raised in a cooking frenzied home, I should be next in line for Paula Deen’s job, but alas, here I stand with my crock pot and microwave! I feel you on this!
    Jenn – Mommy Needs a Martini recently posted..The Day I Met JacobMy Profile

    • Glad I’m not alone, Jenn! Thank God for crockpots and microwaves!

  2. Those lucky Donnellys. It all sounds delicious. And the first time I made a turkey I knew NOTHING about a bag full of necks and gizzards being stuffed into a cavity that I would never have dreamed of touching. BTW those bags are fire proof.

    • That’s so funny! They should put a HUGE sign on every turkey alerting you to that little bag of mystery bits!
      I can’t believe you cooked them right in the bag in the turkey! That’s hysterical!

  3. Judy said:

    I like that you suggest that Chloe being a picky eater might be due to your culinary prowess, or lack thereof. People often talk of how I was such a picky eater as a kid, but holy shit… did anyone ever eat what my mom was serving?! She could open a mean can of corn too (and thank god so I’d have something to eat). Later in life she blamed my dad. “I cooked what he liked the way he liked it.” Seriously mom, I think he was being nice. No man wants to eat cardboard.

    • Laughed out loud at your comment — “did anyone ever eat what my mom was serving?” No wonder you were a picky eater!
      Thank God for canned corn! You were like a little mini-survivalist in your own house! Ha!

    • malibou said:

      When I complained to my mom that my son is a picky eater, she had the audacity to accuse me of being one. Hello woman, you made the worst meat loaf ever. And she made it weekly. Gah. I can’t eat it to this day. And her never ending challenge to “make a pound of hamburger feed 7 people”. Faaaawk, don’t even get me started.

      My mom is remarried to someone that loves to cook. Lucky. Oh, she never taught us to cook, because she disliked it so much that she didn’t think she could teach us and be nice about it.

      I hate to cook, and love to bake. I’m still making cakes for the cake walk at my son’s elementary school that he has been out of for 2 years now.

      • Oh yes! My mom also tried to feed a family of 7 with 1 pound of hamburger meat! She’d pour in a billion boxes of Hamburger Helper to try to stretch that beef out! So funny! And I swear she’d use ONE can of tuna in her tuna casserole for SEVEN people! But somehow it worked. I think appetites have become so much bigger now. When I was a teen, my whole dinner might be one of those individual Swanson chicken pot pies. As an adult, I can inhale one of those pot pies in a single snort and say, “Yum. I would like 5 or 6 more of these little appetizers, then what’s for dinner?”

  4. Oh my god. You could be my mother. Hamburgers when I was growing up? Cooked, no charred, beyond recognition and slapped between two pieces of day old white bread. Relish? Pickles? Ketchup? Hello. What are they?
    Kelly McKenzie recently posted..Sew Glad My Daughter Got That GeneMy Profile

    • Ha! Sounds like your Mom was trained by military cooks in a war zone — “We ain’t got time for relish and pickles! Eat your burnt meat and get back out there!”

  5. I dearly love to cook, and am, frankly a very good one. My late husband – well, it’s a wonder he ever got off mother’s milk. If he hadn’t eaten it before, he didn’t like it. (Before you ask, he *did* die a natural death.)

    The Squire, on the other hand, will eat anything. “What do you want for dinner?” He’ll grab a cookbook off the shelf, drop it on the counter, and whatever page falls open, he wants me to fix that. We’ve had some marvelous adventures along the way, plus a few let’s-not-do-that-one agains.

    And, yes, you may come to our house any time – but be warned; we’re vegetarians.

    • Life with the Squire sounds like a great adventure! And he’s lucky you’re such a good cook! I love the “open the cookbook and make a recipe at random” idea! Very cool!

    • She is pretty funny, that child o’ mine.
      And she’s pretty considerate. So I restrain myself from sneaking tuna into her chicken casserole…

  6. AinOakPark said:

    Well, you actually only need to perfect two recipes – one for fall/winter and one for spring/summer. Make it a casserole of some sort and then just do salad and bread with it.

    But I DO feel your pain/anxiety. When I cook meat I tell people, “I’d ask how you like your meat, but it’s pointless because the answer has to be, ‘however it comes out’.”

    My mother-in-law used to serve gravy with the comment, “One lump or two?”

  7. There are so many gems in this story, but I think my fave is “More for me, my friend. Help yo’self to the peanut butter and delicious cheeses!” Thanks for the laugh! I grew up with a mom and grandma who made macaroni and poured tomato sauce over it. So I was inspired to learn to bake and cook. But here’s my fail-safe suggestion. My friends call me the Pesto Queen (see… I was royalty already), because before moving to Florida, I grew about 30 basil plants and constantly made so much pesto, I’d ring friends’ doorbells to give them dinner. You don’t cook pesto, but it’s really impressive (and it has delicious cheeses in it!) It’s just basil, olive oil, salt, finely grated cheese, massive amounts of garlic and pinenuts!) I can give you the recipe, if basil is available at your market. All you have to cook is the pasta and a garlic bread. And I’ve NEVER known anyone to not go for seconds! Tried and true!
    Parri Sontag (Her Royal Thighness) recently posted..The Man Who Knows His Way to My HeartMy Profile

    • Recipe — yes please! That sounds delicious, Pesto Queen!

  8. I’m a cook, not a baker, so I have the exact opposite anxieties. Like, tonight I don’t have much in my pantry or fridge and I can’t go shopping until tomorrow, so I’ve just got to wing it. We’re having salmon cakes with polenta and carrots and mock hollandaise. It sounds fancy, right? Hahaha it’s seriously the cheatingest meal I make, and it kept in reserve just for these occasions. One step up from hot dogs and baked beans, really.

    But with the baking? I can make chocolate chip cookies and peanut butter cookies and brownies from a box. I would LOVE to be able to make a pie, but the crust eludes me. I finally managed to make edible sandwich bread, which is kind of silly considering how much of bread baking is literally doing nothing.

    Also, crock pots are magic. One of my family’s favorite dinners is short ribs and stew meat in a crock pot with some kal bi marinade, over rice and with carrots. Oh god we eat so many carrots over here because they keep in the fridge basically forever and I am so lazy.

    Good luck with dinner! And I can relate to the never asking your kids anything. I seriously do NOT want to know what my fourteen year old has to say about my momming skills. heh.
    celeste recently posted..I Watched #ReturnToZero Alone and Was Held the Entire TimeMy Profile

    • Celeste, we need to combine our specialties and throw a dinner party!
      You do the cooking — I’ll do the baking — and I’ll also do the eating. I’m fabulous at the eating!
      The short ribs with marinade sounds amazing!
      And I agree with you — don’t ever ask a 14-year-old boy ANYTHING!

  9. Julie said:

    I feel your pain! It’s a job just to feed my crew, the boy usually answers “food” when asked for a suggestion. Yep. I did just find a great artichoke parm chicken recipe. Incredibly fast, easy, and delish. I felt like a actually “made” a main course. mix 1/4 cup mayo, parm and a can of chopped artichoke hearts with a pinch of garlic pepper. spoon over chicken and bake 35-40 min.

    You got a gem there with Chloe!

    • Julie, thanks for the recipe. That sounds like something I can handle! And it involves mayo, which is in abundance over here! And we love delicious cheeses!

      • AinOakPark said:

        OMG!!! That’s genius!! It’s just artichoke dip baked on top of the chicken!!! THIS is the recipe for you, Darcy!! You learn ONE recipe and you can use it if you need to take an appetizer somewhere, OR serve a main course!

      • Julie said:

        1/4 cup of mayo 1/4 cup grated parm.

        and P.S. You are welcome at my home anytime Darcy! :D

  10. I’m the cook of the family and I’m spectacular if I do say so myself. My fatal flaw is also fear of under-cooking but I found a way to beat it by using a “sacrificial lamb” technique. So if I’m cooking chicken breast, say, I’ll ruin one of them by cutting it in half, then half again, to check when it’s done.

    Oh and I always broil fish!

    • Ooo, good idea on the sacrificial lamb approach! And since that one is “ruined” — I assume, to the victor (cook), go the spoils?

      • Judy said:

        I totally second the sacrificial lamb technique! The next part of that is if anyone complains their piece is cut into, they get to cook next time!

  11. That sounds like a lovely dinner! Cheers-ing a can o’ corn to you! I’ve learned to boil the ears of corn and considered THAT quite an accomplishment. My cooking is a big joke around the house, too. I try. And I LOVE me some crockpot! Everyone sighs with relief when they see the crockpot come out :)
    Joy Christi recently posted..Real Role Models. Inspired By #YesAllMy Profile

    • Ha! The crockpot brings smiles at my house too!

  12. Hi Darcy, coming over from Her Royal Thighness, so glad I did! Deliciously funny even if you can’t cook. I’ll make you a deal you bake and I will cook. I can handle anything but the oven! Everything that comes out looks like the remains from a crematory. Thanks for making me laugh!

    • Thanks for visiting, Rena! So glad Her Royal Thigness sent you my way. She’s my roommate at an upcoming writer’s conference — she’s so funny! And yes, I will happily be your dessert chef! :o)

  13. Bea said:

    I am also a much, much better baker than a cook. I’ve been baking since I was a little kid and LOVE it! Cooking, though . . . I can cook enough things that aren’t desserts to keep myself fed and out of a diabetic coma, but for anything more complicated than spaghetti I need a recipe, and would really just rather someone else do it. I’ve also been a vegetarian for years, so I’ve never really learned to cook meat. The few times I’ve tried cooking it for other people, I’ve totally had your same fear about undercooking it! But hey, I’d rather serve someone dry chicken than give them salmonella any day.

    • Exactly, Bea! I went to a dinner party where the chicken was under-cooked and I was scared to eat it! I’d much rather serve shoe leather than under-cooked meat! P.S. I laughed at your line about cooking just enough to avoid a diabetic coma! Ha!

  14. I can cook well, but I can’t bake. Everything that I’ve tried to bake came out all wrong. If I throw in the cake mix into the oven, it will come out runnier than before. The same thing with cookies! Last month when I tried to bake some cookies, I dropped the batter onto the baking sheets spoonful after the other and somehow in the oven they mixed together and became a giant I-don’t-know-what-shape-it-was cookies. Ugh.

    Wait. Maybe we can team up and be the greatest kitchen partners! Hallelujah!

    • Yes, Wann! We’re a match made in heaven — you cook and I’ll bake!
      That’s so funny that you accidentally made one GIANT cookie!

  15. Haha, you still cook many MANY more items than I do! I don’t even know what defines a casserole…

    • LOL! Casserole = 3 or more ingredients (at least one of which is unidentifiable) mixed together in big container and baked in an oven.
      If two of the ingredients are pasta and cheese, you have a home run! :o)

  16. This is why I never have people over for dinner AND why I never ask my kids what I should cook. I don’t like to cook but am passable…no one in my house is starving. But! Every time I think I’m doing a pretty good job, my husband will cook something phenomenal and put me to shame. And just smile at me across the table while everyone raves about how good it is.
    See, now I’m just depressed….
    Good luck with dinner :)
    Sandy Ramsey recently posted..Six Ways I Practice Being HumanMy Profile

    • Sandy, I say you need to encourage that behavior of your husband. Give him all the accolades he wants — keep him cookin’! :o)

  17. Paul said:

    Ha! Great post Darcy! My Mum – God bless her soul – who mastered much in her life, was the most amazing cook. She created meals that were indescribable with a mixture of talents that never ceased to amaze. She had no lack of desire or energy and rarely, if ever, created anything edible. She almost succeeded once with tuna casserole, but unfortunately had cooked it in a plastic pot – which, oddly enough, melted into the casserole to create a very visually attractive end product that seemed to protect the tuna much as Star Trek’s screens protect the ship. This did not add to the edibility. Her pies did taste good but the only way to know that was to scrape them off the inside of the oven. I was in my 20’s before I realized that porkchops were not supposed to be black with the consistency of beef jerky and taste like charcoal.

    This is not to denigrate her abilities but rather to give some idea of the environment in which my own cooking skills developed. I can burn tomato soup with the best of them. In a tribute to Mum’s pies, I taught myself to cook sausages in a microwave – but removing the plate only retrieves half or less of the sausages from the unit. The rest has to be removed with a strong household cleaner from the interior walls.

    All that to say Darcy, that I bow down to your sklls with a crock pot and a can of corn. I can only hope that one day in my future I shall be as skilled as you.

    • I love the way you describe your mum’s culinary enthusiasm and energy (albeit with disastrous results!) And I see the apple does not fall far from the tree, based on your sausage and tomato soup experience! Get thee a can of corn, my friend!

  18. Lynn N. said:

    I’m a baker as well. I have no doubts in my sweets, but when it comes time to make an actual meal for others, I panic.

    I’m the same way, well done meat means no praying to the porcelain gods, but apparently not everyone is a fan of charred to a crisp chicken and steak.

    • I’m so glad I’m not alone, Lynn! You and I are kindred spirits!! Bring on the baked goods and charred meats!

  19. I get the same crap here.

    My 16 year old has never sat down to the table and uttered the words, “Wow, this is great!”

    (But let her boil some water and it’s the best damn water ever boiled!)

    It used to reeeeeally bother me, but then I thought, “Hey…you don’t wanna eat what I spend time in the kitchen cooking? Get yourself a nasty old sandwich then.”

    I give up, sister. Just give up sometimes.

    Carrie recently posted..I always win. Even when she’s a jerk and mouthy and makes me want to punch her in the gut. I always win.My Profile

    • Ha! Cassandra suggested that the TEENS do the cooking — which is a fabulous idea. Of course yours might only boil water, so you might be on an unintentional weight loss program over there. But hey, let the teens cook — and we moms can be the indifferent diners and picky judges! Ha!

  20. I was once described by a friend as “the only person I’ve ever met who doesn’t know how to boil water”. Fortunately, my ex started teaching my daughter to cook when she was a tiny thing. Now at 19, she is an amazing cook (and baker). When I have people over, I ask her to do the cooking. Problem solved!

    Cassandra recently posted…Remembering a Misguided Delusion: Trivia Events for Reunions

    • Cassandra, that’s brilliant! I don’t need to stress anymore! I just need to put Chloe in charge of the cooking! LOVE this idea!

  21. Jenn R. said:

    Hey, we’re Turkey Twins! Totally flopped my first Thanksgiving, and the following. I feel like the Swedish Chef when it comes to cooking, and a Le Cordon Bleu superstar when it comes to baking. I guess we can’t be too fabulous, or we’d make others feel bad :)

    • What a wonderful way to look at it! You’re right — if we were also great cooks, it would just be TOO much fabulosity for people to handle! Ha!

  22. Mimi Gin said:

    I make a mean tator tot casserole which my kids loved. It calls for some chopped onion. Onion being one thing my daughter hates. She located said piece of poison in the casserole one day when she was about 8 and refused to take another bite. I began making it with “powdered” onion so the rest of us could enjoy the flavor. Everytime I made it she poked and picked to check for onion chunks. And yes every piece of tator tot became a potential “icky onion”. To this day, she is almost 30, I get the look and “did you use real onion?”

    • Oh Mimi, we need to get our daughters together and serve them ONION TUNA Casserole! They’ll freak out! Ha!

  23. I come from a long line of women who just aren’t great in the kitchen.

    I think I was in my late 40s before I could cook a meal that I wasn’t embarrassed to serve to people outside of my immediate family.

    Although, I too, can open a mean can of veggies.

    Which is actually a lie, the can opener and me don’t get along. Hubs is the one who opens it.

    It feels good to get that off my chest.

    • Let it all out, sister! Can’t cook — can’t operate a can opener — can’t even FIND the kitchen! HA! I can relate! But we have OTHER qualities that are SUPER FABULOUS!! (Not sure what they are right now, but I KNOW we possess them!) :o)

    • Fantastic! I’m there! Turkey’s over-rated. Dessert is where it’s at!

  24. Kristy Rae Stewart said:

    I am with your daughter…tuna is nasty! Well, canned tuna anyway. Ok, I have never actually tried canned tuna, because the smell is so bad that I dry heave! Well, I suppose I did try it once. Years ago I went to a salad bar with my boss and what I thought was shredded chicken actually turned out to be shredded canned tuna. I took one bite and actually puked into my napkin. It was awkward explaining to my boss that I am terrified of canned tuna and even smelling it makes me gag like a cat coughing up a hairball!

    • You and Chloe are soul sisters! Perhaps you can start a support group.
      She’s never experienced the “puke tuna in a napkin in front of the boss” move, but I’m sure it’s only a matter of time! Ha!

    • Linda! I can’t believe some of your crockpot recipes had to be tossed! That’s my one safety place! Ha!

  25. LOL yes I have no idea why I haven’t read the book yet! I grew up watching this version of Pride and Prejudice and I LOVE the characters! When the Kiera Knightly one came out I kept on comparing it to this one. And this one will ALWAYS have a special place in my heart :) I am now headed to ramify this glaring error of mine of having not read the book! Thanks for the post!