Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Help, Mario!

Now my sons would immediately think that I'm calling out to Mario, their favorite video game guy. I wish they could be as dedicated to their studies as they are to zooming around the Wii racecourse playing Mario Kart. Anyway, my Mario hangs out in the kitchen.

Over my toaster oven, there is a caricature-type picture of a chef preparing a pizza. With a self-satisfied smirk on his face, this chef proudly wears a very long, twirly mustache. Once my kids saw the picture, they all agreed that he should be named, "Mario, the Pizza Guy". Being of Italian descent, my husband immediately tried to put on an Italian accent to give Mario a personality to entertain the kids. After what seemed like a very long 2 minute impersonation, my husband retired from the kitchen and seemed to forget all about Mario. The kids also moved on to probably something with flashing lights and buttons. Mario officially became part of Mommy's world in the kitchen.

The kitchen has definitely become my hangout. Besides making meals and getting snacks, I also get my paperwork done at the kitchen table. That's a good place to look if you need to find me during the day. I probably see Mario more often than my husband on a typical week day. Now I know that I'm chained to the kitchen when I make that comment :) Anyway, every morning the same question pops into my head: What am I going to make for dinner tonight? Out of habit, I look up at my muse, Mario and hope for some culinary inspiration. Usually, he's not too much help. My kids tell me to follow Mario's lead and have pizza every night. Good try kids.

If I only had to feed myself, it would be so easy. I could try out new recipes, play around with new ingredients and probably knock out a tasty dish. Most of my crowd are very cautious about experimenting with new recipes. My conservative husband likes to know what is hitting his plate. Two out of four kids are very picky eaters. So they are tough to please to say the least. If I go with one of our usual standby meals, I'll often hear from the peanut gallery: "Chicken again?" or "Didn't we just have this three days ago?" It is an uphill battle everyday.

I'm anxious to try out some new recipes that I have found from Food Network and some great blogs. I think I need to put in a new approach to slowly spoon feeding new foods into my meal plan. Since I feel like I'm running a diner some days, I have no problem putting together 2 meals once in a while. I'll make one to hopefully please most of the crowd, and I'll make another new recipe for me to sample. Maybe certain, intriguing aromas from a new dish will spark some interest with the rest of the gang. At least, I'll get a chance to add some variety to my recipe collection. I want to be a better cook. Doing two meals will add to the chaos of my kitchen. I think my culinary "confidence" will increase as I add new techniques and flavors to my cooking. Who knows? Maybe Mario won't be the only self-satisfied cook in my kitchen after all :)


T Rex Mom said...

I think I need to get a Mario! I practically live in the kitchen - I can so relate. Thanks for the posting.

Joanne said...

Oh the dreaded "What's for dinner?" question! I'm not too much of a cook, so I'm always on the lookout for easy to prepare dinners. I'd probably listen to Mario every now and then, pizza night! Good luck, if you come across some simple new ideas, feel free to share!

CDB said...

Mario the Muse.. I love it! The kitchen is my hangout too, my laptop is on the kitchen table and we walk through here to get outside to the back yard. It's the center of my toddler's universe.

I struggle trying to come up with easy (but good) meals as well.. there are GREAT foodie blogs out there, you might try checking those out! (Like we need more excuses to blog..)

Anonymous said...

good luck on your culinary exploring! finding new recipes intrigues me, yet i find it hard to branch out AND try those new recipes. plus, honestly, i get a bit lazy. i try to plan out 2 weeks of meals...that way i don't have to worry around 4 what we are having for dinner. they are not fancy...but they feed the fam!

The Write Girl said...

I remember playing Mario. Fun times! This makes me think of Ratatouille when Remy receives inspiration from the Little Chef. I am sure you will make awesome recipes for the family.

Also, I remember last year Jerry Seinfield's wife came out with this cookbook. She created recipes with healthier ingredients cooked into meals her kids love. I guess they didn't know it was healthy : ) Well, just a thought in case you were interested.

judith ellis said...

Nice post. Thank you for that. Kids can indeed be picky eaters. Colors and shapes can delight or offend their sensitive sensibilities. It need not even touch their mouths. I remember my young nephew shaking his head "no" even before the spoon got to his mouth. He seemed to have a particular aversion to green foods.

Michelle said...

Good luck. I have that issue sometimes with the wee ones. I don't make two meals though. I make MY meal... and they have to chew and swallow at least one bite (see, the miso chicken would have been a FAIL without that rule). If they genuinely don't like it, they get plain food that they'll eat but don't love (e.g., chicken nuggets or PB&J). But my husband is really good about eating ANYthing. Good luck to you!

Oh, and I've also found that when I have the wee ones help me make the meal, I'm far more likely to have success with them eating it and liking it. Not always, but an improvement at least.

And hey, if you're cooking... at least you need to be satisfied, right?!

rightonmom said...

I need a Mario. I practically live in my kitchen, they'll probably bury me there. I've got a picky one too..funzie!

Thanks for stoppng by yesterday. I know it was a lot of stuff to swallow. I hate the 'business' side of writing sometimes, but I guess all part of the package.

H.K. said...

I am on the same boat as you! I tell my family they take the joy out of cooking because they either have food allergies or are picky eaters, which doesn't leave alot of options.

Check out this awesome website called "Mom on the Run" website address or another food blog "Food Snob" at