Nobody Cares What You Like

This is purely an old person “get off my lawn” discussion, but I am fascinated when I see kids get asked what they want to eat for dinner and then get cooked separate meals from everybody else at the table.

You know what we ate for dinner when I was a kid?  Whatever my mother was making that night.  If you had a dissenting opinion, you could feel free to either go hungry or arrange to eat at a friend’s house that night.

For instance, I don’t like ham.  Never have.  I think it tastes and has the texture of what I imagine human flesh carved up and served on a plate would taste like.  If I have to eat it, I will gag.  I will involuntarily heave.  I literally cannot force it down.  Growing up, one of my friends didn’t like ham, either.  So what did we do?  She and I drafted the following reciprocal agreement in order to address our shared issue:

If my mother was making ham, I would eat dinner at her house that night.  If her mother was making ham, she would eat dinner at my house that night.

I believe they call that “learning priceless problem-solving skills” and charge like $1,500 nowadays for a workshop to learn them.

Granted, we did have that one night where both of our mothers were coincidentally making ham, but that was the night we learned that sometimes life is just out to kick you in the taco and there’s nothing you can do about it.  Yet another life lesson!

I can tell you for damn sure what none of the mothers in my neighborhood were doing.  They weren’t cooking four different meals to suit everyone’s tastes each night.

I can’t even imagine how hard my mother would have laughed if I’d said, “Oh, hey.  I know you’ve been at work all day at your crappy, low pay, high stress job that you hate, and I know that you’re making sloppy joes for everyone else, standing in front of the stove still wearing your work clothes, but can you make me chicken fingers instead?  You know, just for me?”

You would still hear that laughter today, echoing through eternity, bending space and time in its wake.  I would have never lived that down.  That would be a story that was passed down to all future generations:

“Can you believe she thought I would make an entirely separate meal just for her?  Why stop there?  Why not ask for your own castle and unicorn?!  Her own dinner!  Sure thing, Jackie O!  I’ll get right on that!”

Same goes for stopping at multiple fast food places.  If I’d said to my mother, “I know everyone else is getting Burger King, but can you make an extra stop so I can get some Wendy’s?” she would have just lost control of the car and driven into a lake, she would have become so delirious with laughter.

You knew better than to complain about your lack of fast food choices.  You were lucky when you got fast food at all, and not the frozen cube steaks and sauerkraut Mom forgot to take out to thaw that morning.  You’re gonna get picky about the fast food?  Oh, that’s rich.  Why not get picky about free candy on Halloween while you’re at it?  Get picky about the denomination of bills in a birthday card!  But I wanted fives!!!


It wasn’t because my mother was a harsh parent – far from it.  It’s because dinner was an event that was grounded in facts.  Dinner = whatever Mom was making that night.  That was a fact.  The idea that children might have been permitted to have an opinion on the matter was totally unheard of.  It never even crossed my mind.  Did I have an opinion on whether she should pay the property taxes quarterly or once a year?  Nope!  Because my opinion wasn’t relevant to the matter.

The same way that your opinion is irrelevant as to whether the sky is blue or the sun rises in the east.  If you have issues with these things, you better find a way to deal with them, because the sun ain’t rising in the west just for you, babycakes.  You’re not entitled to have the world skitter around your likes and dislikes because, I can assure you, absolutely nobody is as concerned about your likes and dislikes as you are.

If you care 100%, then the rest of the world cares negative 500,000,000%.

Nobody cares what you like – and we all need to come to terms with that.

Like Mom used to tell me, “You are so special…” and then she’d pause and say “…juuuust like everybody else.”

That’s not only accurate, but will sure as hell keep you humble, too.

Sometimes you have to eat something for dinner that you’re not crazy about.  What can I tell you?  Life is hard, kid.  It’s one meal.  Either force it down or load up on side dishes that night.

Now get off my lawn.

42 thoughts on “Nobody Cares What You Like

  1. YES. I was recently talking to my husband about some statistic I read about how few people actually enjoy cooking (when it’s basically what we live for) and he poured me another glass of wine and raised a toast to the fact that we don’t have to cook for tiny little parasites.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I’m fortunate that (a) I don’t have kids, and (b) my husband loves to cook. I’m probably the worst cook in the world, but 99% of it is just because I’m so lazy about it. I don’t even bother heating up leftovers, or putting them on a plate. I just eat cold mashed potatoes over the sink and call it a meal.

      Liked by 2 people

    1. I tell ya, kids these days with their “specialness”. And by kids I mean pretty much anybody under 35. The millennials at my office never cease to amaze me with how much they think people give a shit about their likes and dislikes. NOBODY CARES, TAYLOR.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. That was the glory of old school cameras and film. You had to be really, really sure before you hit the shutter button. No taking a hundred angles and then picking the best one. Film was expensive as hell!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I so love hearing infants under 35 saying how they ‘deserve (insert unrealistic object/goal’) because they’ve worked since blah blah – maybe 10 years? Sweatpea, I had my FIRST real vacation, farther than 30 miles from birthplace, at the age of 50. I still didn’t feel like I deserved it. I was FIFTY and worked since I was 14. Lived on my own 3 months after turning 18, nope, parents were not able to ‘help’. I OWN my shit. All of it, good, bad and so very much ugly. Lots and lots of fugly. When they grow up and have incredibly selfish spawn who still suck off their, uh, money! Yes, that’s what I was going to say, maybe then they will wise up. Too late, too bad, so sad.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I’m amazed at how much stuff parents still pay for – for their kids in their 30s even! Car insurance, cellphone bills – neither one of my parents would have gone for that! They would have directed me to the nearest bus pass and payphone. 😂

        Liked by 1 person

  2. You know that the reason that surgeons use pig parts (heart valves, etc.) as replacement for human parts is that they are so similar. Having never (to the best of my knowledge, thanks Fried Green Tomatoes) eaten human flesh I really don’t know about the taste and texture and no, I don’t want to know.
    Feeding a kid something different from the rest of the family was not even a concept when I was a kid which was probably about the same time your mother was a kid. I didn’t always like what we ate, but the alternative wasn’t to eat nothing it was , “Eat your damned dinner!”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. An excellent point on the pig parts – and I forgot about the BBQ in Fried Green Tomatoes! I should give it a re-watch, it’s been a lot of years. It’s probably a lot darker than I remember! The scene that always sticks out first in my mind is Kathy Bates smashing her car into that other car over and over while laughing.

      Liked by 3 people

  3. Sometimes you were also required to sit at the table until you ate whatever it was. Voicing an opinion would not improve your situation.
    Worse yet, if uneaten, it could reappear in the morning a la Mommy Dearest.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Thank you, Jeffrey Dahmer, for ruining ham for me, like forever! Oh my gosh. Never occurred to me to consider how close ham is to human flesh.

    We never got to pass on a dinner. Ever. My kids grew up the same way – eat it or have nothing. Luckily my kids are eaters. My sister’s kids would just eat the bun not the hot dog. My kids would look at me with wide eyes and then say, Can I have his hot dog too?

    My husband and I liked to remind our crew that trophies should not be handed out to everyone. We always pointed out who had the most talent on the team and it was OK if it was not our kid. I also liked to point out the butt-head kids who might have been the best of the team AND acted like they knew it. We made fun of those kids. Coach is famous for yelling ‘HUMILITY!’ to our kids if he hears them telling each other: ‘Yeah, well I scored 5 baskets tonight.’

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I love that! HUMILITY! Of course, given the closeness of humans and ham, I might change it to HAMILITY!

      I apologize immediately for that particular outburst. It couldn’t be helped. I also apologize for imagining that the entire cast of Hamilton should be played by pigs in clothes.

      I clearly cannot be stopped with this ham thing.

      Liked by 3 people

  5. Yes, this! My friends all have kids, and they’re so picky.

    Our dinners when I was young went like this:

    Day 1: We would chop and prep veggies or meat (things like cutting apart a chicken which can be done without supervision), and when Mom got home from school she’d cook it. We made huge batches. Mom and dad alternated cooking, but us kids did all the prep.

    Day 2 – 4: Leftovers. I like them cold, but everyone else would heat them up.

    Day 5: Rinse and repeat.

    Dinner was served at the table and only at the table. If we didn’t like what she was cooking, tough. I hate my mom’s chili because it’s so mild it’s tasteless and it’s always served over rice to stretch it. I was SO HAPPY for the first ten minutes of realizing I could cook whatever I wanted in my own house.

    Then I remembered that I never learned how to cook, only how to prep, and my cooking is awful.

    But there’s no one in my house saying I can’t eat cereal three times a day, so…

    Liked by 3 people

    1. This is such a fantastic way to cook for a family – get all of the work out of the way in one shot and then heat stuff up for the rest of the week. It’s so much easier than having to cook every night – and you all had to pitch in! A+ in my book.

      Cereal used to be one of my favorite meals as an adult, until I had to start cutting out carbs. But ohhh. Cereal. I would eat an entire box of Raisin Bran right now if someone put it in front of me. I haven’t had it in YEARS!

      Liked by 2 people

  6. I’m going to add to the comment made by Ernie, but I’m going to thank you Hannibal Lector for ruining ham, in my mind and mouth. What do I have for lunch today? A damned ham and Swiss on rye….

    Other than that I’m going to have to agree with you, we came from similar households, that if I even remotely complained about dinner, I’d either 1) get the taste slapped out of my mouth or 2) told to go hungry or 3) go eat somewhere else. Which of course was hard since all my friends moms made around the same thing my mom would make. Growing up in Hispanic/Latin/Mexican-American household it was always something Mexican in nature. Which would include (but not limited to) rice, beans, meat of some sort, enchiladas on Fridays, soup on Saturdays, tacos, flautas, kidney’s in red or green chile sauce, liver in chile sauce, tripe in chile sauce….everything in chile sauce.

    On special occasions we’d have spaghetti or lasagna or something other than Mexican food. So, these kids today I mean WTF? I remember going two days without eating because all my mom told me was “We’re eating this tonight and if we have left overs we’re eating it again tomorrow” so I was like, that’s okay I have a stash of Starbursts and a small bag of peanuts in my room, I won’t go hungry.

    By the way, don’t mix Starbursts and peanuts with alcohol it will make you violently sick….lol. Great post as always Maggie! You rock girl!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s too bad we didn’t live near each other – we could have traded back and forth to each other’s houses for dinner. You could have chicken with Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom soup/gravy at my house and I could have enchiladas at yours! The closest thing we had to Mexican food was browned ground beef crumbled over store-brand Tostitos. We were so Anglo we actually called this concoction “tacos”. Tacos!

      Starburst with peanuts sounds like a fine, salty/sweet perimenopausal snack to me – like salted caramels but with a youthful flair. I’ll just have to alternate days with alcohol!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. We never even bothered to ask what was for dinner at our place. It was, as you say, whatever mum happened to find edible in the cupboard (sometimes bread and jam)! But here we are, many years later and with me being vegan and the other half not – the dilemma is real. If it can go in the oven and doesn’t require me to get closer to it than tongs, I put it in the oven – however, the drama plays out each and every night and I am getting so fed up with it. BTW, you are so right about Ham – revolting thought. Great post, thanks Maggie.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I have a similar situation with my husband, but he’s vegetarian and I’m (mostly) paleo! Luckily we’ve found enough restaurants in our area with options for both of us, but if he were vegan rather than vegetarian, we would be totally screwed! It’s so hard to find vegan stuff in places that also serve burgers!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I have been forced to eat vegetarian rather than vegan on a few evenings out (wouldn’t like to make anyone feel awkward while they tuck into their plate of dead animal would I)! I usually opt for a pasta dish with vegetable sauce. Vegans are being catered for more and more here in Australia and it is a growing trend (one option per menu mind, we don’t want to get too excited).

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Okay, okay, how ’bout this scenario? Princess was a ridiculously picky eater when she was young. I did refuse to make her a separate meal. However, what I would do was set aside plain parts of the meal as it was being assembled for her. i.e. chicken casserole for everybody, and a bit of plain chicken, a scoop of plain noodles and a side of shredded cheddar for her. No additional work for me and she would actually eat. She was/is one of those stubborn kids who I had no doubt would have actually starved herself if she had been allowed to. My other 2 and hubby would eat just about anything, praise the Lord. (P.S. Princess eats just about everything these days, so not fighting it ended up working out on that particular battlefront. And yes, I do cross my fingers that she births a finicky eater herself someday…) So, clever problem-solver, or blatant pushover? You make the call.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Clever. No extra work. Just separating before mixing. There was no choosing dinner when I was a kid either. And if we didn’t clean our plate, we heard about the starving children in China. While stuffing myself to bursting I pondered how my overfilled stomach was helping them out and wishing I could just ship it to them. Guilt. The best motivator. Sometimes, if my mom was not paying attention, my dad would help out the kids in China. Best. Dad. EVER!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I was raised in that old school “Eat what I put before you and don’t leave the table until it’s finished”. I was full of anxiety as a kid and had constant stomachaches, so I was never able to eat much in the first place. My parents took me to the doctor who said, “If she doesn’t eat what you give her, send her to bed without anything else–she’ll learn to eat rather than starve.” As a result, I ended up terrified of dinner time, which led to even more problems. When my own daughter was little and she didn’t like the adult food, I made her something else because I never wanted her to feel the way I did about food. Now that she’s an adult, she’ll eat pretty much anything, just like me lol!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. It’s an interesting time we live in. I’m sure I could find somebody a thousand miles away and have an argument over something they would fight for. Or I could have as many friends as I want by simply agreeing. We are interesting, aren’t we. As for dinner, I have one kid who doesn’t like green beans. Simple solution: We give her carrots. Sometimes bending a little is worth it. Fun topic. Happy I found your site.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. so glad I’m vegan now… #bantheham and that hubby & kids are too, although I totally get that whole restaurant struggle. Everyone we know doesn’t realize that have ONE vegan option for all five of us is just …. sigh…. “Yes, we’ll all have the veggie burger… oh, it’s held together with egg? No worries. we’ll all have salad. Yes, please hold the cheese.”

    OH – but my REAL comment was that one time my mom decided to take us for fast food and there were both a McDonald’s and a Burger King. Right at the highway exit there was a rotary (roundabout / traffic circle). My sister and I could NOT agree on which it was to be. She vehemently cried McDonald’s as I threateningly screamed Burger King. My mom drove that rotary like 5 times, kept saying she’d just drive back home if one of us didn’t give in. We didn’t give in. We also didn’t eat that night.

    And last, my oldest son hates avocado (not sure he’s mine?) so we do the separating thing for him too.

    Liked by 1 person

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