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Dad Retires from Cooking Dinner for His Picky Family, Teaching Them (And Us!) a Brilliant Lesson in the Process

Dad Retires from Cooking Dinner for His Picky Family, Teaching Them (And Us!) a Brilliant Lesson in the Process

Part of being a parent is planning and preparing nutritious and (hopefully!) delicious meals for your family. Every single day.

Often, the meals we diligently place on the dinner table don’t cater to everyone’s tastes. Kids can be picky, and unless you specialise in the world’s healthiest chicken nuggets, chips and tomato sauce, a lot of the time those fresh wholesome, tasty meals will be met with scrunched up noses and complaints.

One dad has found the answer to his children’s constant pickiness by declaring his retirement from cooking dinner and providing an alternative evening meal for his kids instead.

The father of four kids, aged between ten and sixteen, took to Reddit to explain his brilliant plan:

I used to love cooking, and I’m good at it (according to objective others, not just myself).

Kids have become so picky that there are literally no meals left that I can make without someone complaining. Spaghetti? I make my sauce with Italian sausage and one kid has decided she hates fennel. One kid has Celiac, which rules out wheat (obviously not her fault) so that makes it harder. One kid hates cheese, which rules out a lot of things. One kid hates chicken. We were safe for a while with tacos until one kid decided she was never eating tacos again.

So tonight, I was standing in the grocery store feeling stupid. Like there’s an entire store full of food, and I’m able to buy anything in the store within reason, and yet somebody will complain about anything I make.

And that’s why, in the middle of that grocery store, I decided to retire from cooking for the family.

I came home with assorted ingredients instead and told the kids we will still provide food but it will now be their responsibility to prepare it for themselves and feed themselves with it.

I was expecting a lot of protests, but nobody said much. After about 30 minutes, they decided I really wasn’t cooking dinner and they actually started feeding themselves. One kid made a turkey and cheese sandwich, one made peanut butter and jelly. The one with Celiac decided to make herself and her sister some noodle soup with rice noodles, chicken stock, and veggies.

If it looks like we’re going to encounter nutritional deficiencies, I guess we’ll address that as it comes up, but so far I’m pleased with the results of Night One.

Will post future updates if anyone’s interested.

Oh, and interested we were! How would this exciting new idea pan out? Might it work for us too? Obviously, our children would have to be old enough to prepare their own basic meals, but this dad’s devilish plan might just work, providing a glimmer of hope for fed-up parents everywhere!

Happily, the dad, known only by his Reddit username “BabyHooey”, responded with his findings a few weeks later, updating his original post as follows:

Short version of the original story: Kids (teens and preteens) had turned into picky little shits and complained about every meal I cooked, so I announced I was retiring from cooking for the family.

The update:

For about two weeks, everyone lived off of sandwiches and cereal. At about that point, I started cooking for myself and my wife only, things that we like to eat and cook.

Eventually, one kid said, “That smells really good, can I have some?” I said that I only made enough for the two of us, but if they’d like some of tomorrow’s dinner, let me know and I can make extra. I was expecting “what’s tomorrow’s dinner” but instead I got, “yes, please, anything’s better than more sandwiches.”

All of them eventually followed suit. I’m back to cooking for six, but I’m making whatever I want to make. If anyone has a problem with it, there’s sandwiches or cereal. And surprisingly, sandwiches and cereal are being chosen very rarely.

So the retirement didn’t last long, but the temporary strike seems to have solved the problem that led to my premature retirement, so I’m good with it.

Bravo, sir. You are indeed a hero worthy of all the praise from every frustrated parent challenged by their picky children nightly.

Excellent work!


You can read the responses to BabyHooey’s original post here, and his update here.

Jill Slater

Jill Slater

Jill is a busy wife and mother of four young children. She loves nothing more than making people giggle, and loves to settle in with a glass of wine (or four) and wander about the internet. Feel free to follow her to see all the cool stuff she finds!

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