I"m a good cook, you know? I mean, I don't do much measuring and I'm not one for accuracy or precision, but I can count on most of what I make being at least edible. Sometimes it's even scrumptious.
Now, this is a LONG way from when I was in college, and when I was just newly married. LOTS of Ramen. Lots of mac 'n' cheez. Chicken chunks in a hodgepodge of frozen vegetables with some 'cream of-' soup added in.
Blecch. But it sustained me, and my husband would choke some of it down sometimes.
Then came kids. Of course, there was the babyfood and "toddler Gerber overpriced ravioli-like thingies" stages, but beyond that, I wanted to give my kids Good Eating Habits. So, to the mac 'n' cheez, I added frozen spinach (which they LOVED, oddly enough), I fried the bologna slices and wrapped them around rice 'n' cheez, and I even bought mandarin oranges. IN JUICE. I was like frickin' Betty Crocker.
At some point (I can't quite pin it down), I began Cooking. With ingredients. Ingredients that were just plain... ingredients. Like, carrots. And meat. Barley, fer gawd's sake. Brown rice! I even figured out what quinoa was. I had more than one kind of oil in my kitchen! I had more spices than just garlic powder, onion powder (eww!) and paprika for the occasional Deviled Egg. I learned to cook with cumin! Turmeric! I knew a bay leaf from a rosemary leaf. I had a RICER.
Through my evolutions in cooking, my kids have come along for the ride. First, baby food. Then spinach in the mac 'n' cheez. Then Indian food, Spanish, Mexican, Japanese (DIY sushi rolls, anyone?), all sorts of stuff. But inexplicably, every so often, one of my two kids would suddenly cross a food off their internal "Foods I Will Eat Without Bitching About It" list.
First to go was mac 'n' cheez. I tried homemade. I tried the schmancy "liquid cheez in a pouch" kind, I tried the old cheap kind I grew up on and STILL love. Nope.
Then ham. They might have a little on a sandwich, but only if it's not the "sweet" kind (honey ham, honeybaked, brown sugar baked, etc.). And no more Campbell's Chicken and Noodle for the girl. THe boy ONLY likes Campbells' Chicken and Noodle. HE likes their tomato soup, but she won't. No grilled sandwiches for HIM, but ONLY grilled for her.
It goes on and on. No milk for her. But no orange juice for him! Bell peppers: both -- raw, only. She WILL eat pickles, but he won't touch them. Both USED to like plain white rice. Now? Ew.
I'll cook a meal, and just before I announce, "breakfast!" or "dinner's on the table! I get that little clench in my stomach. The 'oh, shit. who's gonna complain THIS time?' feeling. I can make the prettiest pancakes, but if they DO have blueberries, one rolls the eyes. If not, the OTHER one says, 'where are the BLUEBERRIES?"
And then my head explodes.