(Warning -- this is a free-form stream of consciousness post, and since it's from my point of view, may not be very fair to everyone involved. But it's what's going on for me...)
The ultimate problem may be that I'm asking for too much. What I want is for everyone to like and eat what I cook. I'll even settle for 3 out of 4. But it rarely goes that way.
Tonight I tried a new recipe: Curried Chicken Flatbread with Chutney and Yogurt Drizzle. Sounds good, right? I also made some roasted brussels sprouts with apples and walnuts (another new recipe). So I started on the veggies, mixing up the dressing (olive oil, lemon juice, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt), trimming the brussels sprouts, prepping the apples (thick slices) and chopping the walnuts. Mixed all and put into the oven.
Now onto the flatbread. There was an option to make your own dough, but I opted for a thin-crust Boboli. Started cooking the chicken (seasoned with garlic and pepper). Made the sauce (chutney, rice vinegar, curry powder). Chopped the veggies (scallions and jalapenos) for garnish. Once that was in the oven, started cleaning the kitchen.
Tucker comes downstairs with his hand covering his nose. The smell is making him nauseated. This irritates Tim (who knows how frustrating dinners are for me), but I don't take it personally. I start scrambling some eggs. Then grab the veggies out of the oven. We sit and eat.
Tim and Austin LOVE the flatbread. Apparently the flavor is wonderful, and the yogurt, scallions, and jalapenos that top it perfectly offset the rest of the dish. Veggies are another story. Recipe called for putting whole brussels sprouts into 350 degree oven for 30 minutes. I should have known that wasn't long enough, but it was written down so it has to be right, right? So brussels sprouts were undercooked. Apples and walnuts tasted good, and I'll try that recipe again, halving the sprouts and cooking a little longer.
The big problem here is the takeaway. I feel discouraged after yet another failed dinner. And I'm hungry, as I didn't even cook something I could really eat. And I'm lonely because I was all by myself during dinner prep. (Tim offered to help, but I just couldn't bring myself to ask him. In retrospect, it would have been a nice way for us to spend time together.)
I feel like no matter what I try, I can't get it right. If I cook anything with beef, Tim doesn't like it, as he's kind of done with beef. When I do "normal" foods -- straightforward basic flavors -- the kids don't really care for them. Actually, it feels like Tucker doesn't care for much of anything these days, and maybe that's something I need to remember, as the truth is that 66% of the people who COULD eat the dinner LOVED the dinner. And the loneliness is my own fault. So maybe I've come to my own answer here. The good news is that as discouraging as this whole dinnertime thing is, and as much as I'm tempted to just grab a box of cereal and some soy milk, and say "So what are y'all havin' tonight?", I'm still in there trying. And that has to count for something, right?