If you live with anyone else and share meals you will come across the issue of one person not liking, or not being able to eat certain foods, when the other people can. This can make the task of cooking a healthy meal into an ordeal!
I’m going to look at the issue of cooking for people who have various likes and dislikes. I’m not going to deal with situations where one person has an entirely different diet plan than the rest of the family, nor situations where one person has a serious allergy or illness associated with particular foods.
When dealing with food dislikes its important to assess the extent of the dislike. An adult can generally say whether they are prepared to tolerate a small amount of a certain food or whether its off the menu completely. This is more difficult to assess with children. Apparently one may have to present a new food to a child a number of times before they will like it, and children are more likely to chop and change their food preferences.
Once you have established definite foods or meals not on the menu it may be best to save meals containing those foods for days when the person who doesn’t like them is not in for dinner if you can’t compromise.
If one person doesn’t like a particular type of meat but the other does you may be able to get round this by cooking meat in individually wrapped parcels of foil or parchment in the oven. I have sometimes done a breaded fish fillet for my husband in the oven, with a salmon filled wrapped in foil for myself. These can be served with potatoes, vegetables and a sauce enjoyed by both.
Items such as chicken pieces, pork chops and sausages can also all be cooked in the oven or under a grill and a variety of meat can be cooked fairly easily.
You could also make meat and vegetable kebabs using cubes of your favorite meats and various different vegetables which can all be cooked under the grill together.
If you serve a variety of plain steamed or boiled vegetables with a meal its fairly easy to separate out the different types of vegetable. If you use a steamer you could make it even easier by using the different tiers for different vegetables.
If you are putting vegetables in a sauce or casserole it can be more difficult. I would say there are three main ways of dealing with this:
Chopping vegetables so small that you can’t really notice them or taste them as a separate flavor.
Chopping vegetables so large that the person can easily pick out the bits they don’t like.
Substituting vegetables in the recipe for other vegetables.
I tend to use onion, mushroom and bell peppers fairly interchangeably if it will suit the recipe. Watch out for mushrooms adding more liquid to a recipe as they cook.
I sometimes use onion granules instead of actual onion.
Many green vegetables are interchangeable – in a pie for example, broccoli, asparagus, green beans and peas all work well.
Root vegetables are often interchangeable too. In a casserole carrot, swede, parsnip, potato and sweet potato can all be switched.
Finally don’t forget to try new vegetables every now and again – you might just find something new that you all like!
What are your top tips for dealing with your family’s food preferences?