So you’re a dad- a challenge nothing in life could have prepared you for.
No, not moving to Boston for college.
No, not adopting a Golden Retriever that did nothing when your college Boston apartment was robbed.
No, not even the day your kids were born.
You’ve made a few mistakes on the way too: Like when you let your son watch The Terminator at the tender age of six. Or when you found your daughter artfully scribbling portraits of the dog on the walls.
While these are all mostly things that would make a mother shake her head, they are also things that other dads can say, “Been there” to.
Now, like any learning experience in life, mistakes are always coupled with successes and you certainly have your fair share of successes.
Having a child with a limited palate might have forced you to get creative with your own. You had to learn how find use in the sad remnants your children deemed non-suitable for their own simple palettes.
In other words, you have been probably eating a lot of food scraps off their plates.
Here are 5 ways to have a child’s meal while still feeling like an adult:
1. Mac, cheese, and IPA.
Having children, you might be having Kraft Mac and Cheese for dinner more frequently than an adult without children…but are you really upset about that? To make your mac and cheese more dad-friendly why not pair it with a nice IPA?
Theoretically you want to match the hop strength of your drink to the sharpness of cheddar…good thing Kraft is relatively, well, toned down. Maybe on your kid’s 21st birthday you can graduate to some beer-infused mac and cheese.
2. Stumps for Pies.
Growing up I would only eat the tops off my broccoli spears, leaving the stumps on my plate for my parents to discard. Now, as an adult, wasting any food is just not my style. If your kid leaves behind broccoli stumps, or carrots, or whatever, consider throwing the remains in a pot pie (cutting off pieces they may have bit off of).
Make it easy on yourself; line each crater of a cupcake sheet with pie crust and then fill them with a mixture of their rejected veggies, chicken, and a can of Campbell’s Chicken Gravy. Top it with the remaining pie crust and bake. You now have a delish comfort meal your child will be too disgusted to take away from you.
3. One kid’s crust is another man’s crouton.
For whatever reasons, kids feel very strongly about crust. Most of them are predominantly anti-crust. In fact, when my mom brought home a baguette I would always eat out the inside leaving the loaf a hollow disappoint…what a treat I was!
So while kids see crust as an inconvenient boarder around their sandwich you see it as part of the loaf of bread you bought with your hard-earned money. What do you do with their leftover crust trimmings? You have a couple options.
Cut up the pieces of crust, toss with some olive oil and seasonings and bake on a cookie sheet. You now have home-made croutons for your salad for work!
Or feel free to top your French onion soup with those same trimmings and gruyere cheese to toast and melt atop your favorite deli-style soup.
4. An ale for a chip.
You just baked your kids chocolate chip cookies (dad of the year). However, what do you do when you have that annoying kid who just ruined a whole bunch of cookies and left the sorry pieces of chocolate chips behind?
I suggest pairing those sad chocolate chip rejects with a brown ale. This will bring out the nuttiness of what was the chocolate chip cookie. You baked those cookies with love, don’t throw away the chocolate chips of your love!
5. Have a drink with your kid, seriously.
Add mocktails to your dad recipes book. I loved Shirley Temples as a kid. When we went out to eat and I ordered a Shirley Temple, it meant I was living; “extra cherries please”. I know now that ginger ale is their base and actually makes a great, nonalcoholic, bubbly base for any refreshing, kid-friendly mock-tail.
With that said, get creative with your ginger ale-based mock tails based on the seasons.
For the summer, take ginger ale, mint leaves, and lime. This is a fake out on a mojito. Yes, mojitos typically aren’t bubbly, but is your 8 year old really going to know that?
Don’t worry, no one is judging you.
So yes, fulfilling your dietary desires as a dad may be difficult and maybe even gross sometimes. After all, you do realize you’re eating someone else’s leftovers? However, it’s really not that gross because it’s your own kids… and you were also watching them to make sure they didn’t do anything unseemly to their food.
So go ahead, enjoy your child’s leftovers while you enjoy fatherhood even more while expanding your repertoire of dad recipes. And, if all else fails, the dog always appreciates leftover mac and cheese.