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Dear Foodpickle.I live in a house with a boy and my husband and I can simply no longer get the enthusiasm to cook. The boy is 18 and opens the refrid

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chef_ub added about 3 years ago

What happened? Did they stab you?


Kristen is the Senior Editor of Food52

added about 3 years ago

Hilarious answer, chef_ub. The titles of questions now have a 140-character limit, but we need to actually indicate somehow where the question will get cut off -- it's on our foodpickle to-fix list! Philly, feel free to complete your question in the answers here, and we can edit it in.

Sam1148 added about 3 years ago
Voted the Best Answer!

I think we all go through that occasionally. Simplify.
Go back to basics for a while...pull out an old cookbook; a basic one like Joy of Cooking re-visit some simple and quick dishes. Making 'high class' spectacular meals can become tiring both for the dinner and the cook.


Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

added about 3 years ago

Oh, my, I feel for you! I went through just such a time after my last child left for college and I picked up and moved half-way across the country to help care for my ailing father and immediately started a new job. Everything was too new, too much, too jangled. I literally cooked my way out of it by declaring that dinner time belonged to me. I turned off the cell phone and didn't turn on the TV. I didn't unpack boxes, I didn't think about my father or about people I missed. And believe me, dinner at that time was fairly primitive. I still remember sitting at a brand new little outside table I'd treated myself to, with a glass of crisp white wine and a plate of angel hair pasta tossed with olive oil, garlic, parmesan and parsley, and a good book. It became a very restorative and pleasurable time of day for me, and one I looked forward to rather dreaded. And it still is. Take heart! You will get through this.

SKK added about 3 years ago

Dear Philly, I think I know what you are going through. What got me through the cooking doldrums when I had a teen-ager was to just let go. When I cooked I cooked what appealed to me without trying to please anyone else. I love boulangere's answer. My experience is similar to hers. This too shall pass!

Sadassa_Ulna added about 3 years ago

I'll try not to gush too much, but following food52 has really changed our way of eating in my house. The weekly contests inspire me to try new things or return to things I've forgotten about. Just last week a winning gong bao recipe motivated me to go shop in Chinatown for some Chinese cooking wine and I returned with a few other motivational ingredients. Hope you get your groove back soon, and keep an eye on food52!

latoscana added about 3 years ago

Isn't it time for the 18 y/o to start learning how to cook? Why not assign him one night a week to feed the family. Whatever he makes, everyone sits down to dinner and takes it seriously. Whatever assistance or ideas he asks for, provide it. This is a perfect opportunity to help him become competent at feeding himself well.

ellenl added about 3 years ago

I'm with SKK. I have a 15-yr. old who loves food and loves to cook. These days. though, it seems whatever I make is not very appealing. It's a separation thing. So I just cook what I know he likes, what I feel like cooking, a new recipe I feel like trying and the rest is whatever. If he doesn't want it he opens a can of soup. The trick is to see it as developmental, not take it personally, and make what appeals to you. Hang in there!!!

susan g added about 3 years ago

My brother, when he was not quite that age, didn't want to eat the family meals, so my mother found some kind of pizza kit in a can for him to make for himself. Not only did this carry him through that period, but he became interested in cooking and is now the primary cook for his family.

innoabrd added about 3 years ago

I have a seven-year old daughter who is, and always has been, a terrific eater. She's the one at dim sum who'll share the tripe with me. When she was little, someone gave her an Olivia doll, from the children's books about the little girl/pig. One day she came and to inform me that, "if you take Olivia's clothes off, she looks just like a pig you can eat!"

My deepest fear is that her teenage rebellion will be to turn vegetarian...


Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

added about 3 years ago

My daughter declared herself vegetarian when she was around 15-16, and congratulated her on making such a careful decision (which I was pretty sure it was not!), and gently steered her into conversations about complete proteins. I got a couple of good cookbooks and suggested she decide what she wanted us to make together a couple of nights a week. She survived the experience, is now in college, and took those cookbooks with her. Sometimes when in danger, you simply declare victory!


Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

added about 3 years ago

Philly, what a wealth of suggestions you've received. Sadassa_Ulna is so right; Food52 is a lovely source of ideas generously shared.

ChefDaddy added about 3 years ago

By the time I was 18 I had been the cook for my family for several years. I had a working mother and father and an older brother that had a job after school so at about age 14 I was the family cook putting dinner on the table promptly at 6: 00 p.m. as well as have the house picked up and cleaned M-F. There was some compansation for this but no choice in "not" doing it. And, at this age my mother didn't worry about what I was going to eat. Her days of doing things for me were over. I suggest putting that 18 yr old to work. But start with a positive attitude and get him helping and then turn em' loose.


Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

added about 3 years ago

I agree with latoscona and ChefDaddy. My children were chronically abused. I owned a restaurant, and guess who worked with me. Not always willingly, mind you, but they both grew up very well fed, unafraid to work hard, and with a love of good food. All those habits have carried forward into adulthood. No time like the present for your son to pitch in. Try taking a cookbook off the shelf, hand it to him, and ask what he would like to help you make for dinner. Please let us know your progress.

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