I love food, I love cooking but I tremble at the thought of cooking for others. I turn into a (more) obsessive, paranoid, worried grasshopper as I panic about the taste, the look, the consistency, the temperature and then I have to monitor reactions and demand feedback instantly.
Over time it becomes easier to cook for people as you begin to realise they are not going to throw a strop or refuse to eat a morsel and you become more adventurous and all is well. But then you have to cook for children. And cooking for children is a whole different ballgame.
I would think nothing of whipping up a curry or a bolognaise or even a shepherd's pie for my beloved but I would I feed it to his kids? No. No. No. No. No. I cannot bear the criticism, I cannot stand the pushing of morsels around the plate, the fake (?) retching sounds, the 'I don't like, I don't like, I don't like' chants from either end of the table. And there is nothing I can do because I am not the boss of them, I just have to take it on the chin and make amendments to the internal list of likes and don't likes.
She will eat every vegetable under the sun but no this, no that, no the other - he won't touch any vegetable under the sun except for this, that and the other. Chips, chips, chips and chips could be the easy way out but on a day ending in 'y' she loves jacket potatoes however then on a day ending in 'y' refuses to eat one. He complains bitterly that there is no corn on the cob for him yet last time ran away from the yellow beast. One is fruit fiend and gains a 5-a-day medal every time, the other is a chocolate monster and rarely makes 1-a-day if you are lucky. Home-made burgers are eaten with a relish by one but not by they other because they look funny yet they will devour the bolognaise whilst the other pushes it round and round and round and round.
I literally go into a cold sweat everytime I have to plan a meal. I'm taking on the nutritional well beings of three people never mind myself and I must must must avoid the call of the fish finger and oven chips.
And so, it is with great pride and a sense of enormous well being that I can report - last night's dinner was a success and every morsel was eated. Good quality sausages, mash, magic beans (baked) and home-made Yorkshire puddings. It may not be top of the nutritional tree but it had all the food groups, a five-a-day, three happily stuffed grasshoppers and one very proud mama hopper!