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S/O: Why does being asked "What's for dinner?" bother some people?


Rebel Yell
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In the threads about irrational hate and parental wisdom, it seems like being asked "What's for dinner" really bugs a lot of people. Just curious as to why?

 

Maybe I don't get it because I plan menus for the week, so I always know or if I forget I can direct the asker to the menu plan/shopping list. I have to plan ahead because we have crazy work/activity/car sharing-driving schedules, with some food intolerances, strong preferences, and needs for meals at unusual times, such as before leaving for work at 4pm, or after returning from the gym at 9pm. So for me, "What's for dinner?" is almost always a reasonable question, and occasionally a deciding factor as to whether a BFF or BF will be joining us :D

 

Maybe I also don't get it because my kids are much older (22, 17, & 15) If I had 10, 5, & 3yos repeatedly asking all day long I'd probably quit my day job, LOL!

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It bothers me when the question is asked at 10am.

It bothers me when, as pp stated, it is followed with "I don't like that"

It bothers me because I feel put on the spot. Especially if I have absolutely no idea what will be for dinner

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It only bothers me because I get the question at least 4 times a day.  Often times, kid A will ask in the presence of kids B, C, and D.  But only kid A will listen (and even then, not always!).  So then, an hour later B asks.  Then another hour and C asks.  Then A asks again, because he forgot what I said.  Then D asks.  Then C asks again...  

 

I know I should just get one of those dry-erase menu board things...

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It's a very reasonable question here, so rarely followed by anything sarcastic.  Very rarely.  We all decide what we want to eat more or less each day and it's a group thought most days.

 

I don't have picky kids or a picky hubby, so I guess that's the difference.

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My 12 year old asks it the moment he wakes up.  And several more times during the day.  He has been known to sing the question to the tune of "Shake Your Groove Thing". (what's for dinner, what's for dinner, yeah yeah, tell me what's for dinner now....")  It isn't a "hey I'm curious what we are eating today because I'm genuinely interested in this topic" it is more of a "let me see how annoying I can be and get a rise out of mom" type of thing.  It is just one of those things that pushes my buttons.

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It bothers me because 4 out of 5 people living in my house are adults and I really really want two of them to offer to cook or come up with a meal idea sometime. We also have widely varying schedules and it is rare when all 5 of us are here to eat dinner at the same time. Trying to come up with a meal that is easily reheated (without a microwave) that will please everyone can be frustrating. I'm at the point where I am happy eating something light and then getting on with my activities. They still want fully cooked dinners with entrees and side dishes. To be fair, one of them does cook but those meals usually involve some type of pasta and red sauce. Every. Stinkin'.Time. 

 

This summer I have resorted to making a big bowl of something and leaving it in the fridge for them to grab when they are hungry. I have also been using the crock pot and writing a note stating when it will be ready. As long as it's turned to warm they can eat out of it all day.

 

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Because the lucky duckies have been provided three meals a day for the entirety of their lives and I haaaaaaaaaaate cooking. It's bad enough I have to do it, so I don't want to spend the precious minutes of my finite life talking about it too!

 

 

I forgot to make dinner one night and it ended up being hilarious because my kids could not fathom how I'd forgotten. They think about their next meal, evidently, NON STOP. As soon as they are done eating one meal they want to know what the next one is. [side note. this is why I taught my kids how to cook from a super early age!!]

 

But anyway, when that happened, I figured up how many meals I had prepared for them up to that point, assuming thrice daily meals from age 2 and not even counting snacks. They were surprised that numbers "get that big." :lol: It has been less of an annoyance since then.

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It bugs me because I start the day with big plans, which get whittled down to the reality of frozen pizza by dinnertime. But, whatever I tell them becomes the thing I have to make and I don't like dealing with their disappointment (And accusations of dishonesty).

Edited by Guinevere
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It doesn't bother me. Ds is usually asking so he can decide if he wants to go out with friends or if he's going to make something else for himself. He knows he needs to do the latter before I start making whatever I'm making.

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I have wondered why this question bothers me so much. I think it is this:

 

Because the lucky duckies have been provided three meals a day for the entirety of their lives and I haaaaaaaaaaate cooking. It's bad enough I have to do it, so I don't want to spend the precious minutes of my finite life talking about it too!

But, you know, irrational things that bother you don't require a reason :D Edited by melbotoast
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Because, without fail, it is asked while I am actually making dinner, often when it is finished, and it is abundantly clear what dinner is and they do not actually have to ask.  No one asks me what's for dinner while I am cooking anymore.  They learn decently fast not to.

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Its the warning that the asker wants to make work for the cook.

You would think the adults would get wise and just occasionally respond to the cook's answer by saying,.'can it wait? I would like to take you out to eat'. Instead, from the adults, its either 'we are having a bbq,.can you bring it over' ( they will be offering hot dogs) or ' I was really hoping for...'.

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It bugs me when it is asked before I have even gotten breakfast on the table...let's deal with one meal at a time, people!!

It bugs me when they pay no attention to the answer and then ask over and over throughout the day.

It bugs me when they immediately start bellyaching about how they don't like that food.

It bugs me when they fall to pieces because the dinner I serve is slightly, slightly different than the menu I told them umpteen hours before.

It bugs me because the weekly menu is always posted on the door, and the older two kiddos are perfectly capable of reading it for themselves.

 

I think it mostly bugs me, though, because their tone and attitude strikes me as demanding and ungrateful.  I put A LOT of effort into serving 3 meals and 2 snacks every day that meet all of our nutritional needs, don't contain any of our allergens, and are mostly liked by the children.  Yet when they ask what is for dinner, it always sounds very snarly, like they are just looking for a reason to argue if I am planning to serve one item that isn't their favorite. 

 

Wendy

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It bugs me because it reminds me that: Yes, I am going to have to cook for my family, whether I like it or not. Yes, given my family members' ages and capacities, it is quite reasonable that dinner, and everything like it, is exclusively my responsibility. Yes, I want my family to feel provided for so well that they can take it for granted... But, no, I don't like my unrelenting daily efforts over the course of years to *actually* be taken for granted.

 

And I don't like being reminded that chronic illness has stolen from me (among all the things it has stolen from me!) the reasonable expectation that some human in my house might be able to take up some slack or shoulder some legitimate responsibility. It's a reality check, and I don't like my reality.

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Because, without fail, it is asked while I am actually making dinner, often when it is finished, and it is abundantly clear what dinner is and they do not actually have to ask. No one asks me what's for dinner while I am cooking anymore. They learn decently fast not to.

This. I only get this question 40 times in the final 30 seconds before we sit down to eat.

 

Or when they are deciding whether to fill up on snacks instead.

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I get asked multiple times throughout the day. It's written on the calendar that hangs on the fridge. They're often standing next to it when they ask.

 

They don't listen to the answer I give another brother.

 

Individually, my boys aren't very picky. But because they each dislike different things, someone is always displeased.

 

They've really gotten better as they've gotten older (though the preface of "I know you hate this question" doesn't help), but the question still causes an internal angry reaction. I know it's not rational, but it is.

Edited by JudoMom
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I don't like repeating myself. I mean, I really, really hate it. So when I get asked a question, and then a few minutes later the same person asks me the same question, it upsets me. If you cared, you should have listened the first time.

 

I can not stand repeating myself!

 

But the bold is funny funny :laugh:

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I don't get that question, but I get one that I thing is simliar. I'm often asked things that relate to the calendar. "When is X happening". "How long till Y is happening". 

 

I tell me kids when we make plans. I write it on the calendar. Ever week I review the calendar with them and go over anything odd coming up in the next month. 

Still they ask, "How long till X". 

 

JUST LOOK AT THE CALENDAR!!!!

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I feel like there's an implication that someone asks this because they expect me to be responsible for a) figuring this out and b) executing it and sometimes that pisses me off (completely irrationally because I am in charge of figuring this out and executing it - I do all the shopping and cooking in our house which generally I am totally fine with but some days it just pushes the crazy button.) On some level I want someone to say "so what can I make or get for you" instead.

 

Sent from my SM-G930V using Tapatalk

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It bothers me because my children would ask me this and then no matter what I cooked, half the kids would reject it.

 

Also, asking "what's for dinner" makes an assumption that the person being asked is doing the cooking. It comes off more as "you are making dinner and I want to know if I will like it."

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I kind of get it, but it generally doesn't bother me.  I think when it does, it's because the reason for asking is sometimes motived by "Will I like it or not?" instead of appreciating that dinner is being prepared for them, no matter what it is.

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Because it never stops.

 

And when dh asks "What are we doing for dinner?" I feel stabby. 95% of the time, "we" is me. I will be doing the doing. You will be eating the doing I do. Let's not pretend.

 

Also, what's the point? Is my 6yo going to make reservations elsewhere if he disapproves?

 

And, yeah, even though I do meal plan, I don't assign meals specific days, because life. So I often don't make up my mind until late afternoon, if not the last minute. Which means I may be asked a question without an answer 18 different times in 3 hours.

 

The "best" is when someone asks and I politely list my considerations with pros and cons, then someone else walks in and asks and I rattle off the meal options without commentary , then someone else comes in and asks and I give the basic beef/chicken/fish/whatever list, and then someone ELSE comes in and asks and I want to throw them in the oven.

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(Please consider all of my "likes" as thanks for answering, not that I "like" whatever annoying thing is going on)

 

This has been really interesting. I wish I could take all of the cooks out to dinner... I don't even mind if you ask "What's on the menu?"

;)

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I hate this question, too, for many of the reasons stated above.

 

But, also:

 

Don't ask me what's for dinner when you see me putting spaghetti in the pot.  Or if you see me putting chicken into the oven.

 

Sometimes I just answer the question with "Look in the trash."  That usually gives a good indication of what ingredients I'm using.  

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It bothers me because it presumes that it's my responsibility and job. It is not- I never signed up to be primary meal maker because I'm an adult female. I may do it most often, but I don't feel it's my duty- almost everyone here, even the kids, are old enough to handle it.

 

It bothers me because don't they have better things to think about all day? This obsession with what to eat later is foreign to me. If it matters so much to you that you're thinking about it, maybe you should be the one to plan it and make it.

 

It bothers me because if I answer with "what would you like?" they don't know.

 

It bothers me because I am irrationally bothered by questions that I am unprepared for and I'm rarely prepared for what's for dinner. 

 

 

 

 

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I didn't read the other thread. I avoid those because every time I read them I find new things that annoy me!

 

I only get asked this question a few days a week. It doesn't always annoy me, but when it does it's because some amorphous thing in the future I was going to figure out later becomes a concrete pressure, while I'm still enjoying my morning snuggle with my kids or sipping my breakfast coffee.

 

I am working on coming up with a weekly menu plan, but first I have to get over my desire to always cook what's inspiring and my boredom at eating the same things too often.

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Because, without fail, it is asked while I am actually making dinner, often when it is finished, and it is abundantly clear what dinner is and they do not actually have to ask.  No one asks me what's for dinner while I am cooking anymore.  They learn decently fast not to.

 

While I'm sure this is not exactly what you meant, it reminded me of a recent dinner:

 

3yo: What's for dinner?

Me: What does it look like? *food is on his plate in front of him*

3yo: ....food?

Me: Yes.

3yo: ....Is it good food?

Me: Yes.

3yo: Okay, then you will like it, thank you Mommy! *pushes plate towards me and runs away*

 

~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~

 

I don't like the question because it's usually asked to imply they want to eat now. Even at 10am. Or when I'm changing a diaper. Or cleaning up something they spilled. I do other stuff besides make dinner, and cannot make dinner right now! 

 

I also don't like being pigeon-holed into a menu, since if something blows up and I have only half hour to make dinner, and not 2, it can't be the lentil soup I promised to the 10am question, it is now ... cereal, or sandwiches, or something else tear-inducing. Again. We lovingly call these "cold mush" dinners, said like Ms Havisham. 

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DS used to ask what's for dinner (or lunch) non-stop.  Finally, I told him that if it was important enough to ask, then it was important enough to remember the answer (aka, I would only answer once).  So now he only asks once, if at all.

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It used to bother me because it assumed I was the one primarily or solely responsible for figuring it out and making it happen. But over time, I was pretty successful at training my husband and son not to think that way. Plus, neither is remotely picky, so at least when I did take on the responsibility, it was almost always appreciated.

 

Now that my son is grown and gone and given very different work schedules for myself and my spouse, it's really not something I hear much anymore. Although I would have to say that the obsession about what we're going to have for lunch and dinner when we haven't even finished breakfast yet that occurs when we are with my husband's family drives me crazy. We tend to eat fairly light and simply, but generally healthy. And I no longer do much meal planning, we just buy our normal staples and can easily pick up additional stuff throughout the week. So the constant focus on food when we are with them makes me nuts. Sometimes it seems like when we're with them all we do is talk about food planning, prepare food, eat food, and clean up after eating.

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So the constant focus on food when we are with them makes me nuts. Sometimes it seems like when we're with them all we do is talk about food planning, prepare food, eat food, and clean up after eating.

 

It seems that when we are with in-laws sometimes they make a big deal about the feeding and cleaning up afterwards, and pat each other on the back as if something major was accomplished when a group, of mostly adults can manage to ensure people aren't hungry. 

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I can identify with a lot of these, but now that my dc are older it isn't so much of an issue. If someone does ask, I can now answer that I don't know and would they go look at the menu? Then I ask them to do a starter task like get something out of the freezer or find the recipe. That assuages any residual prickly feelings I might have and also gives me a bit of a boost along the way to having something to serve.

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It used to bother me because it assumed I was the one primarily or solely responsible for figuring it out and making it happen. But over time, I was pretty successful at training my husband and son not to think that way. Plus, neither is remotely picky, so at least when I did take on the responsibility, it was almost always appreciated.

 

 

 

I don't mind being the primary dinner fairy.  Well, I kind of do, in that I'm not a giant fan of cooking, but I accept the role of primary dinner fairy. It's the "emotional work" that turns me into a raving lunatic.

 

I hand off dinner to my kids pretty often and to dh less frequently.  But they all still "need" me to tell them what's for dinner, more or less.  (We don't have a grocery around the corner, and the kids don't drive, so yeah.)

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For me, I find it annoying for a few reasons.
​- I menu plan and the menu is posted on the corkboard in the kitchen.

- The other 3 people living in this house are adults who could make a meal themselves.

- I work full-time which requires lots of travel and often long hours of paperwork at home.  The very last thing I need is to be nagged at 5:00 because 3 other adults are hungry, and as if I don't work enough, I need to jump up and go fix supper because they're either too lazy to do it themselves, or they are too picky to settle for what they would be able to come up with themselves. 

- I will not stand for whinging.  Period. 

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For me it is because I have never enjoyed grocery shopping, meal planning, and cooking. After 29+ years, I am very much burned out on it. My youngest is a foodie along with his father so both have a high degree of hope that each day one meal will be pretty gourmet. Dh works too many hours to cook, and youngest is trying to learn but he has no natural instincts for it. At this point he manages some mean chicken enchiladas and spaghetti so I have decreed that I do not care if people get tired of it, he cooks twice per week.

 

In am not a foodie. I seriously appreciate good cuisine, and can be quite inventive when the notion takes me. But I do not have a real love for it either. I told Dh when that last one lives in dorms, and I go back to work full time to help pay college bills, it will be sandwiches, celery and carrot sticks, and an apple from then to death unless he hires a cook!!

 

That should work out several days per week. In 2018 dh's employer is changing his work location and because the market tanked here and never recovered, our house lost most of its equity. My mom is destitute financially, and his elderly mom cannot afford to move to a higher cost of living either. So I will be here, and he will be in an apartment in southern Michigan. Don't know what he is eating, but I liked boiled eggs and celery sticks! :D

 

'Course the weekends when he is home will be a different story. Ai yi yi yi yi! My mom and his mom better do some cooking for the poor man.

Edited by FaithManor
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3 of 5 people in my home are vegan. 1 of the vegans (me) and 1 of my omnivore sons have ARFID. No matter what I answer to the question "what's for dinner?" at least one (and probably 2) people will tell me they're not eating it. I hate dinner. And lunch. And breakfast. 

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So, do you all despise those "What's for dinner?" posts here?

 

Miam.gif

 

You know how people say if you may get triggered by a topic, don't open the thread? That's my rule with those posts. :lol:

 

But seriously, I agree with other posters who said it's the expectation of my family members that bothers me. It's just pressure, I suppose, or it feels like pressure.

I menu plan and do all the dinners, so it's not unprecedented expectation without cause. I think I'm just sick of decades of meal prep, and the question is a reminder that I've miles to go before I hang up this responsibility.

 

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Because, really, what does it matter?  I'm making what I'm making or I might not know yet OR I might even change my mind.   You'll find out when I call you to dinner and if you don't like it then, I won't have had to stew about your pickiness all afternoon.

 

My kids have resorted to asking ARE you making dinner tonight? and I'm OK with that because we're at the point where people are running around to activities and jobs and such and sometimes it's not worth it to go through so much effort.

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