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Monday, February 15, 2010

Setting up expectations

I am in love with the idea of being a fabulous cook. The truth is, I'm an average cook. I use a lot of the same tried and true recipes, and my attempts at venturing out often fall flat. Such was the case of my perfect dinner the other night.

The recipe was for Sicilian Pot Roast. The recipe sounded so good, and as I pictured it in my mind, I thought for sure it would be the perfect family meal. I was a bit intimidated by adding red pepper flakes, since my kids don't go for spicy. However, no one noticed the red pepper flakes. For me, the problem was the grated lemon peel. I'll admit right off that there's a reason I buy my cheese grated. I HATE grating cheese. Since it's the same price as the stuff you grate yourself, I have absolutely no guilt buying the grated stuff.

So there I am, grating a lemon, because that's what the recipe requires. Instead, I grated my thumb.

The rest of the preparations were fairly simple. I regretted buying whole olives instead of sliced, because slicing olives is a pain. Fortunately, I did not cut myself. Dinner smelled amazing. I couldn't wait to eat it. Everything was coming together nicely for a wonderful family dinner. Then hubby called and said he'd be home late- which meant missing my fabulous dinner. When dinner was ready, the kids ate- and were unimpressed. In fact, they thought the sauce, the one I sacrificed my thumb for, was icky.

I admit to having a bit of a pity party for myself that this dinner I'd worked so hard on received a lackluster response. Even hubby, who finally got home and sat on the couch to scarf his down, said "it's okay."

Which brings me to this morning. The kids are home from school, which to them means I am their full-time cook. They wanted breakfast. I am not used to making breakfast on a weekday. They have cereal and all that, but for some reason, I decided I'd make them breakfast this morning. Except I didn't want to make them breakfast. So I made...

Toaster waffles!

The kids were so excited to eat frozen waffles that I'd just popped into the toaster. I got the jubilant reaction I'd hoped to get with my Sicilian pot roast. But no, they saved it for toaster waffles.

Expectations are a funny thing. I read somewhere that the main source of disappointment in people's lives is unrealized expectations. We build things up so big in our heads, but when we get there, it's not nearly as grand as we thought they'd be. Like my dinner, we prepare and prepare, injuring ourselves in the process of trying to make something perfect. But it doesn't get the reaction we thought it would be. When we simplify our expectations, we get moments like we had this morning. Where I thought I was just giving them a mediocre meal, but they thought of it as the ultimate treat.

I need to adjust my expectations. To accept that my family won't always love what I make, but they still love me. A lesson I should apply to more than just my cooking. What about you? What are some of your unrealistic expectations?


Kay Day said...

I work really hard on this. I've been disappointed so much because I am an idealist and nothing turns out ideally. I often ask God to help me expect nothing and just joyfully receive whatever I get!

Your story was cute. Ain't that just the way it goes?

Denise Miller Holmes said...

I really like this, Danica. You've got me thinking. I have a couple situations to apply it to right now. Perhaps I could steal the idea for my own article post. :D