Changing the Menu

Written by David McCarthy, Australia

Whether you cook for necessity or fun makes little difference, changing the menu is a challenge in most households; there will come a time when you will stand in the kitchen and think: I'm sick to death of this menu and I want to change it now.

Hopefully the light-hearted advice in this article will be of use to help you persuade persuade your family that change is healthy for both body and mind. You can find a whole range of new menu ideas on this Web site.

Making the decision is easy; implementing it is a little harder because most of us have others to think about; namely family - that great institution that opposes change at every opportunity. The problem with families is that each member is somewhat territorial and claims certain meals as their own, or their right, and they can be pretty stubborn when it comes to change. The secret is to be sneakier than they when you institute change.

For instance: Husband has had steak every Thursday evening for as long as you have been married, he has become convinced that the only reason God created Thursday was to eat steak. This is his territory and he'll usually cling to it like a dog with a new bone.

So don't fight him for his bone: The first step in the change process is to present his steak meal in a slightly different way. Don't change the way you cook his steak just yet, only change what goes on the plate with it.

This can be done by:

  • Changing the way you normally serve potatoes with the steak. Don't change it to something he doesn't like because it is far better to change it to serving the potatoes the way he likes them best.
  • Make a sauce to serve with the meal. Sauces are so easy to make and they enhance the appearance of any meal. They are also unobtrusive to the hungry male.
  • Add an extra vegetable providing it is one that he likes.
  • Are you getting the drift of this?

Now for the bigsecret: Don't mention change when you serve it, just serve it as you would serve the normal Thursday dinner. Wait for the comments to start flowing. The first comment will be about the potatoes, providing the way you served them is his favorite.

The sauce usually draws comment about midway through the steak.Accept it and encourage it because at the end of the meal he is almost certain to say how enjoyable it was. This is your cue to tell him that you wanted to serve something special today. You can even use the different word if he is complimentary. But be warned different is a word that has a peculiar effect on families.

At this point you have established change and can move forward by telling him how happy you are that he is so willing to change the established routine before it gets boring. Do make the boring point because it will go through his mind before he complains about different meals in the future. Boring is the antithesis of different within your family; they'll do anything not to be considered boring just as they will do anything to avoid being served something different.

Children are a little more difficult to change because they are more used to being manipulated and are therefore less likely to accept any form of logic. But children have one big weakness that will allow you to direct change; it is known as desire to learn. This means you ask them to help you prepare the meal and get them to mix, or cook, the new ingredient. Usually they will eat what they cook regardless of how revolting it may look. If they eat whatever they prepared you have won them over; providing you congratulate them on their adult tastes. This is what children like best - to be accepted as adults.

Obviously some of you will have different methods of selling change to your family, but trust me on this one: The secret of change is not to let them think anything has changed and they will soon be asking for change more frequently.

This article is copyright© David McCarthy 2005 and may be reproduced in its entirety with no additions or deletions providing a link back to is included.

This article reflects the views of the author and is not meant to be medical advice. As with anything dealing with your health, you should see a medical professional for prevention, diagnosis and treatment of specific health problems.

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