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"Fixing" inedible food

Teri Everitt

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I was away last week and my ex stayed with the kids. Our oldest child is vegetarian so every time it is his turn to be with them he makes a gigantic vat of "stew" or "soup". I use the words loosely because what it is actually is a huge pot of wallpaper paste. I've hinted to him that he should just let Em cook her own meals (she's fifteen). Or that he could make SMALL batches of food. She's also not that challenging to cook for because she does eat fish and eggs. But inevitably, I return home to find that my biggest pot is taking up valuable real estate in my fridge, full of inedible goo. It's maddening because:

1. It's ALWAYS a full pot. He makes this stuff at the end of his week so he doesn't have to eat the crap.

2. He's used up all of the vegetable stock I either made or bought, so I go to make risotto and I don't have any stock.

3. I grew up in a fairly poor household where my mom had to work really hard at low paying jobs. I have a hard time throwing out large batches of anything, but trying to make an edible meal out of this nasty tasteless paste is more work than making a meal from scratch.

Short of hiding all my large pots when I leave the house, what can I do with this crap? Anybody out there with a lot of experience repairing other people's bad cooking?

Half of the pot of "glue" got turned into a curry of sorts, but I still have half a large pot left. :blink:


If only I'd worn looser pants....

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hmm vegtable goo.

Mix it with meat for meat loaf or meatballs.

Make it very spicy and add some olive oil, toss it with pasta

Soak old bread in it, some milk or cream and some eggs and bake it as a savory bread pudding.

Mix it with ricotta and stuff shells with it, bake with sauce.

Mix it with flour and make crepes? long shot...blintzes?

Mix it with flour and make dumplings for good soup.

Feed the compost.

And of course you can always make your ex eat it!

does this come in pork?

My name's Emma Feigenbaum.

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There actually is a point of no return with some of these creations.

Fritters might be an option. With a cheese sauce on top. It depends on the basic taste of the stuff.

It sounds to me as if this is a Hostile Pot.

I would dump it with a "good riddance" then eat good fresh things *unless* economy demands it.

And yes, hide the big pot(s) next time. :wink:

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I agree with Karen. I would remove all large pots and pans, prehaps mumble something about getting them specially cleaned if he asks. Tell your daughter what you're doing so she'll be an ally (guessing she also doesn't enjoy the big pot of paste that her dad serves). You could also leave a good, simple vegetarian cookbook somewhere conspicuous. Oh, and hide the vegetable stock! (I'd take it to a friend or neighbor's house for safekeeping. No use wasting precious stock on a vat of goo.)


Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all. - Harriet Van Horne

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Just dump it -- life's to short to suffer for the sake of a few bucks.

Next time, make meals in advance so he won't poison your kids while you're gone. Tell him that they've have gotten impossibly fussy and won't eat anything except what you've made -- anything to keep him out of the kitchen.

Douglas Collins

Hermosa Beach, California

Un dîner sans vin est comme un jour sans soleil.

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So many good ideas, both in the using up of the goo, because you're thrifty, and in ex-management.

I'd take matters and menu-planning into your own hands. Your daughter isn't a vegetarian exactly, she simply doesn't eat meat. Buy some fish and let him know that it's Meal One. Suggest he make a frittata, omelet or eggs quasi Benny for Meal Two. Prep the veg, wash the salad greens.

And tell him he can't use your vegetable stock or leave his inedible detritus in your house. Hide the stockpot. Let him know that the times they are a changing.

Margaret McArthur

"Take it easy, but take it."

Studs Terkel


A sensational tennis blog from freakyfrites


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An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

I'm no food expert, but I work for a divorce attorney, and part of my job is what I call "holding hands and kicking butts."

Life is to short to mess with this issue. Get the vegetable stock out of the house before you leave. If it's canned, put it in the trunk of your car. If it's refrigerated or frozen, stash it at a friend's or neighbor's. Ditto with ALL of the large pots.

It's your house. Leave a menu and the appropriate ingredients. Take the bull by the horns. Tell Superdad that nobody eats his stew, and if he's going to insist on making it, he must take it with him when he leaves. Be frank and direct; tell him if he doesn't, you will throw it out the moment you get home. Your kids need to see you in action taking care of this. It's how they learn to cope with such things. If you won't do it for yourself, do it for them.

Allowing this to continue is nonsense. To do so is to set the stage for further resentment when you're ready to make risotto. Those resentments build over time, and the kids do pick up on them. Trying to make something edible out of wallpaper paste is a useless waste of energy and an unflattering venture into martyrdom. You can't win this fight, so prevent it!

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Thanks for the suggestions. Just to clarify.....my ex is a chef! He is perfectly capable of making edible meals. Making a meal that all three children will eat can get challenging......the youngest is autistic and has many food aversions. I rarely make the same meal for all 4 of us when I'm home. Apparently vegetarian cooking is not his thing, but I have been wondering if he was making this stuff as some sort of passive agressive thing.

We get along well enough that we rarely disagree on things like money or how to handle holidays etc. He does have a rather difficult relationship with my daughter (the one that doesn't eat meat), which makes me wonder why he cooks for her at all. He also does things like buying "vegetable" soup for my daughter without reading the label to make sure it doesn't contain beef or chicken broth. Maybe his issues are with her and not me.

Another divorced parent food horror story.......this morning I found a container of cooked bacon in the fridge so I was making Gordie a bacon sandwich for his lunch. Erin came down to breakfast and I asked her, "What day did Daddy cook this bacon?" She says, "He didn't cook any bacon this week."

I had to throw it out and make a different sandwich.

If only I'd worn looser pants....

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My question is, does your daughter like the stuff he made?

If not just toss it. It isn't worth the hassle and it looks to me like he's jerking your strings. Don't let it happen, as stated above life is to short.

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Teri, I have an autistic son as well and deal with some pretty severe food aversions as well. If you haven't checked it out, I highly recommend the book "Just Take a Bite". My son now eats far more than he did before, and meals are less challenging and difficult for all of us.

Perheps you could talk to your ex and help him come up with meal ideas? Even a list of things they have liked in the past would probably help him out. I know for me, having a list of foods that I know will most likely get eaten is a huge help and takes a lot of frustration out of cooking. Have your oldest make up her own list so he doesn't have to figure out things to feed her. Though I'd still hide the vegetable broth!


Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all. - Harriet Van Horne

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Given the information that the ex is a chef, that changes the "atmosphere" of the situation.

This is a control battle. He's having one with you (by leaving a big pot of stuff in your fridge that he thinks you "have" to eat) and one with your daughter by not respecting her food preferences. He's determined to have everybody dancing to his tune.

The advice I gave above still holds, but I predict that if you get the vegetable stock and the big pots out of the house, he'll find some other way to assert himself. You may want to find a good book on the subject of dealing with controlling people, and see what it has to say.

For the daughter, I'm in favor of seeing you make some meals for her and putting them in the freezer. You might also want to leave some meals for the other kids, in case Daddy decides to wage a battle with them, too. :blink:

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Me vs. the giant pot of wallpaper paste:


Added corn, onions, coconut milk, a little sambal oelek when the kids weren't looking, and salt and pepper. Made a passable vegetable chowder.

There's still a small container of the stuff........but it doesn't owe me anything. I'm throwing it away.

And any further giant vats of anything will be sent home...with him.

If only I'd worn looser pants....

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Get your daughter cooking. Help her prepare some good vegetarian meals and then let her demonstrate her skills to Chef Dad next time he's in charge. He might even get interested in helping develop her talents.

And chuck the wallpaper paste. Or freeze it till the next time you make a meal for your ex.

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