Brussel Sprouts: What Do We Really Know About Our Kids?

What does cooking for a family and an apartment full of twenty-something hungry roommates have in common?  A lot, it turns out.

Yesterday afternoon, my friend Katie Workman gave me her new book, Dinner Solved!: 100 Ingenious Recipes That Make the Whole Family Happy, Including You!

I spent one of the scariest hours of my life with Katie two summers ago and yet she has graciously appeared on Grown and Flown twice to suggest great cooking ideas for college kids and young adults and how to outfit a new (tiny apartment) kitchen.

But giving me her book yesterday was a new kind of scary.

Dinner Solved 3D

First, it was frightening because when a friend gives you her new cookbook, well, you sort of have to…cook. Second, this gift set me back because the big, luscious family recipes she writes about do not seem to fit my empty nest life.

What was I going to do with a book that solves the problem that plagued me for 22 years: “Mom, What’s for dinner?”

I will put it right out there and say, unbeknownst to Katie, I will do almost anything (short of starving my family) to avoid cooking a meal. I hate everything to do with the kitchen, except my friend Kaite. I like her.

When I leafed through her gorgeous book for the first time, my recently-graduated-college son peered over my shoulder. Here was a book full of healthy, tasty and uncomplicated recipes and my 22 year old child looked on with interest

First, he noted that she had a great recipe for Buffalo Chicken Wings that can be made (with her genius concept of “Fork in the Road,” a recipe that can go this way or that depending on the cook’s taste) traditionally or as a honey garlic version.

Then he perused the tempting one-dish meals she offers including Thai Chicken Stir Fry and Chicken Vegetable Pot Pie Casserole. I became slightly interested at this point as one single dish is about my speed of cooking.

Then I heard these words…”Mom, she does brussel sprouts the way I do them, except she uses stock and I use water to simmer.”

20-something cooking

What?! Who are you and where did you come from, I thought, as I looked at a son I was fairly certain I had raised. How is it that after years of showing my disdain for the kitchen, I had a son who liked to cook and was instantly interested in the recipes from Dinner Solved!  How had I given birth to someone who even cooked brussel sprouts? And like any good mom proficient in hovering, I thought, if I didn’t know this about him, what else don’t I know???

So, what was I to do with this gorgeous volume filled with family, and it turns out, twenty-something friendly recipes? I turned to my offspring for counsel.

“Here is the thing, Mom. You can either use this new book to step up your game and cook us all some great meals when we are home. Or…you can just give the book the me.”

I kept the book.

A house warming gift for a new apartment? A care package for your college kid? Katie Workman’s Dinner Solved!: 100 Ingenious Recipes That Make the Whole Family Happy, Including You! comes in hardback or paperback.

About Grown and Flown

Mary Dell Harrington and Lisa (Endlich) Heffernan are the co-founders of Grown and Flown the #1 site for parents of teens, college students and young adults, reaching millions of parents every month. They are writers (Lisa is a New York Times bestselling author), moms, wives and friends. They started the Grown and Flown Parents Facebook Group and are co-authors of Grown and Flown: How to Support Your Teen, Stay Close as a Family, and Raise Independent Adults (Flatiron Books) now in paperback.

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