They're not eating the food I cooked for them!

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My mom brought me a ton of meat and ingredients so I could cook and freeze many meals for she and my dad. These are recipes that I've fed them at my house and they loved them! Today, two weeks late, I found almost all the food I made STILL in their freezer! And all along, mom complaining about being tired and not wanting to cook!!!!!!! Any one have a story like this, please share, AND any advice would be helpful! Aaaaaaaahh!!!!!

9 Comments

It can be hurtful when our efforts don't seem to be appreciated, but putting that aside I think you need to look at the bigger picture. The food is in the freezer, so it isn't as if they have let it spoil, it is still there if and when they need it. I wonder what exactly your mom is trying to tell you when she complains about being too tired to cook.

Is it that she no longer enjoys eating and just doesn't care?

Could it be that she wants your father to step up every once in a while instead of having the task always fall on her?

Perhaps she is tired of all the little every day chores and would be happier if they would retire to an assisted living place where they would be taken care of?

Or is your mom one of those people who just likes to grumble about everything and never will be satisfied?
So, Babybird, when mom complains, remind her that there is food in the freezer. She may have forgotten.

All i can say is, this is no longer about you. It's about them and their perception of reality.
Maybe Mom's forgotten or maybe it's a security thing to have the freezer full. As long as they're not eating crackers & catsup 3 times a day, it's okay. Maybe you could offer to come over & join them at dinner - serving the frozen dinner?
Have either of them ever taken Amiodarone, or other medicines that affect taste buds? Our neurologist clued us onto the fact that one of the side effects of Amiodarone can be lost of sense of taste and smell, as well as peripheral neuropathy.

On the issue of the freezer food, did you store it in one-size meal containers, so that your mother can remove it, pop it into a microwave safe bowl and heat it up? I use the Ball freezer containers which contain just enough for one meal. Or I use the 2-part dishes, similar to commercial frozen food containers, but the ones I use are much thicker and are reusable, which the commercial ones are not.

If she doesn't want to cook, perhaps the issue is in the packaging and what it takes to heat it up. If it's a large container of food, that means dealing with leftovers, which she may not want to do. Surprisingly enough, that can be a big issue with elders.

If your mother complains of fatigue and not wanting to cook, I think those are your 2 clues.

First, address the fatigue - it could be because she's not eating, but are there other issues? Secondly, if she doesn't want to cook, as I suggested above, store the food in one-dish freezer containers so all she has to do is pop it in the microwave.

Try making small smaller meals, get some of the good quality 2 part microwave safe dishes, and see if that helps.

Another alternative if they're homebound is to consider Meals on Wheels. The food isn't necessarily restaurant quality, but it's varied, nutritious, and generally good. And they get the benefit of social interaction from the volunteers who deliver the meals.
Babybird, the way I look at it, a husband gets to retire from his job, thus he spends the day enjoying his hobbies and doing this or that around the house. The wife, on the other hand, never gets to retire as all the household chores still fall upon her to do. That's what happened to my Mom, as she thought it was "her job" even though she was in her late 90's..... the exhaustion caused numerous falls and eventually she passed away from complications from the falls.

I know that tired feeling, even the thought of getting something out of the freezer, dishing it out, and heating it up feels like too much work.... hey, a bowl of Cheerios is simple and easy, and just enough for dinner.

I never realized how helpless Dad was round the kitchen until my Mom passed away. Then one night we got a phone call at 8pm, it was Dad asking where is dinner. I blame Mom for making the kitchen her territory only, no one is allowed in until the food is on the table. Couples need to be cross trained.

And let's not forget, as we age we lose our sense of taste. Thus we tend to eat really sweet items. I remember my Mom's grocery list was filled with Little Debbie, pies, cakes, ice cream, etc.

I'd been freezing for my FIL in various types of containers. What I found out was that it was so much easier for him if things were in single servings, in a way that thawed quickly. I was freezing soups in glass canning jars and labeling. But if he wanted soup for lunch, it took too long to thaw and you can't microwave the glass jar from the freezer. He needs to be able to pull something out, have it easy to thaw. I'm experimenting with qt. zip bags, frozen flat. They thaw fast.

The two section small freezer containers like GA mentioned work great for entrees also.

I freeze cooked meatloaf slices, 2 to a pack - easy to thaw and use for sandwiches.

Also, would it help them to have a list on the freezer of what's in there to eat?
Everyone's insights are so awesome! Thanks! Ive packaged all the food in user friendly portions and containers and reminded mom that it's there, but she is very proud and a control freak too so who knows? I do see insecurity about always having the fridge and freezer full, we have to throw away food often because it goes bad. Also, dad will suggest that they eat my food and mom hollers at him and cooks TV dinners instead. She's honestly never liked me that much, many of us on here know what that's like! I think I'm gonna try calling over there and asking what they're defrosting for dinner the next day putting mom on the spot. Its like dealing with stubborn children! I have them over once a week and send them home with a 2nd meal of leftovers and we go there and do the same. We are hoping to buy land and move them on with us so I can be there every day and make sure they're getting good nutrition and so my mom can more effectively drive me nuts! Lol!
Oh, another thing I just thought of, sometimes it can become difficult to open a frozen plastic container. There were times I want to take a sledge hammer to it. If I had trouble opening these darn containers I can just imagine someone 20+ years older with arthritic hands trying to do the same thing.

For myself, since I really really hate to cook, we have a lot of Lean Cuisine type items, or Marie Collander.... yes, they are high in sodium. Or I wonder if one pre-makes salads where Mom/Dad just need to pour on the salad dressing would be easy for them.

I like GardenArtist's idea of Meals On Wheels, I can see that in my future... as something someone else cooks is always good in my book :)
Baby bird, Google "salad in a jar". For some ideas that you might be able to use. I find that glass canning jars, even with used lids, kept salad items fresh for the better part of the week. It works well with cut up fresh fruit also.

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