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I am single, work full-time, and do a lot for my parents. Although cooking isn't one of them. I 'prepare' and serve them, but I feel guilty that I don't make them a home-cooked meal. I don't have the know how and the few times I tried, I can't say it's to their liking anyway. I want the best for them and this is one area that I lack. They are not starving and are well taken care of, but I wish I could always do more. We tried a home delivery service and they didn't eat it. They like things the way my mom used to make it and certainly no one can mirror that. I feel bad about the simple meals, or the ordering in, and canned or frozen foods.

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You shouldn't be so hard on yourself, you're doing a lot. My mother likes the single serving pre-made food from the deli and she can heat it in the microwave.
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you guys are the best. thanks so much for the supportive responses. Excuse me now while I go make some grilled cheese (hey that's cooking, no?) lol
much love.
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OMG! If I cooked for my mother it would probably kill her or she would call APS on me. I can burn water and have actually messed up jello. Thank god husband can cook.
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I was typing while you wrote your response that your parents don't really expect you to cook for them, so ignore my comment about the gift horse.
Do they like smoothies? They don't require chewing, and there are lots of healthy recipes online. With fresh fruit in season now, your parents might like them,
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Don't feel guilty. You tried cooking for them a few times and they didn't like it. Not everyone can be a great cook (I'm certainly not) and you went above and beyond by setting up meals to be delivered to them, and they still didn't like it, so it's time to move on. I'll hazard a guess that even if you cooked one of your mom's recipes and took excruciating care to make it exactly the way she did they'd still say it didn't taste the same. That's because their sense of taste may have changed as they've gotten older, and there's nostalgia about the "old days" involved that may make them remember the meals as better than they actually were, i.e., they were younger and healthier, they got around better, loved ones may have been present who are no longer here, and so on.

It could also be that your parents feel bad about no longer being the ones "in charge," and they're complaining because it makes them feel better about themselves by comparing your cooking unfavorably to your mom's.

Simple meals aren't bad meals, as long as they're nutritious. There are a lot of recipes online that are easy to make and taste delicious. Quinoa with grape tomatoes, cilantro, diced mozzarella, and balsamic vinaigrette dressing takes about twenty minutes to whip up, and it's very good. Since you work full-time while helping your parents, you're already got a lot to keep you busy without worrying that you're not Gordon Ramsay.

There's such a thing as looking a gift horse in the mouth, and it seems like that's what your parents are doing. I would love it if someone came to my house and made my meals, simple or not.
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thnx blannie. My mom is 88 and dad is 91 and you're so right about the taste buds changing. My mom also doesn't want to wear her dentures so she's limited as to what she can eat or I should say chooses to eat. It's so funny that what she is able to eat suddenly she "can't" chew the next. It's part physical (lack of teeth) and part mood (dementia/depression) . I was never interested in cooking (ah the single life style I suppose) and mom doesn't remember how to cook a lot of her recipes. I guess part of my guilt is also I don't have the desire to cook and maybe I feel I should push myself?
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wannek, there's nothing wrong with canned and frozen. Life would be hard without them. Some of us are not Betty Crockers. :) And some of our parents don't really like anything other than what they used to eat. My mother doesn't like healthy food. She likes her chicken fried, her potatoes boxed, and Lord forgive the person who puts a tomoto in anything. She is diabetic and refuses to eat breads or fruits. And the only dessert eater here would be me, so I don't make desserts. If I were a great chef, I would be quickly put in my place with hearing "not fit to eat." :)
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Thanks for the response Me. My parents don't really expect me to cook for them, it's mostly self-imposed guilt. And yes, I do everything except this including doling out the meds, bathing my mom, handling the checkbook, food shopping, helping mom in the bathroom and emptying the commode, the list goes on. So I'm sure most people would say that's enough (again in addition to my fulltime job) but this part still bothers me at times. My sister in law will cook sometimes and sent it over as well....When I actually do cook something and it stinks, then I convince myself there's no pleasing anyway! lol
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A couple of things to consider. You don't say anywhere in your profile how old your parents are, but as people age, their taste buds change and food simply isn't as appealing to most as it used to be. So even if your mom could cook her meals the way she used to, they might not like them as much as they used to. It's just a part of aging for most folks.

Another idea is to have your mom teach you how she cooked things or get on Allrecipes and start reading and practicing a few recipes. I love to cook and bake and have enjoyed making many things for my parents. But I'm a vegetarian, so my dad never got me to cook the meat he enjoyed, I'd just buy it. But it could be a bonding experience for you and your mom, if she can still remember how to make things.

But food is just one part of caregiving. Don't beat yourself up if you're not able to do that part "perfectly". None of us do everything perfectly. And even if you did, they might still not appreciate it (my mom just doesn't eat much anymore, even my homemade stuff). So do the best you can and know that it's enough!
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I cook and its "edible and safe" to eat but not like my grandpa likes it either! I have enjoyed cooking but was never a chef! Hopefully your parents will learn to accept your cooking or other someone elses cooking. Or they can hire a cook to come in?

Your doing wonderful, and everybody have different "talents". Im sure your food is good, but look at it this way. Your doing everything else, and so what if you have to order in, make canned or frozen foods and simple meals, you need help too. So this way your still feeding them, they are still eating healthy, and you have a little more time on your hands!

Cooking homemade meals, esp from scratch is not easy, so no worries! No, do not feel guilty! Hugs
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