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Au pairs and food

(21 Posts)
Imabadmum Thu 27-Jun-13 15:01:24

Hi,

we have a male au pair, who has the appetite of a horse! Thats not so much a problem, but he seems to be struggling with the food options here, and keeps showing me pictures of food from home and asking where he can get it. I dont know!! We are trying to do a dish from his home country every week or so, so the children try different foods and he gets something familiar. I give him portion sizes at supper time similar to that (or even more than) i give my husband (who is a 6'2" farmer), but he is losing weight.

I dont know what he is eating at lunchtime, as I am at work, but assume he can manage to sort something out for himself. He says at home his mum has always cooked for him. I did ask before employing him if he would be able to do baking as an activity with the children from time to time and he said he could do this, although cookery isnt his thing. I dont expect him to cook any family meals at all, just feed himself at lunchtime.

Should I be worried about this and be trying to accomodate bizarre food requests, or cooking him something to reheat at lunchtime or should i just point him in the right dircetion and say off you go, get it yourself?

thanks x

BerkshireMum Thu 27-Jun-13 16:55:19

Well, it kind of depends on the agreement before he started. I expect my au pairs to be able to prepare food for themselves and the children most evenings so it wouldn't work for me. What country is he from? Have you taken him to a supermarket with you?

I always tell my au pairs that, within reason, they can add items to the shopping list for their personal use (lunch, snacks etc) but expect them to eat main meals with the children and / or family. Obviously, specific likes and dislikes are catered for.

Eating the same food as the family is all part of the experience really.

Not much help, sorry.

LadyHarrietdeSpook Thu 27-Jun-13 16:58:56

The food thing can be a sign of homesickness. He will probably settle down.

Can he throw a couple of jackets in the oven with some toppings?

What sort of thing is he after?

I would not be preparing things for him to reheat and I would also react firmly to bleats that mummy did this for him at home (as I would with a female ap too.) The AP year is a gentle intro to adulthood/the world of work/increasing independence in looking after themselves; preparing their own food is part of that.

burberryqueen Thu 27-Jun-13 17:03:31

can he throw a couple of jackets in the oven with some toppings?
lol only the British think that would be an edible lunch grin
I would say point him in the direction.....
as ladyharriet pointed out, he is more or less an adult so 'my mum always cooks for me' is a bit crap.

LadyHarrietdeSpook Thu 27-Jun-13 17:11:00

I was born Yank!

burberryqueen Thu 27-Jun-13 17:11:58

lololol that is surprising!!

ChippingInWiredOnCoffee Thu 27-Jun-13 17:16:09

Where is he from?

Has he googled polish/german/chinese supermarkets in your postcode?

I would have no problem with cooking an extra portion of dinner for him to reheat for his lunch if he would eat it... it's no big deal is it? However, I wouldn't be fretting over it if I hadn't iyswim.

Mendi Thu 27-Jun-13 21:39:10

What's wrong with a jacket potato and topping for lunch? Have I missed something?

Imabadmum Thu 27-Jun-13 22:04:35

Many thanks all!

We have had jacket potatoes a couple of times but itbturns out he has never eaten them before - turns out its a british thing! So he doesnt know how to cook one (i know, i know!!)

He has it seems lived on eggs at lunchtime alot, and pasta with drinking chocolate on it (???). I have taken him round the supermarket and said i can buy a few extra bits, but cannot overhaul the weekly shopping to suit.

He's from the Czech Rep.

I will take your advice and stop worrying about it! He's not going to starve!

Many thanks again xx

ReetPetit Thu 27-Jun-13 22:15:56

pasta with drinking chocolate on it? hmm

sorry but this all sounds a bit odd - do you think he has an eating disorder???

shouldn't he be sorting his own food and helping with/preparing food for the children? otherwise what is his purpose? (I know food prep is not an au pairs sole purpose btw...)

LadyHarrietdeSpook Fri 28-Jun-13 13:27:25

Based on my experience of living in the Czech Republic, if he is disappointed by the pasta route, he may be after things like chicken/pork cutlets, boiled potatoes or chips, and a veg and a gravy. Something like that. I really do not mean to sound nasty or over rely on stereotypes - the students I taught and lived with had diverse diets and probably would have quite happily lived off pizza every day (I lived there 20 years ago) but I think it is probably the case he had his main hot meal during the day and it would include meat.

If you can stand him meat everyday at lunch plus whatever you'd have at dinner, this would probably work. But he needs to learn to cook it himself for sure. (You're doing him a favour getting him to stand on his own two feet in this regard, don't feel bad about it!)

ChunkyPickle Fri 28-Jun-13 13:34:11

pasta with drinking chocolate and eggs? That smacks of someone who has no idea how to feed themselves......

I have to say, that in your case, I think I'd cook an extra portion of dinner for him to re-heat for lunch the next day - unless you want to spend the time teaching him how to cook.

Pizza or bread and cold cuts might be a standby? Surely everyone can manage to cook a frozen/chilled pizza and they're not too expensive.

Scarletlips Fri 28-Jun-13 19:22:51

Hi Imabadmum,
I always get our au pairs to cook dinner from their country once a week. I do this for 2 reasons. It gives the au pair a chance to eat food from their own country and also it gives my kids a chance to eat food from a different country.The au pair can google a recipe from their country, go to the supermarket and get the ingredients and then cook the dinner. I hope this helpssmile

Imabadmum Sat 29-Jun-13 07:50:18

Hi again,

Thanks for your comments! I think what he is looking for is a large cooked meal at lunchtime. We tend to subsist (at the weekends) on soup and toast/sandwiches/beans-on-toast type thing at lunchtime with a large home cooked hot meal at supper time. I had assumed this would be fine.

We nearly always have a portion of dinner over which i plate, cover and refrigerate, telling him he is welcome to reheat it for lunch the next day, sometimes he does but it has mostly got binned. Last weekend i roasted 2 chickens instead of the usual 1 so there would be plenty of cold cooked meat for him, and told him it was for him to eat at lunchtimes. He hasnt touched it.

I think pizza might be a good next option, i can easily fill the freezer with 5 large pizzas for his lunch each day. I'll try that next week!

I have tried with previous au pairs to get them to cook something from their home country once a week, and whilst they have usually all turned out something edible, all my previous aubpairs have been girls with better cooking skills. I have also noticed that it has been pretty stressful for them. So now i get him to choose a dish, get me a recipe and we cook it together (well i cook it and he 'supervises'). Hoefully he is learning something!

Anymore lunchtime suggestions gratefully received!

Thanks again x

Coconutty Sat 29-Jun-13 07:59:28

I get those baguettes that are part cooked quite often and use them for lunch, stuff full with ham, cheese or tuna and they are really filling. 5mins in the oven and they are ready.

littone Sat 29-Jun-13 08:26:32

It might sound daft but he obviously has never put food together so don't think he knows how. He maybe didn't know what to do with the left over chicken to make lunch. Sounds like he needs some suggestions. Ie as you go to work, there is chicken in the fridge so you can make a sandwich/salad/eat with pasta.

Nannyme1 Sat 29-Jun-13 11:26:37

Iamabadmum first thing I would like to say is you sound positively lovely! A lot of employers wouldn't even notice that their AP wasn't eating much for lunch/losing weight and wouldn't keep trying to find them different things.

Have you tried taking him to the supermarket with you to see if there is anything he gets excited about?

But it really does sound like he just doesn't have any idea how to cook anything at all I think him 'supervising' your cooking is a great idea. But even take it one step further by getting a kids cook book that his pictures etc and get him to and the children to cook together that way so he's got pictures, instructions and children to help (not sure how old your children are though)

Could his mum send him a care parcel with favourite snacks or even recipes for you all to try?

As lovely as you are being he is also in the country for this new experience and sometimes he will just have to suck it up and eat. I am super fussy and lost loads of weight when I travelled for a while there I was living on tomato sauce and hot chocolate (obviously separately) until I sucked it up and tried different dishes.

ICantRememberWhatSheSaid Sat 29-Jun-13 16:45:08

I have sons in their late teens and early twenties. It s incredible how much they can eat. They can easily out eat my DH. My DS's are 6'2 and skinny as hell.
Maybe you shoud increase your Au Pairs portions. It really effects my shopping bills when my DS's are at home.

My DSs love ham and cheese toasties every single day

I bet they would cook chocolate drink pasta too confused.

andrea29 Sun 30-Jun-13 16:39:53

Being from the Czech Republic can I just say that it really is not unusual there to have pasta with hot chocolate powder. Weird, I know, I personally don't like it but my boyfriend does and so do a lots of other Czechs.

LadyHarrietdeSpook Sun 30-Jun-13 23:47:41

Andrea
Funny - I missed that. Is that sort of a new thing, like in the last 20 yrs new?!

In Russia I was served chocolate butter with bread...fab...but at afternoon 'tea' time.

Imabadmum Tue 02-Jul-13 06:50:55

Hi all,

Well just an update. I have increased his portion sizes at supper - he had a mountain of food last night but ate the lot! I have bought a stack of pizzas and ready meals (breaded chicken, chicken kiev type things) which we wouldnt normally eat and told him they are for his lunches. He seemed really happy with that. I have bought partbaked baguettes for him previously but forgot about them. He seemed to enjoy them so will get them again.

Hopefully this will put things right.

Amdrea29 - thanks for shedding light on the chocolate pasta thing. I'm sorry but i still think it is yuk (and unhealthy) and don't really want the kids developing a taste for it!!

Thanks again x

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