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To be annoyed at DH's (non-)usage of leftovers?

(89 Posts)
murmuration Mon 12-Oct-15 09:28:46

A bit of background: DH has CFS/ME and stays home with DD, while also starting up a business part-time (this is to explain why he can't just cook himself and DD lunch). I also have CFS/ME, but not as severely, and work full time (although compressed into 4.5 days a week). I'm also currently having health issues where I can't eat in the evening, so I don't have dinner (which makes this whole thing very weird).

I try to meal plan such that I leave DH and DD leftovers every weekday for lunch (4 meals, as I'm home for a late lunch on one day), and also provide dinners. I cook and eat lunch on the weekends, sometimes a dinner (but don't eat it), as well as dinner 1-3 times a week. This means I work to make sure DH has 7-9 meals worth of leftovers a week, and 4 for me to bring into work. Because of my current health issues, and because DH and DD share a meal (she's just 3), it means the meals I leave for DH are much larger than mine, so I can't easily just eat the ones I leave for him.

This weekend I had to throw out two moldy meals that DH had not eaten. This annoys me, as it seems like while he'll eat whatever I serve when I cook it right then, he picks and chooses the left-overs such that he'll go for the fresh-made meal from yesterday instead of the one from two days ago that needs to be eaten. And then he waits so long they go bad. Food waste just gives me the rage, and also I'm trying to economise by doing things like using less meats, etc, in a dish, and I find he is wasting entire meals!

Back before my health issues worsened, I used to stick meals I saw getting old in the freezer and take them in with me for lunch. But now they are so big they make me sick. Plus, even back then I'd have a terrible back-log, since I use less leftovers than him.

AIBU to expect DH to eat the food I leave for him? He does in fact want leftovers - if they're not there, I'll come home to find he's struggled to get food: he'll manage to get enough random items together to make a reasonable meal for DD (a banana and some bread plus some ham, cheese and yoghurt, etc.) but doesn't eat much himself.

Although now that I've written this, I'm being to feel like IABU. 7-9 left-over meals out of 14 is a lot in a week. Perhaps I should be cooking more single-serving items for dinner, as I currently usually make meals that have left-overs in order to produce the amount we need (which is made larger than it needs to be because of DH wasting them, argh!).

Penfold007 Mon 12-Oct-15 09:34:30

Perhaps he doesn't like leftovers. Try leaving items that he can make sandwiches with.

Gobbolinothewitchscat Mon 12-Oct-15 09:35:53

I would go for making single serving meals. I'm a SAHM with a 1 and a 2 year old and quite often make extra so we can have left overs the next day. However, there are just days that I don't feel like eating the left overs.

Gobbolinothewitchscat Mon 12-Oct-15 09:37:29

Also - I'm probably being dim, but why does he need 7-9 meals of left overs a week? Surely he just needs 4?

FelicityGubbins Mon 12-Oct-15 09:37:54

If it were me I would do them both a packed lunch on an evening and leave it ready for the next day and forget about leftovers for them, just cook enough extra for you to take into work for your lunch, I couldn't eat leftovers every day...

Every1KnowsJeffTheJerkOlantern Mon 12-Oct-15 09:38:32

I have a dh that wont eat leftovers. It stems from his mums obsession that it would poison them if she reheated anything hmm

In our house me and the dc eat the leftovers. And when we do, dh fends for himself with a disgruntled look on his face!

Gobbolinothewitchscat Mon 12-Oct-15 09:46:23

Sorry - just want to apologise. Your OP was perfectly clear re: why you left the number of meals that you do and I was just being dim flowers

I agree that a packed lunch might be the best option. Or, freeze single serve meals and then DH and DD can chose what they want that day. As long as they are not in foil, they can even defrost in the microwave

Artandco Mon 12-Oct-15 09:47:25

Just stop leaving leftovers

Make some meals for freezer in adult and children's sizes so either you, Dh or child can eat when you want, otherwise let them make own lunch. Sorry but he can make some cheese on toast and some fruit just as easy as heating leftovers

yumyumpoppycat Mon 12-Oct-15 10:13:53

It is quite a lot of leftovers. Could he cook some fresh evening meals during the week?

murmuration Mon 12-Oct-15 10:18:07

He does like leftovers, just there are some he likes more than others, and if those are there, he doesn't eat the rest!

Although I see IABU. Maybe I can work on leaving a few packed lunches/lunch platters or such ready. The problem with leaving him to make it himself is it appears his ability to do things around lunch time is about the level of take out of fridge, heat up, dump some onto DD's plate and the rest onto his. If I leave him to put something together himself, he uses all his energy on DD's meal, and is exhausted before getting his own (I appreciate that he prioritises her, but I wish he'd think a little more and also take care of himself!). But maybe a nice plate all ready he can pull out will work. I might have to leave it when there are no 'high interest' leftovers available as I imagine he would preferentially chose something warm over a sandwhich if he liked it better.

I could also warm up his dinner meals for him, as I have been leaving him to do that himself when I don't cook. That way I could make him the older meals when needed.

He cooks a meal once very few months smile usually on a weekend when I've been able to watch DD. He's just too exhausted after a day of watching her to cook, which I understand.

yumyumpoppycat Mon 12-Oct-15 10:27:31

Maybe clearly stack and label the meals in such a way that there can be no confusion ;) A platter for a bit of variety sounds like a good option. Also he can always stick the meal in the freezer himself if he decides to go for something else. If you have provided a meal and he doesn't eat properly there isn't much you can do about that.

momb Mon 12-Oct-15 10:41:59

Box and freeze, then you won't need to worry about throwing things away. Maybe meal plan and leave him a list rather than expecting him to remember what comes next? I know if my kids go to the fridge they'll take what they fancy, but if I've left a note saying 'eat so and so' then they generally comply.

murmuration Mon 12-Oct-15 10:56:05

Maybe I can just go ahead and label them with suggested days. Or shove the newer ones farther back in the fridge so he grabs the closest ones first. As I was throwing out meals this weekend, and he said that he 'doesn't keep track' of which are new, I asked if some kind of labeling would help. He took it pretty badly, but I think because he saw it as a criticism of him (understandable given he knew I had just tossed food!). I could try either suggesting labeling or just go ahead and do it after some time has passed, so it's not immediately connected to something I'm annoyed about.

He doesn't like leftovers that have been frozen, as he says they taste funny. So he needs to have fresh ones. Which makes it so maddening when he doesn't eat them!

HaPPy8 Mon 12-Oct-15 11:10:10

Im sorry but i think your husband is being selfish and a bit of a knob for want of a better word. Im sorry that he has health issues, but so do you. Life sounds difficult for both of you. But he is wasting good food apparently 'because its not quite what he fancies' while you are working full time and preparing all his meals for him and coping with your own health problems. That is not to downplay his role ...looking after your daugther i very important. But he has food to eat, he should respect that and you. Its normal behaviour isn't it? I might not fancy a ham sandwich one day but if the ham is going out of date tomorrow, of course thats what i would have!

PlaymobilPirate Mon 12-Oct-15 11:10:43

Just make him a sandwich - no need for a hot lunch every day surely? Or a tin of soup and bread for him and DD to share?

yumyumpoppycat Mon 12-Oct-15 11:31:59


PacificMouse Mon 12-Oct-15 11:33:35

Do you have a freezer? I do something similar than you but freeze any leftover so I don't have to eat the same thing twice in a row. It also allow for more variety.

Also I think you need to have a word with your DH. It's great you are cooking for him tbh and I don't think he has any ground for grumbling or been choosy. I say that as someone who has ME too. DH cooks all our lunches (warm meals), a lot of the evening meals and I wouldn't dare making any comments because it's quite how I would expect it to be done.
However, maybe involve him more in the meal planning side of things, make him say what he wants for lunch (ie can he do a sandwich/beans on toast once in a while too?) so there is less waste.

PacificMouse Mon 12-Oct-15 11:37:54

He doesn't like frozen leftovers??? most stews taste BETTER afetr being frozen and cooked again. What a fool...

Sorry but he lost me there. He is the one who is ill and can't do lunches. So, imo, he is also the one who needs to find a solution to this problem, a solution that works in such a way that it is actually mangeable for him.

I do have a question though. If you found lets say 4 mels worth goiung off in the fridge, is it possible that actually you are preparing too much? Surely he shuld have needed these meals at some point in the week?

And YY to just go ahead and label stuff. I would put the date by which it needs to be eaten.

OnlyLovers Mon 12-Oct-15 11:40:59

Life sounds difficult for both of you. But he is wasting good food apparently 'because its not quite what he fancies' while you are working full time and preparing all his meals for him and coping with your own health problems.

I agree, he's not being reasonable. You both have issues and you have to pull together.

Label and date them. He can grow up and deal with it.

specialsubject Mon 12-Oct-15 12:38:38

so talk to him. As an intelligent adult he must know that food waste is disgusting as well as costing money.

ask him to work with you to make a list of meals that he likes and are easy for you to prepare, and to use his brain to eat in the right order so food doesn't get wasted.

he's not a child and should neither behave nor be treated like one.

Schrodingersmum Mon 12-Oct-15 12:56:41

As a fellow M.E fibro sufferer for 14 years and much recovered for the last 4 years (long story) i do know that food can be a minefield

When I was very ill my body craved certain foods and I couldnt bear the thought of other foods, this could change day to day

Could you leave more leftovers of the ones he prefers and cook less of the ones that he leaves

There is a growing body of evidence linking these conditions to coeliac disease and the food avoidance and cravings (pica) can indicate nutritional deficiences which shuts the mitochondria down causing the M.E symptoms

murmuration Mon 12-Oct-15 12:58:56

pacific - they're there because I'll make new leftovers on, say, Tuesday, so on Wed he eats Tue's leftovers instead of the one remaining from Sunday, and then yes, I do end up making more because by Fri Sunday's food is pretty old, so I'll cook again on Thu. I guess I could just leave precisely the leftovers needed and then make more, but that means he'll be eating the same thing several times in a row (e.g, Tues for dinner fresh, then two leftovers on Wed lunch and Wed dinner), which I understand can be monotonous.

I've asked several times about things that might help, but he seems to have difficultly thinking in that way. He often only sees the way things are done now, and either can't or doesn't want to think about a different way and how it might work. As I've known him longer, I am beginning to suspect it really is a 'can't' think that way, as times that I've instituted something it occasionally makes things better. Maybe that's the thing to do -- I'm thinking maybe a whiteboard on the fridge with suggestions for the lunches during the week, plus their date (as he says he doesn't keep track of that).

murmuration Mon 12-Oct-15 13:11:30

(Xpost) schrodingers, I do that, although I have to be very careful because if he has something too often, he doesn't like it any more. I've learned this by him suddenly criticising my cooking and asking what's 'changed', and it has happened so many times with so many different things when the only common variable is that I made it frequently over the last few weeks. This is compounded by the situation now, where he has it as leftovers too!

Unfortunately I'm not doing so well at the moment, so I am not up to making lots of variety all within his 'top' range, meaning I'll often be throwing on a stir fry because its simple. Ideally, I'd make the foods he likes but cycle through them, which would in fact be great as I really enjoy cooking. But it's one of the things I've found has dropped out of my life, and the first to go as it is the easiest to substitute with something of less effort (e.g., I have to clean the bathroom, but I can cook mac and cheese instead of lamb vindaloo).

I am also sensitive to the fact that he does have strong reactions to food. he has a variety of sensitivities and allergies, which I always avoid, but there are days when wheat is worse (no mac and cheese), or he can't take acidic food (no tomato sauces), etc. But sometimes it just seems he 'doesn't want' something, and I wish he could just eat something less preferred on a day when he doesn't actually have a strong aversion! He has been tested for coeliac and come back negative, although we tried gluten-free for a while. It made a very tiny difference, but not enough to justify the limit to his diet, which was making things worse by having so few choices he ended up not wanting anything.

yumyumpoppycat Mon 12-Oct-15 13:23:54

It sounds very difficult, you don't want to make yourself more ill by getting too stressed about it. I have no experience of that condition so can't really comment but he probably does need to take more responsibility for himself, ie sucking it up and eating a meal he has frozen if he couldn't bring himself to eat it previously; helping think of meals for the week etc?

OnlyLovers Mon 12-Oct-15 13:26:04

From your last post he sounds like a real pain in the arse.

If any of this is linked to his illness it's not so bad, but if he's just 'not wanting' something that's different.

In fact, even if it IS linked to his illness he's still an adult, in a relationship, and he needs to take some kind of responsibility.

I'd say do everything you can to support him, up to and including labelling and dating food. Beyond that, as far as I'm concerned, he can find food for himself or just skip the odd meal.

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