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Nanny has offered to cook for us in the evenings - how can I make this work?

(32 Posts)
bossykate Thu 22-Feb-07 12:40:11

We have a nanny helping out out a couple of evenings a week. She picks dd up from nursery, picks ds up from after school club, brings them home, makes supper, does baths, puts them to bed and tidies up. She is very good and we are lucky to have her.

She has recently offered to cook for dh & I on the evenings she is with us.

The children have separate meals from dh & I and both sets of evening meals are planned and shopped for in advance. There is a list of the week's meals up in the kitchen.

So far we have tried this cooking lark once - but it was clearly stressful for her to cook an unfamiliar recipe (from our list) and she offered to cook from one of her own recipes in future - but i am reluctant to deviate from my carefully constructed menu planning and shopping process - what it loses in spontaneity it gains in convenience!

Is it reasonable to ask her to cook what I have planned? Should I just let this idea go? Does anyone else have a nanny who cooks for the whole family and how does it work?


MrsBadger Thu 22-Feb-07 12:44:16

I don't think it's entirely reasonable to ask her to cook something you've planned and chosen without any input from her at all (I hate it when DH does this to me and I am landed with an unfamiliar recipe).
Could you consult with her on dishes she is happy to cook and then plan to have them the nights she's making dinner?

Actually, what do your kids eat that's so different from you and Dh? On the night she's cooking could you plan for eg roast chicken, casserole, pasta that everyone likes?

DizzyDave Thu 22-Feb-07 12:45:58

ask her what she likes to cook, agree a couple of dishes, pre plan them then you can still do your organised shop etc and she knows what she's doing.

princessmel Thu 22-Feb-07 12:47:16

Yes, can you re-do the planner so that on the nights she cooks its a meal that she's happy with and the whole family can eat it. Her too maybe?

I've never known a nanny to offer to cook for the parents before. ( I am qualified as a nanny and have lots of nanny friends) Very unusual.

nannyj Thu 22-Feb-07 12:47:20

When i cook for my kids if it is something that i can make a large portion of then i make enough for everyone. But i choose what i cook and do all the shopping, dont know how easy it would be to prepare 2 meals in one evening to be honest. It depends on what things you and your DH like.

bossykate Thu 22-Feb-07 13:50:15

thanks for the responses so far - a couple of issues preventing the "just cook a bigger batch of what she gives the kids" - which i agree in the ideal world would be the simplest solution.

she isn't a full time nanny and i estimate she has the grand total of 30 mins between walking in the front door and getting the children's tea on the table - so casserole, roast chicken, and even, i'd argue, made-from-scratch spag bol are off the menu. these are the kind of things we eat as a family at the weekends when there's more time.

then there is ds the picky eater supremo. over the years we've worked out a - limited - range of nutritious meals that he will eat than can be on the table in half an hour or less. an example of one of these would be ham, potatoes and cooked veg, e.g. peas, tomatoes and sweetcorn. he loves that - but it doesn't sound v appetising to me as an evening meal!

the kinds of things dh and i eat on weekday evenings - soups, thai salad, pasta dishes, stir fries - ds won't eat.

just to get that off my chest!

i think the simplest thing would be either to see if there are any meals i can think of which could be ready in less than 30 mins, which the whole family would eat, which would stand a 2/3 hour wait for dh & I. or do as dizzydave suggested and ask for her suggestions for integration into the plan.

thanks for the responses so far

bossykate Thu 22-Feb-07 13:51:35

yes, it's brilliant she has offered to do this - i'd like to find a way of taking it up which doesn't stress her or me out!

ScottishThistle Thu 22-Feb-07 13:59:49

Should be esy enough to plan that Nanny makes soup one night & a pasta/noodles type dish another night?

Maybe it's time to encourage your child to eat more of the foods the family are eating rather than pandering to a fuss pot supremo?

bossykate Thu 22-Feb-07 14:07:40

pandering, eh?

i won't respond. do please post any helpful suggestions you may have.

bossykate Thu 22-Feb-07 14:08:45

i knew i would regret posting about food. it brings out the worst in people.

nannyj Thu 22-Feb-07 14:29:14

Would she have the time to cook the sort of meals you like then in 30 mins? It'svery nice of her to offer so i can understand you wanting to find a way around it. One of my easy favourites is roast chicken and roast veg, would your dc fancy that? Very easy to prepare and then pop in the oven and forget for an hour and a half.

bossykate Thu 22-Feb-07 14:31:35

yes we do all like roast chicken - how could this be on the table in 30 mins? <<puzzled>>

nannyj Thu 22-Feb-07 15:32:55

Sorry was thinking she could set the timer for the oven.

bossykate Thu 22-Feb-07 15:36:57

thanks for the clarification .

NurseyJo Thu 22-Feb-07 15:37:07

Message withdrawn

bossykate Thu 22-Feb-07 15:37:41

so who would bung it in the slow cooker?

ScottishThistle Thu 22-Feb-07 15:38:08

Sorry to have offended you re pandering, I've yet to come across a fuss pot supremo as I eat with the children & they alwys eat the same as me!

Is your nanny around in the day to pre-prepare food at all or at least have time to cut/slice veg etc?

Millarkie Thu 22-Feb-07 15:38:22

Does she work concurrent days? The way I do things is that I cook 'properly' for dh and me, taking longer than half an hour, after kids in bed...but then keep some for the kids to have 'warmed over' the next day.
Was thinking maybe she get the kids cooking with her after they've had their ham and veg , to make something for you and dh, then they get it for their tea the next night??

bossykate Thu 22-Feb-07 15:43:35

scottishthistle - it is a "hot button" issue for me - especially as i also have dd who is a wonderful eater and always has been and they have been weaned, fed and "trained" exactly the same way. believe me, ds has had no end of "encouragement" to eat more widely. thanks for your apology, i'm sorry i got all uptight .

thanks for these further replies. i think the issue here is less about the logistics of cooking and more about finding common ground for what the dcs and dh & I eat on weekdays.

Bozza Thu 22-Feb-07 15:49:06

The nanny could do the potatoes, ham and veg for the DC and also bung a chicken/potatoes/roast veg for you. I think you do need to sit down and discuss with the nanny how to make it work. Maybe one day, she will cook something that will be OK for all 4 of you, then one day cook seperately for the children and for you/DH.

ScottishThistle Thu 22-Feb-07 15:49:45

Sounds like you need to have a meeting & make a shortlist of things you all like & that are manageable for your Nanny to prepare.

Just a thought: Certain meals just aren't nice eaten 3 hours later...When Mummy's away I prepare more dinner so I can leave some for Daddy but sometimes I think 'Yuck, I wouldn't want to eat that later!'...Trial & error I guess.

Risotto works well, curry dishes, chilli, soup ( a fave of all in this house).

Soapbox Thu 22-Feb-07 15:53:09

BK - why doesn't she get into the routine of cooking the meal for you and DH and then the children get it heated up the following day?

So day 1, she would cook chilli, roast chicken, soup etc on a timescale that it would be ready for you and DH when you get home, and then DS and DD get it warmed through the following evening.

That way the pre-dinner prep for the children is very quick (just warming things through) and she then has a bit longer to prepare the adults meal and what she will use for the following day.

The quid pro quo though is that you will need to do the same on the days she doesn't work so that there is a meal ready for the children just to be heated up!

What will DS actually eat - is there enough variety to cope with this idea and just add fresh cooked veg every day?

MrsSchadenfreude Thu 22-Feb-07 16:19:30

Soapbox - that's what I do, and it works very well. Or bung everything in the slow cooker the night before and we all eat it (slow cooker stews very good way to "hide" veg as well).

My Slovak au pair used to cook us some Slovak dishes sometimes - stuffed cabbage, heavy dumplings etc.

bossykate Thu 22-Feb-07 18:34:57

soapbox, thank you for that suggestion - although i think i will have to create and walk through a worked example with a time series

mrschadenfreude, do you cook things in the slow cooker the night before and then leave them for c. 24hrs?

bossykate Thu 22-Feb-07 18:43:33

see, imho, slow cookers are fantastic if you have spare time in the morning... but i don't. so would be very keen to see if there is a way we can use the slow cooker to help us with this.

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