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I need help to feed challenging ILs (They arrive this evening...)

(27 Posts)
GrumpyOldHorsewoman Tue 16-Aug-16 09:53:39

My ILs are due to arrive this evening (a whole extra day early) to stay with us for a week.
MIL does not eat:
Wheat (NO bread at all, inc breadcrumbs, no flour etc)
Red Meat
No wine
No caffeine
FIL (according to MIL) now also can't eat
Root vegetables (except potatoes)
won't eat cheese.

No medical reason for any of this (MIL eats cake/drinks coffee/vodka like a demon when she wants it) but she convinced herself, mid 60s that she'd be better off without all of these things (she isn't - she's been continuously complaining about not being well for 5 years - whole other thread), but feeding our whole family and them has become a challenge too far as there's always some component that leads to them theatrically scraping something off one plate and onto another, along with the passive aggressive tight smile and 'explanation'.
I've exhausted my chicken and fish repertoire and need help - any recipes that can be thrown my way gratefully received!

weebarra Tue 16-Aug-16 09:58:50
I like this one! Also chicken and cashew with egg noodles.

Dozer Tue 16-Aug-16 09:59:17

Bloody hell.

OK so fish, eggs, chicken, salads?

Overnight oats or eggs for breakfast?

ILoveAGoodBrusselSprout Tue 16-Aug-16 09:59:20

My culinary skills couldn't cope with someone that fussy!

Can you ask her what type of things she cooks for herself then go shopping together for the ingredients she needs?

Good luck! You might need wine

Dozer Tue 16-Aug-16 10:00:08

Oh, is eggs dairy?!

Perhaps take MiL to the supermarket so you can stock up on their usual stuff?

Dozer Tue 16-Aug-16 10:01:13

I wouldn't actually be able to cater for those requirements for a week and would suggest you stock up and they let you/DH know what to cook or cook themselves.

Vajazzler Tue 16-Aug-16 10:03:14

I love this recipe. You can serve with rice or mash, green beans and crusty bread to mop up the juices. Yummy

deepdarkwood Tue 16-Aug-16 10:08:15

God, you poor thing! I think:
- antipasta type lunches - lots of stuff that you help yourself so they can eat the chicken/lots of salad/coleslaw and ignore meat/bread
- summer soups (gazpacho; minestrone without the pasta. or the carrot I suppose...)
- lots of BBQ - again, chicken/fish/salad is easy there and help yourself so ignore what you don't like
- fish pie (but it's a faff unless you buy lots of components imo)
- chicken in white wine with mushrooms/asparagus?
- how about some veggie classics, nut roast or stuffed peppers?

What do they eat for breakfast normally? I'd agree with a supermarket shop with her on the first day to stock up - and get her to tell you what she'd normally cook!I would also ask MIL if she would cook one of her marvellous signature dishes for at least one day and eat out a lot ;-)

bookbook Tue 16-Aug-16 10:08:17

Butternut squash/ chicken and leek/ mushroom risotto
Tray bake with chicken thighs/salmon
Savoury rice
Stir fry
Bean casserole /soup
How about a healthy all English breakfast- grilled bacon/poached eggs/ roasted tomatoes

ItsLikeRainOnYourWeddingDay Tue 16-Aug-16 10:09:29

This diet is a choice not a necessity so why are you pandering to it.

They should be doing a chunk of the cooking imo

DoreenLethal Tue 16-Aug-16 10:09:41

Eggs are not dairy.

Egg noodles have wheat in them.

When she gets there, take her shopping for stuff that she will be cooking for her and her husband.

But for a start for evening meals:
Veggie/chicken curry with no root veg
Veggie/beef chilli with no root veg
Veggie/chicken pasta with gluten free pasta [put the cheese on a separate bowl for all the rest to liberally sprinkle over the top and just have the gluten free pasta for her]
Some meaty thing with a large salad including lots of fresh veg
Some chicken or meaty casserole with baked potatoes
Mushroom stroganoff with rice
Picky dinner with dishes of all the left overs from above that were not finished during the week with rice/GF and nan breads etc.

Omlettes, GF sandwiches and fried rice for lunches - whatever breakfasts they normally have.

bookbook Tue 16-Aug-16 10:15:27

Gah - didn't think on egg noodles...but I also use rice noodles

bombayflambe Tue 16-Aug-16 10:17:51

Roast chicken with potatoes and vegetables.

prawn curry with rice, dahl and a tomato and coriander salad.

Home made chicken burgers served in wheat free thins with salad and sauce served with wedges (make your own to avoid wheat)

A barbecue with chicken, salmon for them, usual stuff for you, plus corn on the cob, potato salad, coleslaw, new potatoes cooked and threaded onto skewers, then brushed with oil and finished on the barbecue so they go crispy. aware that (most) stock cubes contain wheat.

bombayflambe Tue 16-Aug-16 10:22:00

Paella, risotto, most Indian food if you substitute oil for Ghee. are wheat and dairy free.

LaContessaDiPlump Tue 16-Aug-16 10:24:33

Definitely ask her what to cook - if you over-egg the drama and explain how terribly worried you are that they won't be adequately fed and KEEP going on about it, she will hopefully step up a bit and not default to the shitty baseline of 'Oh we don't want to be a bother'.

If she DOES say that then say 'Well, I would be happier if you'd specify dishes. Really. IT WOULD MAKE MY LIFE EASIER if you specified a few dishes.' <PA smile, hold gaze slightly too long> For maximum impact do this in front of DH and FIL so they can argue that you didn't mean it that way when she bitches later on although you did

I'm a cow, aren't I grin

TheABC Tue 16-Aug-16 10:25:13

I would suggest a buffet, so you can easily feed your family standard food and they can pick at the rest. Suggest buying GL pasta (with a stir in sauce) a cooked chicken and a salad.

Other options:
basic stir fry with rice noodles
curry pack (you can always get the vegetarian variety for MiL)
Baked potatoes with homous or fish and sunflower spread.
Baked fish (e.g. pollack with a squeeze of lemon and herbs in foil) alongside roasted veg. Just hack up a variety of veg (onions, peppers, garlic, sweet potatoes, carrots etc.); drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper. She again can pick out what she wants.

I am wheat - free by choice as it makes my eczema flair up. The easiest way forward is to get some basic GL ingredients in (or better still, she buys them) and make your normal meals. Her diet does sound crazily restricted - if it all feels like too much faff, you could get her some vegan soup and cook as normal!

LaContessaDiPlump Tue 16-Aug-16 10:33:31

If eggs are acceptable, then do a frittata: eggs, red peppers, potatoes. Simples.

Pret are very good for vegan options when out and about, and M&S do good vegan salady options too - not sure about GF though I'm afraid.

bookbook Tue 16-Aug-16 10:37:03

Good idea on the roast chicken. Just have gravy on the side for everyone else.
Then if enough left, cold chicken and salad with jacket potatoes next day.
Maybe one good gluten free cake? - I have a good standby recipe if you want , as I have 2 GF people in my family ( but it does have nuts, which another member can't have...)

GrumpyOldHorsewoman Tue 16-Aug-16 10:58:12

Some great ideas - thank you! Forgot to mention the yeast - when I said no bread at all, that includes all bread known to man. She makes her own (not really bread) and does at least bring that with her. She said gluten isn't the problem, it's wheat. confused

I will admit to surreptitiously (when I suddenly remember the dish I'm cooking contains contraband) adding the odd thing like flour to thicken a sauce or wine for a bit of flavour. As there are no medical reasons for her abstinence, there are no health repercussions and she's none the wiser - TBH, I don't actually feel guilty for doing it as she's got more and more difficult (they come to stay 3-4 times a year, sometimes for a fortnight) and I've just completely run out of ideas. One thing I just can't do though is take them out to eat as it is quite a trial (I would never, ever take them somewhere I'd want to go back to again, put it that way!)
Please keep the recipe ideas coming though - I'm sure I can garner a week's worth of food and have some for future reference at this rate.

SheDoneAlreadyDoneHadHerses Tue 16-Aug-16 18:20:39

shakshuka (eggs coddled in tomato sauce, basically):
roast dinner
salmon traybake (

THirdEeye Wed 17-Aug-16 09:29:39

Chicken/fish tandoori (dry spices as the coating and no yoghurt), served with rice and salad.

Quinoa instead of cous cous, then you could make a chicken or fish tagine

Gluten free pasta and serve with qourn bolognase sauce.

dreamingofsun Wed 17-Aug-16 11:26:16

i'd be inclined to get a big frozen turkey. Eat that first day and then use leftovers for various meals. If it was getting too tricky then the person could always have plain turkey with chips and baked beans instead of what everyone else was eating (which would probably focus their minds on what they could/couldn't eat)

dreamingofsun Wed 17-Aug-16 11:27:55

gluten isn't the problem its she mad, wheat has gluten in it?

InTheDessert Wed 17-Aug-16 11:47:05

Fajitas for you all, with lettuce leaves for MiL to wrap up filling.
Risottos (chicken and green veg, butternut squash, prawn)
I'd be looking at chicken/fish/veggie with rice or potatoes for most meals.
If you can bring yourself to do more than one dish, you could have eg Indian night with a root veg filled veggie curry, a chicken one with nothing much in, and a red meat one.

GrumpyOldHorsewoman Thu 18-Aug-16 11:30:04

Thought I might do my own update on this thread for future reference as to what I'm feeding them:
Tues dinner - Swordfish, Salad, hard-boiled eggs, New potatoes (of course MIL doused hers in butter - like I said, the rules only apply when she wants them to.)
Weds lunch - veggie frittata: potatoes, onions, red peppers, tomatoes, basil, eggs
Weds Dinner - Seasoned roast chicken, Potatoes (did I mention that she's Irish? A meal is not a meal without spuds), broccoli, peas, gravy.
Bit stuck for tonight, but I'm leaning towards fish again - maybe prawns and rice of some description. Only trouble is, she or her DH won't eat anything spicy or 'too exotic'. Might do a risotto...?

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