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Lasagna has become synonymous with complaining in my house. It takes half a day to heat it up to a safe temperature in the oven. Once that has finally been achieved, the kids whine about having to eat it.

They point out how inedible it is from the extra golden, crusty cheese along the edges of the pan to the spiciness of the sausage. Some will only eat the cheese that so easily separates from the top of the noodles. Others go out of their way to scrape the cheese monstrosity off, making disgusted faces as they do it.

As parents, we complain that there isn’t enough lasagna for our family of five. Luckily Costco sells frozen lasagna in packs of two. We have tried to heat up two lasagnas at once. The only difference on those nights is that our pre-teen with the hollow leg gets enough to eat. The other two are still generous with the portions they scrape into the garbage.

The scraping of food scraps (ahem – or full servings) into the trash must happen while their eyes are closed. There must be some Eyes Closed Food Scraping Competition I don’t know about. Either that or they can’t aim or hit the center of a large hole if their life depended on it.

Food desperately clings to the far side of the garbage bag trying to land in the expressway to the landfill. Chunks litter the inside top of the lid. Leftover bites of dinner drip down the cupboard doors and pool on the floor. I see it the next morning when I open the cupboard for hair accessories. I would worry about this obvious developmental delay but I’m still waiting for the Eyes Closed Food Tossing Competition flyer in the mail. Maybe it’s a real thing.

As if finding last night’s petrified rejects isn’t bad enough, the sink looks like a food bloodbath. Pieces of meat look like the horrifying aftermath of a severe accident. Red sauce is splattered all over the sink walls and often crosses the divide into the non-disposal side of the sink. My pet peeve is having to pull out my archeology tools to unearth food carnage cemented to the inside of the sink. No need to call for an autopsy. It’s obvious what happened in this crime scene – Dinnercide.

So I had the brilliant idea of making my own lasagna … from scratch. Well as scratchy as oven ready noodles and jars of spaghetti sauce will allow. Grandma and Grandpa’s recent babysitting gig included homemade lasagna. The kids loved it. I have been toying with the idea of making homemade lasagna for a while now. Laziness has always won out. Until now.

I mean really, how hard could it be? I watched my mom regularly turn ingredients into meals. No pre-packaged frozen meals were ever heated up in our oven. She even made her own spaghetti sauce! My mom was a rockstar in the kitchen. I could do that.


It looked as delicious as it smelled. We couldn’t wait to dig in. Everyone had a large square of ooey gooey cheesy goodness. There were no leftovers!

Some things I didn’t count on and ended up being somewhat disappointed in are:

The taste. I may have used the wrong spaghetti sauce because it was very sweet. Maybe I shouldn’t be using spaghetti sauce. Laziness wins again! I was looking for savory. The kind of tangy acidity that makes your mouth water as you eat. That didn’t happen. It also wouldn’t stop me. Watch out lasagna, I will try to master you again!

The other problem was The Hunger Strike. This was a wrench in my otherwise idyllic plans. Certainly not a reason to throw in the towel. Especially since my daughter is certifiably spoiled rotten. She is under the false assumption that she is celebrity royalty and should be treated as such. We’re peons and function under the rule that no one is special. Everyone eats the same thing. You kill it, we grill it. You will eat it and like it!

The Hunger Strike is as common as The Toy War. My kids take turns with The Hunger Strike. They pull their faces into a tragically sad stoic visage. Then they make martyr statements about refusing to eat the inedible drivel we have so rudely placed before them. Don’t get the wrong idea. They say eloquent things like, “I’m not eating this! I hate this kind of food!”

We play along by saying things like, “You never know when we might have cookies for dessert!” At which point the martyr’s eyes light up and the clouds pass from their face. Two seconds later they look back down at their food and decide no treat is worth the sacrifice. As they stir their plate they scheme. Then the bargaining begins. It’s an exhausting war that we’re too stubborn to not be involved in.

Last night the bargaining chip was, “Can I put it in the fridge for later? I just want to play outside right now.” I argued against this stall tactic. I’ve heard the I Promise stalls many times. Nothing ever comes of it but heartache. Somehow the food ended up in the fridge and was pulled out for breakfast and shockingly enough was not touched.

One thing led to another. Now we’ve traded one war for another. She’s in her room not cleaning it. Oh well. Even the upturned nose of my picky picky daughter will not keep me from trying again. I will make homemade lasagna again. Garfield would be proud of me. Add that to my cooking repertoire!