I Need Someone to Cook for Me

The following was written by our 14 year old daughter.  She was the kid least thrilled by the $20 cooking challenge, and was even less excited to write about her week.  Mom’s note:  despite her impressions of the week, she actually did as good a job as anyone.   (Here’s her food list.)


This week I did $20 of food for a week. The meal I enjoyed eating most was fish sticks and French fries. The spices I put in my potatoes were parsley, paprika, garlic powder and salt. It was good.

The food I liked least was the chicken. I cooked it in the oven and I put thyme and other spices that I forgot. It tasted really bad.

I also made rice. In it I put onion, chicken and turmeric. It was ok. The hardest part was washing dishes. I don’t even know who made all those dirty dishes. Oh! I almost forgot– when I was cooking my rice I burned my onion so I had to change my pot. Tell me, who would do that? I had to spend 10 minutes washing the pot.

For my dessert I made cinnamon rolls. They were great, even though I was not in a good mood when I ate them.  The most fun part was making ramen stir fry. In my stir fry I put onions, carrots, chicken and soy sauce. It was really good.

This week I learned that I need more like $100 than $20 a week so I can hire someone to cook for me because I am a bad cook. If I had more money I would hire my brothers to cook for me.


  1. That is the best so far! I love her perspective.

  2. Thanks again for sharing. I love the writeup–such a clear voice that is rich with personality. Those cinnamon rolls look awesome!

  3. I found this the most realistic post of those your children wrote just because the most difficult part of cooking for one, I find, is not planning a menu or staying within a budget, but the solitude of it. I was raised to cook for four who ate like six, and I find it hard to cook for one; even after twenty years I still make too much food and end up with leftovers I don’t want to eat (even when I freeze them for a few weeks later), but the real problem is having the feeling that it’s an important enough activity for me to cook for myself or to create variety for myself as audience. If it is left to me I make a pot of something and eat it for three or four days in a row, but that means I ruin the dish for myself for the next two months. As a result, in order to avoid that problem, I often pay others to cook for me, i.e., eat in restaurants, because it feels more efficient (even if it’s not financially prudent) than the silly activity of cooking something complex just for me and ensures a level of variety that keeps me wanting to eat.

  4. I, also, would burn the onions. It’s true. 😀 And one of the biggest things I have learned over and over (okay, experienced maybe, if it’s over and over I must not have really learned …) is that which dishes I make is directly related to how many need to be washed, and how easy it is! For example, I don’t like cinnamon rolls – but I HATE making them, because the sugar sticks soooo badly, especially the burned bits. And the pan is never clean again, just like that … I would also like to pay someone to cook for me. And clean the kitchen. Especially clean the kitchen …

  5. Loved this post. I am right there with her. I need someone to cook for me too 🙂

  6. Hilarious! Your cinnamon rolls look INCREDIBLE!!! 🙂 Loved your post!

  7. Anyone who can make cinnamon rolls look like that is not a bad cook!
    I think it’s cute that they all made french fries. I think the oldest set the example there.

  8. Kristi McDaniel says:

    I have so thoroughly enjoyed this segment of the kids cooking for themselves with $20! I hope they do it again!!

  9. I have some pieces of advice for you as you get older:

    1. Should you deicde to marry…seek out people attending cooking school who value their familes and makes you laugh.

    2. When (I hope) you attend college should that be your decsion in life, please seek out writing classes..your humor and insights are hilarious…I myself would love to see you becomes a humorous writer. Writing seems to serve your family well, I’m sure you will have more than the support you need should you look into that.

    3. Please write again here! Your comments made my day!

  10. So adorable and hilarious! Your kids are awesome. 🙂

  11. Awesome, Mary you have a bunch of really great kids.

    Sweet 14 year old daughter of Mary, you are a treasure. Each person is uniquely made by GOD and I love that you let yourself shine here.

    (I am a stay at home mom of five, and love it when my husband cooks. He is a far better cook than me!)

  12. Two times in my life have I made Cinnamon Rolls all the way from measure the flour to frosting.
    First time was in Home Ec class, when I was part of a team of 3, and second time about 4 years into being married, when someone asked me to make some for a Bake Sale. Neither time were the rolls as pretty as those here, and the second time did not taste good enough to put on a Sale table.
    If I want Cinnamon Rolls now, I buy a tube of GRANDS in the dairy case. At least the smell coming from the oven seems homemade.

    So, I salute a 14 year old who can bake Cinnamon Rolls so pretty. As for being in not so good a mood while eating them (and I imagine while staring at the sticky pile of dishes, waiting to be washed) my grandma always said “something always tastes better when someone else done the cookin’ and cleanin’!”

  13. Ahh Ha Ha. I love it. I want to hire someone to cook for me too. 🙂 You did great!

  14. Thanks for posting (a few posts ago) the site where the calorie counts are calculated! Super useful site that I never would have found on my own.

  15. Such honesty! Haha!

  16. I have burnt onions!

  17. Stacy Kuhl says:

    You did a great job! Now, how did you make those cinnamon rolls? Recipe with details, please!!!! 🙂

  18. Can your brothers come cook for me, too, for $100 a week? I don’t care for cooking, either. It does NOT appear that you are a “bad cook”,however! Great job on both your cooking and writing efforts.

  19. This was my favorite of the Ostyn food blogs. Thanks for sharing!

  20. I live in “over 62” housing, on limited income. I discovered my senior
    center this past winter. For 3:00 a meal, I can eat there 5 days a week. I have never cared for cooking. ADD causes me much anxiety in a
    grocery store! So I get along on yogurt or instant oatmeal on the weekend, and get one good meal a day at my senior center. I’ve always thought for those young people who didn’t like cooking, to revive the old “boarding houses” where one could rent a room and pay extra for the one main meal a day. mm, vancouver, wa.

    • Lea Stormhammer says:

      I remember when my grandmother moved into town off the farm and decided to go to the senior center for her meals (they offered 2 per day due to demand). Her children were appalled! Her calm response: “Eighty years of cooking is plenty!” She never liked cooking and at 79 (she had gotten married at 19)finally had no one else to cook for, and all us grandchildren cheered! We’d all had the experience of cooking for one and it really is more difficult than cooking for a family. I love the idea of reviving the old boarding houses too.

      Blessings to you mm in vancouver for doing what works best for you, and not letting others choose for you! And Blessings to you Mary for having your children do this – mine are 6yo, so I’m tucking this away for the future!


  21. I do hate when something burns (my dinner two nights ago!) or when you put all the effort into it and it comes out tasting awful. That is discouraging. I still enjoy the process, though. I am a little curious if she simply does not like to cook, or just has not had enough experience yet to feel more confident. I really need to try that ramen stir fry…

  22. I am still chuckeling about your attitude twards the burn rice pan…. My daugter is your age and she is doing this also she is starting day 6 and has surprised me with how much she has enjoyed it. I will say I have had to stay on her for the dishes….Good job!!! Thanks for posting so a fun post.