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Why is everyone feeding my teenager pizza?

It is now getting to be ridiculous. Whenever my daughter visits one of her friends on a weekend night, the parents order pizza. The same family may order pizza three weekends in a row. We have started making jokes about how these unimaginative and lazy parents just can't seem to come up with another alternative on Friday and Saturday nights for these kids, and my daughter is so bored with it that she is beginning to eat with us before going out so that she can have real food (BTW, we love pizza, but not a steady diet of it). It is always the same chain/delivery quality.

When the group is at my house, I cook a nice meal and leave them to eat alone in the kitchen while DH and I move to another room. Am I the only parent in town who cares to serve real food to these teens? One night, I made hamburgers with home made french fries, and my daughter said her friends were talking about my food in school all week. I grind my own beef, so they ARE good, but they are still hamburgers. A compliment surely, but a sad commentary. One parent even called to ask how I made brocolli because her daughter said it was the most delicious brocolli she had ever eaten (fresh, with butter, nuked in the microwave!).

Any thoughts on this? What do you do feed the group when your teen has friends over?

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  1. Because people are LAZY. A lot of people nowadays didn't grow up with parents who showed them how to cook and they don't know how and don't care to learn. Why should you, when you can just drive your van through or call for someone to deliver it to you?

    I work with a woman who has 2 small children. They eat McDonald's several times a WEEK. She does not know how to cook at all and doesn't care to; the only homemade food they get is when they are with their grandmother. Everything she buys from the grocery is processed and packaged so that you can just throw it in the microwave or whatever. It's amazing to me.

    My Mom was you. I didn't have tons of friends over but they always enjoyed eating at our house more than their own because she was a great cook and made foods from scratch. Whenever I ate at my best friend's house we always just had kraft mac & cheese or whatever and the kids were left on their own a lot to fix their own food, and you know kids, they'll do whatever's easy and junk-like.

    You are a rare and important breed. Keep it up!

    1. Our house was the go to house for al the friends of the children. I have been known to serve chicken soup, fresh home made bread, sweet butter, salad and home made apple pie. The sweeties would scarfed every last bit. Roast chicken and potatoes was another fave. These days it seems some people have no time or limited desire to cook a standard meal.

      1. I have 3 teens and have run into the same problem. I often have a group of kids up to our house in Tahoe to snowboard. I always cook and then my hubby and I go have a glass of wine in another room. I also make burgers but sometimes I do some type of pasta with chicken or meatballs or sometimes we grill a london broil and slice it thin and serve it with a pasta salad. My son also tells me that the kids love my cooking and I am always amazed as it seems pretty basic to me. I also do a big breakfast to get them off on the right foot. They are always very appreciative. As far as the constant pizza goes, l think a lot of people are just lazy.

        1. One of my favorite things about going to a particular friend's house in high school (besides the friendship) was her mother's chicken soup. It was always a little different each time - a variety of veggies, sometimes pasta, sometimes potatoes, sometimes dumplings - but it was SO very yummy and comforting. I've since taught myself to make chicken soup (and many other homemade things), and love to share with visitors and friends, to pass along those good feelings.

          Please keep feeding your daughter and friends home cooked meals - maybe it is a sad commentary that they don't get these things at other homes, but you could also think of it as a bit of a public service? Please also understand that many families aren't just lazy (though that's part of it), but just overwhelmed, and are looking for an easy solution. Regardless, real food is a great gift to give to the crowd.

          1. I remember a lot of pizza at birthday parties when my son was younger. I can understand that. Pizza is easy to take to places like parks and bowling alleys. Now that he's 14, though, there has been less pizza. (A good thing.) Recently at a slumber party during the school break his friend's mom made a pasta/bean/veggie soup and my son ate it. He didn't much like it, but he ate it. (If I'd made it, no way.) And he really liked the homemade waffles she made for breakfast. I'm really glad she made the effort, since my son is not an imaginative eater. So, please, keep it up. Thanks.

            1. My son's friends always got a full course Korean meal when they ate at our house. Kaibi, Bulgogi, grilled pork belly, Ddeok Bo ki, Mandu soup, and all the associated banchan.

              1 Reply
              1. re: hannaone

                That sounds delcisous to me Hanna, but honestly, if my daughter were staying at your house, she'd call Domino's.

              2. growing up, pizza was a treat and so a pizza party was the one of the best things. these days, children eat pizza so regularly that when we have children over to our house, they rave about having home cooked food and aren't too crazed about pizza. perhaps, giving these parents the benefit of the doubt, they're still thinking that pizza is the most welcome food? but it's kind of a sad that these days home cooked meals are more a treat than going out.

                1 Reply
                1. re: fudisgud

                  I was going to say the same thing. I rarely got pizza when I was a child/ teenager, so my first thought was maybe the parents are trying to give the kids a treat when their friends come.

                  edit: Also, if the kids don't like it, they could always make their own dinner instead.

                2. Evening meals for the teens are whatever we are dining on. Might be meatloaf and mashed potatoes and steamed green beans, or it might be salmon chowder with a salad, or if might be Ethiopian stews with injera. We always augment according to one's ability to eat a dish, provided that guest is invited. Sometimes we throw in some quesadillas, late night. Generally quiche in the morning, as that's what our current teen contingent (girls) love, along with fresh fruit and juice (If you have girls you probably have sleepovers...). Pizza is rarely popular here. My daughter frowns if I suggest it. Well, mostly.

                  Kids love new foods, especially if their parents didn't cook it for them! Take the time to feed your kids' friends something new. If they don't eat the food at your house, they won't starve for 3 hours, but they might learn that they like something different.

                  Happy to have teens that don't SEEK pizza,

                  1. A number of societal influences have combined to create "kid food". You see it on menus all the time, the same old thing - hot dogs, mac & cheese, spaghetti and meat sauce and of course the ubiquitous fries. Sadly, many parents buy into this myth.

                    I think a similar phenomenon has arisen around teens and pizza.

                    It is incumbet upon us foodies to perpetuate the notion that there is more to kid/teen food than mac & chesse and pizza. I applaud those who prepare real food for their children and their friends.

                    1. Food isn't the highest priority for a lot of people. I don't mean this as a slight or as a commendation; it's simply the case for many people. Most people don't spend a lot (or any) time thinking about what they'll eat for dinner much less what they'll feed a handful of teenagers who are over at their house. When I was a teen and people would congregate at various houses, we got pizza at most of the places, Chinese take out at a couple and at mine we ate Mom's catering leftovers (her business). I don't think it's so much laziness as it is a focus on different things.

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: ccbweb

                        I agree. I don't think that laziness is always involved. When I was growing up I was the kid whose mom cooked. I was envious of my friends who had pizzaria pizza, Tang, junk cereals. Thought the reason we had home cooking was that my parents were hopelessly old-fashioned and that we couldn't afford the other cool foods!
                        Now I truly appreciate the way we were fed and understand that it was a priority for my mom to give us well-prepared whole foods. I don't think that she loved us more than the Space Food Stick buying moms loved their families and I also doubt many of those moms were lazy. Some people think my focus on food is kooky but we have kids who will eat many things their pals won't because of our interest in food. btw, truth be told, I'm a little lazy but we eat pretty well! ;)

                        I think it's sweet that your daughter already appreciates the kind of home you have given her. Smart cookie.

                        1. re: fern

                          Space Food Sticks! I thought I was the only one who remembers those! I haven't had one in 30 years, but I loved them as a kid.

                          1. re: Reston

                            Whoa, these are real things? I thought it was a joke!

                      2. It seems to me that everyone in this thread is jumping to conclusions. I don't usually cook on weekend nights, but i do most nights. Saying these parents are lazy and don't care just because they aren't grinding their own hamburger on a weekend night is just absurd.

                        I don't have kids at home, but I see nothing wrong with ordering pizza for a group of teens on Saturday night. Maybe they could use a little imagination, or find a local pizza place that's better than the chains, but they aren't lazy, at least not from the information given in this post.

                        It's also possible that the parents think they're doing the kids a favor here.

                        7 Replies
                        1. re: JonParker

                          Would you order pizza for YOUR friends if they were coming over on a Saturday night? Probably not, would be my guess. Maybe yes, but you wouldn't do it every time, would you? Once in a while as a treat, or a pre-arranged "let's get together and watch a movie over pizza" night, but I'll be that you feed your friends differently than these parents feed their kids' friends. I'm not saying you need to grind your own hamburger, but as other posters have suggested, pasta, chicken, veggies, salads -- those are all alternatives to pizza. My main complaint, frankly, has to do with the fact that it is pizza one hundred percent of the time. Chinese takeout, subs, barbecue and fried chicken never even make the list.

                          It may be that food is not important to these people. As a CHer, it's hard to understand, but it is possible. It may also be that they are lazy. There is room in this picture for that reason as well.

                          1. re: RGC1982

                            When my daughter was a teen, yes it was pizza on the weekend. And yes part of it was laziness. I work all week, the kids seemed as happy with pizza as anything and it was affordable and extra could be bought because we never knew exactly how many kids there were going to be. And honestly, on the nights she went to a friend's house I was appreciative enough that the parents were willing to have the teens over and knowing where she was that what she was eating wasn't a blipp on my radar.

                            1. re: RGC1982

                              People like pizza. I somehow doubt the parents are getting together to decide on everyone having it -- it's just easy and cheap and, as said, the kids like it. Parents do too. I certainly agree that food is likely not as important to these parents as it is to us.

                              Would I prefer that they have better choices? Heck, any choice at all besides toppings? Oh yes.

                              1. re: RGC1982

                                Well, my friends are not teenagers, and their parents would probably object if they were.

                                But as I and other people have said, it's possible that they think the kids actually want pizza. Who knows, they could be sick of it too.

                                1. re: RGC1982

                                  Maybe they think providing a variety of food experiences is your responsiblity as a parent, and their responsibility is to keep the kids safe and fed, however they choose to do it.

                                  1. re: RGC1982

                                    I do cook -- from scratch -- 4-5 nights a week. But Friday is by tradition Pizza night. And my kids are disappointed if it isn't. If one of my kids' friends only came over on Friday, they would think I never cook. So while it's likely these friends are the "junk food 5 times a week" folk, it is at least possible they are just catching the "wrong" night.

                                    1. re: sbp

                                      When my kids were growing up we had "Wednesday Night Pizza Night" I don't even LIKE pizza, but sometimes you have to let the kids have something they like too. Anyway, I hadn't thought about WNPN for years until I ran into an old friend of the boys. She asked me if I remembered how she used to show up every Wednesday afternoon and somehow manage to stay for dinner...because she liked pizza and it was never served at her house.

                                      No, I had never put two and two together and realized how often she showed up on Wednesday night...but it makes sense!!

                                2. I love cooking for and with my kids' friends. Did a huge Indian spread with my son and a few of his friends a while back. My daughter loves to cook with me, so she and her friends show up early to help. Ove the years I've taught many a youngster how to cook in this manner. Most of them have parents who do minimal cooking, at best.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: pikawicca

                                    A good example of "it takes a village". We all bring something to the table. I'll bet your kids love that you've opened your kitchen/yourself to their friends.

                                  2. If I have a little notice, I'll cook for the kids when they are at my house. I gave them lessons on making their own dinner last summer a couple of times. But if 8 kids show up at 6:30 unexpectedly, and they haven't eaten, they get pizza. The kids float between 3 houses in the neighborhood. Mine is second choice out of 3 (1st choice has a media room with a big TV and a WII - and they get pizza there every time).

                                    I am always happy that my kids are at someone's house, and that the parents there are feeding them when they are hungry. Even if it's just pizzas! I would never consider parents who feed teens pizza to be lazy. It's a big responsibility to host teenagers, and most parents don't step up to the plate. I mentioned that there are usually 8 kids and only 3 houses they seem to hang at, didn't I?

                                    12 Replies
                                      1. re: Janet from Richmond

                                        I agree. I'm just thankful when someone feeds my kids. I think teaching them not to look a gift horse in the mouth is a much more important lesson. I wouldn't call someone lazy when they've had my kids over and fed them.

                                      2. re: jeanmarieok

                                        That's not what is happening here. What you described is quite normal and wonderful. These kids (about six or eight, at three houses, coincidentally) have these plans in place for at least 24 hours, usually more. They alternate between different homes, and the only exceptions are during holidays and high school football season. There are no surprises and no surprise guests. NONE of the Moms work outside their home, have younger children, or sick relatives to care for. In fact, most of them have been at their tennis club or gym most of the afternoon while their housekeepers have been at their homes cleaning. Money is not an issue, not does time appear to be. I don't think we are talking about the same thing here. You are describing a normal, hectic lifestyle and there is nothing wrong with pizza as a meal in those circumstances. My comment had to do with the fact that it seems really strange to me to assume that you should serve pizza EVERY SINGLE TIME just because these are teenagers. It was not intended to condemn pizza ordered on occasion.

                                        1. re: RGC1982

                                          Do any of these teens by any chance have food-related issues? For instance, my best friend's 12-year-old daughter eats pasta (separate bowl, please) jarred pizza sauce (also in separate bowl, not heated), and shredded, bagged mozzarella (yes, separate). She'll put it together herself, thank you. And this is what she eats five out of seven nights a week. But she will eat pizza. (Her parents, by the way, are both good cooks and will make themselves a normal dinner; they've just given up the evening battle with her in the hope that this is a temporary control issue that will eventually be outgrown.) Could it be that pizza is just the lowest common demoninator? Something nearly all teens will eat, so the host parents don't have to worry about catering to individual idiosyncrasies?

                                          1. re: JoanN

                                            No food related issues that I have ever heard of in this group. When they are at our house, they eat anything and everything. But, it may very well be that the answer may have something to do with the fact that pizza is the lowest common denominator.

                                            Like jjw said below, it can be another really easy choice, home cooked or take out, so I just don't understand the unchanging choice of pizza. It just seems like these parents are still feeding them "the children's menu" -- except that the menu contains one and only one item!

                                          2. re: RGC1982

                                            Have any of the teenagers in question asked for anything different? By which I mean actually spoken to the host (and/or the host teen) and expressed their desire for something other than pizza. If no one says anything at all (including the teenager whose house they're at) then how would the parents know someone wanted something different?

                                            1. re: ccbweb

                                              And of course they wouldn't express a desire for anything else if they're being polite. Whenever I went over to a friend's house whatever they were serving was just fine, thank you very much for having me, even if it was a combination of all my least favorite foods.

                                              1. re: mordacity

                                                Exactly. Which is why I probably had childhood friends who parents thought I loved tuna casserole <g>

                                                1. re: Janet from Richmond

                                                  I am envious of you being fed tuna casserole. I had a childhood friend with parents that thought I loved braunschweiger and bean soup.

                                                2. re: mordacity

                                                  My question about talking to the others involved had more to do with the OP writing that the problem was so much with the fact of take-out or the lack of home-cooked food but being bothered that it is pizza every time.

                                                  I definitely agree once you're at their house and the food is there; I'd never say anything to the parents and would be happy to have dinner or whatever offered. This sounds like an ongoing/recurring and group situation, though, which I think changes the etiquette a bit. One of the friends could say something to the host friend mid-week or the whole group one night when they're eating pizza, "hey, how come we always order pizza?" (I'd bet that most of them are quite happy with it, actually.)

                                                  The concerned parent could call the other parent(s) and ask if there are other options. For me, it's a situation in which you either address it head on and clearly or you stop worrying about it and move on. Which option is based entirely on how much one thinks it an issue worth doing anything about.

                                                  1. re: ccbweb

                                                    Having lived two teen girls who are now adults, eating pizza was the least of my concerns regarding them when they were teenagers.

                                                    1. re: Janet from Richmond

                                                      If they didn't eat it, the hosts would stop serving it.

                                          3. Boy, do I agree. I think I'm the only mother in town that doesn't serve pizza to my son and friends. I usually do something easy, like a pasta or Mexican casserole, and the kids are always full of praise and thanks. We too leave them to the kitchen table (with family room TV in view) and have our meal in the dining room.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: jjw

                                              Your daughter might be lucky they're ordering pizza rather than cooking in. What seems basic to you is sadly a lot work and effort for other people. They'd rather buy those frozen pre made hamburgers from Sam's Club etc. My mom was like you and often eating other people's food is a let down and not a treat. Some people's idea of "cooking" is appalling. My friends wife recently told me that she made chick parm for dinner. I responded that that must have been a nice treat and asked her how she made it as I haven't before. She said all you do is take those frozen breaded chicken tenders, dump on a jar of sauce, and throw some cheese on top!

                                            2. So what if they order pizza? There are a lot worse things they could be doing.

                                              1. Jfood does absolutely NOT agree that you can call people who have children over "three weekends in a row" are lazy. And if the kids have all decided that this would be a good house to go "three weekends in a row" then obviously there is something there that is attracting them. Who knows, maybe the pizza is really good.

                                                In casa jfood, kids coming over on the weekend will get a variety of foods, from pizza, to sushi, to ham sandwiches to beef burgundy and lasagne. Not once would jfood think that any of the parents are judging M&M jfood if they happen to get 3 straight pizzas.

                                                And so what if they are at the club, at the office, have or do not have housekeeping, live in a bigger house or a smaller house, have a WII, not have a WII, any of the other reasons people call them lazy or spoiled or self impressed or, or, or. Labels are not good.

                                                And look at the result. Someone reached out to you for assistance. How wonderful. Why not invite her over to teach her some of your great recipes. Heck start with hamburgers and broccoli? This is a perfect opportunity to assist in upticking the food for all the kids. Take advantage of it.

                                                Turn this situation into a positive and not only will you be teaching your children a positive lesson, how to help others, but you may make a good friend out of it as well.

                                                Just jfood's 2-cents.

                                                1. I think it is probably served for a few reasons, it is pretty inexpensive, most people like pizza, and it is easy to do & takes very little time.

                                                  I see nothing wrong with these folks serving pizza, at that age that is what the majority of kids want, especially while hanging out playing video games, etc. A finger food that they can eat, and continue doing what they want, A couple of pizza's with a few different ingredients, and most are happy. Not all kids are exposed to sushi, korean food, etc so they may not be willing to try these items, and end up going hungry.

                                                  3 Replies
                                                  1. re: swsidejim

                                                    Exactly. It's a an easy default when faced with a bunch of kids. I personally hate hearing about people's food quirks and would rather say "pizza okay?" than get into a conversation about who eats what. Simarly, love to cook but not for an possibly unappreciative audience.

                                                    1. re: swsidejim

                                                      actually I think pizza is horribly expensive for half a dozen kids - $15-20 for bread and cheese?? some pasta, sauce and cheese would probably work out at half the price or even less

                                                      1. re: smartie

                                                        With a 1+ year old child we have alot more money than time, so ordering a pizza, having it delivered, and eating it on paper plates means not having to go pick it up, not requiring time in the kitchen cooking &, not requiring time to wash dishes. Time is golden for us

                                                        Dont get me wrong, I love to coo(I cook meals from scratch all weeekend, and a couple of nights a week, so delivered pizza is rare), but only for those I know will appreciate it. However, I know when I was a teenager I would have preferred takeout pizza, and hanging out, watching t.v., or playing video games with a slice of pizza in my hand, over sitting at a table eating someones homemade pasta. Just how I was as a teenager, not right, or wrong, or how everyone else should be/feel, but just how I was.

                                                    2. Wow, don't even start me on a pizza subject! I have been living in this country for 24 years, and sadly, have not met too many people that cook a normal dinner any day of the week. I always worked full time, yet served, home cooked meal on a table evey night. How do I do it? I just make a plan of what we will eat that week and cook some of the things on a weekend so they are partially ready. Actually, when I meet with my Vietnamese neighbor/friend we always laugh, that we are the only ones on the street that cook. Our daughters eat ANYTHING you serve them. Why? Because since their birth they were introduced to various foods - I never served her a different meal than everybody else at the table. But from what I see, most people do. That's why the kid cuisine of pizza, mac and cheese, and a hot dog. And that's why a lot of kids are not used to a variety of foods. I actually had a good friend comment on the fact, that his 15 year old is only eating pasta and what did I do, when he sees my also 15 year old order raw oysters at a restaurant. Well, I tell him, she always had to eat was was on a table, took her on trips to other countries (no McDonald's for us, thank you very much, we would rather eat something from a street cart) and always gave her a homemade sandwich for lunch to school. I also invite her to the kitchen to cook with me. And,sometimes she will go a make a meal for all of us, all by herself. This last Xmas, she slaved in the kitchen for hours to make the best buche de Noel I ever had! I don't think we EVER ordered a pizza for us, or her friends. Yes, sadly I have to admit that she is served a pizza at most homes when she goes for a night of a sleepover or a party. And she also comments on how her friends parents are NEVER in the kitchen, they also usually don't offer anything to eat. Most people have huge pantries stocked with ready-made snacks, so when the kids get hungry the parents just pick up a phone and call for a pizza delivery. My daughter learned to have a meal before she leaves home, because she says she just can't stand it! Yes, I feed her visiting friends with what's cooked that night, yet I have to say, I try to make something widely popular (that most people will eat) that night, as I don't want her to feel bad. Once a friend of my daughter called us and asked what we ate for a dinner in the previous week, then wrote it on a piece of paper and put it on a fridge in her house. She told her mom, that she expected similar dinners dinners in their house. Now, this is really sad.

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: polish_girl

                                                        That's awesome! Good 4 U. And your 15 yr old made a buche de Noel? That is so kick ass (pardon my 'french')!

                                                      2. I cook every single day....sometimes more than once a day. I am not lazy. When my 14 yr old daughter has friends over, I usually make pizza. I don't order it but I do serve pizza. This weekend she had 3 friends here and we did mini pizzas. I made the pizza sauce, browned ground beef, and provided other toppings. The girls assembled their choices on halved english muffins and then we put them in the oven. This way they were involved in preparing their meal and I had something everyone would eat. I've also made lasagna when she had a friend over for dinner. We've had grilled burgers, fries, and homemade baked beans, hot dogs with homemade coney sauce, and home smoked bbq sandwiches when youngsters would be eating.

                                                        What I find is that a lot of kids are very picky eaters. They're not willing to try anything new and their parents feed them their favorites. I am not going to a lot of trouble to cook a meal and spend extra for groceries only to have their friends turn up their noses and refuse to eat. I try to stick to teen and kid friendly meals that are more universally liked.

                                                        1. Im on both sides of the coin. When my sister was 15, she came to live with me and her friends followed. (Some still havent left and she is 23!) I cook regularly and since I wanted to provide her with a sense of home and family and trust, we started having huge Sunday dinners. Everyone was invited, but you leave your bullshit and your shoes at the door. Everyone eats, everyone cleans up. My Other has pals and whatnot over pretty frequently and they like to come here the most because of my cooking. His best pal said to me " you put the most thought and the most effort into your food than anyone else I have ever met". Bitchin'. Thats just what I am after. Yes, the girlfriends get a little snotty sometimes because they demand MY grilled cheese and tomato soup (good artisnal bread, sharp cheeses, fresh butter and scratch soup...no campbells, kraft and wonder here!) but that is their own problem. Get off your tookus and get in the kitchen!

                                                          On the other hand...a 60 hour work week, a house that hasn't been touched all week and 45 loads of laundry...pizza? You bet your sweet bippy its pizza night. BTW...I am on day 7 of phase 1 of South Beach... I would eat freakin Dominos right now and be happy! Sigh.

                                                          4 Replies
                                                          1. re: chelleyd01

                                                            well said!!!!
                                                            Here it is...my daughter is 8. Sometimes she will have friends spend the night. Cooking from scratch!!!???? maybe if your Aunt Bea in Mayberry...or Mrs. Cleaver, with nothing to do all day.
                                                            My wife works all day, picks up the kids...by 6:00, otherwise it is a dollar a minute, takes my son to soccer practice, daughter to girl scouts, which she is troop leader, or my daughter to ballet class, kids to PSR class etc....all depending what day it is. While they are at their respective class, or function...depending on the day, she may have time to run home and put a meal in the oven to have ready after she picks one or both of them up again. Then it is feed, bathe, and put them to bed--oops, and daughter's homework checked. At the same time...making sure laundry keeps getting rotated daily...so as to not fall too far behind. So when my daughter has friends over once in awhile...call us lazy......it's a meat pie...or something else extremely easy to make... minimum time...minimum dishes. Also is it our job to make sure your kid eats "healthy" that night....cause if they were eating like that for the other 6 nights...1 night eating pizza, doesn't hurt.

                                                            1. re: Rob83

                                                              Sounds to me like maybe YOU should be doing the cooking.

                                                              1. re: pikawicca

                                                                No problem....Please come run my restaurant so I can cook my family dinner. Would do it gladly. The 2 nights I AM home, I usually try to whip up something different. My whole point is, Sounds like most of these "cooking from scratch every day and night, more than likely is a one income, stay at home MOM, leave it to beaver family. That is the minority in this age.

                                                                1. re: Rob83

                                                                  There are are lot of us that would be termed "stay-at-home-moms;" The turth is a lot of us chose freelance work to be around our school-aged kids and to cook a variety of foods for them. We're not condemning anyone; still: some are wondering if this everyday culinary culture is really becoming "one-trick" vis-a-vis the pizza epidemic.


                                                          2. Every house doesn't have the world's best cooks, and some kids never grow out of being picky eaters. My kids will eat anything, and when their friends are over, they'll eat anything, too - steak, pork chops, lasagna, pot roast, whatever's on the regular menu. But if they're never given a choice, they just eat what's in front of them, which is invariably pizza.
                                                            My nieces live on nothing but mac and cheese and Hooters hot wings, because that's what's offered, but when my Mom watches them for a weekend, they demand all her Podunk family favorites, and there are no leftovers.

                                                            1. HA! Although my kids are still young (6 & 9) it's the same story. I've even had my neighbor ask me how I made my broccoli cuz her son loved it (same as u). It's very sad. Parents nowadays are over-worked, over-scheduled, running everywhere and at the bottom of their list is good food. Fortunately, as kids mom insisted wesit down to dinner and I've continued that w/ my kids. I can remember all my friends loving my mom's cooking. They always lingered around dinner time... until they were invited to join us!

                                                              We eat out too, I can't lie, but my kids aren,t fed a steady stream of fast food and pizza. Not to mention a big influence on how I eat and cook (& consequently how my family eats) is my type 1 diabetes. It's a blessing and a curse.

                                                              Oh, and BTW, pizza is one of the worst things you can feed your kids. It's overloaded w/ simple carbs and has very little nutrional value. It sends my bloodsugars thru the roof. Worse than many sweets.

                                                              Good for u for making the extra effort. Your kids will continue on w/ good eating habits and hopefully raise their children that way.

                                                              1. Boy howdy, there are a lot of people congratulating themselves on how much better they are than all the "lazy" folks out there who don't cook when hosting other people's kids. Isn't it enough that they are allowing the kids to hang out at their homes? Do they have to also prepare a ton of food for other people's kids (with the likely knowledge that no matter what they make, someone in the group may not like it and a ton of clean up will follow serving more people than usual).

                                                                I cook almost all the time, but I don't think that makes people who don't "lazy". If your daughter doesn't like it, then she already has chosen the best way to deal with it by eating before she goes. I think it's a bit much to expect people to feed your kid the way you want her fed (or even she wants to be fed) when she visits another family's home. The attitude being displayed is very much lacking in gratitude.

                                                                9 Replies
                                                                1. re: Orchid64

                                                                  You are missing the point. This has nothing to do with graciously and politely accepting what is offered, or whether a parent who has had a harried day has found a takeout solution to feed a bunch of kids. No one is "Looking a Gift Horse in the Mouth" or being ungrateful. Each family is reciprocating in their own way, and, I can assure you from personal observation, NONE of the families doing the hosting (ours included) are so busy that they are barely holding things together. Some of the families don't even cook for themselves, and no one expects that they will cook for the kids. The question really is "Why is everyone feeding my teenager ONLY Pizza?" They hang at our house too, and if we don't want to or can't cook, we might do Chinese takout, or barbecue, or Mexican, or even pasta and subs. They eat all of it. BTW, the lazy reference in the OP references lack of thought and imagination, not lack of action or caring.

                                                                  Many of the same people responding also refer to "picky eaters". Ironic. It was interesting to see that many people seem to believe that teens don't or won't appreciate anything else. They are now at least fifteen years old, not six. Some are driving themselves to school, and to the get together, and they are fast approaching adulthood. When do we stop giving them the adolescent version of a Happy Meal?

                                                                  No, the OP was not meant to be an indictment of those busy families, who, in spite of their obligations, kindly host a group of teens in a safe, loving environment and order pizza. My apologies to those who appear to be offended. Many responses here seem to be very defensive, and that was never the intended consequence. It just seemed strange that most everyone who is on this hosting circuit chooses pizza when it is their turn - each and every time. There is one other family on our circuit that cooks, but no one else considers anything other than - Pizza. Hence the question.

                                                                  1. re: RGC1982

                                                                    When you start off saying things like "ridiculous", "unimaginative" and "lazy" and put yourself as "the only one who cares to put real food out", you come off as being judgemental, looking down on others who choose something different than you, and sound ungrateful. Tone means a lot (would you print out your OP exactly as it is and show these parents?). That's what some people are responding to. What it comes down to is pizza is quick, easy, affordable and teens like it. Why don't they do something different? Because it works. You can order a couple and be done w/out having to take orders. I'm not being defensive because I don't have teens yet, or order pizza for them, but this is how it comes off to me.

                                                                    1. re: chowser

                                                                      Well said. Teenagers like pizza. I like pizza. Maybe this mom should offer to have the kids over at her house and see how many scoff at her gourmet offerings.

                                                                      1. re: Oh Robin

                                                                        I hope you don't think hamburgers are gourmet food.

                                                                        I agree - I'd be annoyed too if I was putting some thought and effort into feeding the kids and some families don't appear to do the same it when it is their turn.They are probably not really thinking about it at all, and may not even realize that they are in a rut. How about saying something to one or two of the other parents? Maybe the next time it is at your house, you might mention that you will be doing something different because your daughter is getting tired of always eating pizza. You don't have to mention that YOU are tired of it, but you can say that you will be getting a bucket of fried chicken or something similar, just to plant the idea that there is more than one kind of takeout. Expecting these people to cook is going to be disappointing, so try steering them toward other prepared alternatives.

                                                                        1. re: SaucySoyGirl

                                                                          Really don't think there's a polite way to tell people what to serve in their home.

                                                                          1. re: Oh Robin

                                                                            I think you misunderstood me. If you read what I wrote, I suggested that you make that comment when it was YOURown turn. It would be rude to comment when it is their turn.

                                                                            1. re: SaucySoyGirl


                                                                              That approach will embarass the daughter of the other house. Let's assume she has at least half a brain and you state, as you suggest, "you might mention that you will be doing something different because your daughter is getting tired of always eating pizza" Do you not think she will know it is her parents you have just commented on?

                                                                              People should serve what they want at their own houses and not be so critical at others. Teenagers could be getting into a LOT MORE trouble than eating pizza at a safe house three weekends in a row.

                                                                              1. re: SaucySoyGirl

                                                                                "How about saying something to one or two of the other parents?"

                                                                                I think either way you'd sound smarmy. And a bucket of fried chicken is better?

                                                                      2. re: RGC1982

                                                                        If some of them are driving, perhaps they can drive themselves to a restaurant or to the supermarket to buy ingredients to cook with. Frankly, 16 is a little old for a sleepover. I would hope the adults are carefully locking the door and setting the alarm before they go to sleep. I remember what we were up to when we were 16....

                                                                    2. Once in a while, we blow off all activities and have nacho night. We get a movie, I bake nachos w/ mushrooms, onions, lean ground beef w/ seasoning, cheese, etc. and we veg. A few times, my daughter has invited a certain friend over for dinner and I've wondered if her parents think all we ever eat are nachos because she hasn't come over on other nights.

                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                      1. re: chowser

                                                                        My Mom and I used to do this also::::::sniff:::::::: And we also would go to Friendly's and have a Reese sundae for dinner if one of us had a particulaly crappy day.

                                                                        1. re: Janet from Richmond

                                                                          We have done sundaes for dinner, too. I think things like this, as much as making our own pasta or anything else, will make some great memories for the kids. I'm glad to hear you have fond memories of it. :-)

                                                                      2. I will admit I read all of this yeserday morning and haven't gone back and read the new replys, so this may have already been said. If you and your daughter are sick of the pizza, why don't you make a casserole or something that is easy and non-offensive to send along as food? It would be very easy to say "Hey, my mom wanted to try out this recipe and she thought you might give her another perspective," or get your daughter to help and she can tell them that she helped make this dish in appreciation for them having her over and feeding her in the past. Good food, non-offensive (as long as you don't put it in a no-more-pizza-please way), problem solved. It may even encourage the parents to know that the teenagers would like more diversity.

                                                                        I can't speak to a personal point much because when I was a teenager, my mom's house constantly looked like a tornado had hit it and I wasn't allowed to have friends over. Consequently I didn't visit others a lot because I could not reciprocate. But as a young adult now, in a house with a relatively nice kitchen, I do cook for my friends when they come over. Often something simple like shepard's pie, pasta, appetizers, but I will sometimes just do a frozen pizza.

                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                        1. Good for you for cooking nice meals for your teenagers and letting them be! I would love it if my parents did that! I'm afraid we're one of those pizza ordering families...but it doesn't happen every weekend!

                                                                          1. Am I alone in thinking that some of the above advice (bringing over own food, talking to the other parent’s about their choices) is presumptuous and rude? They are, after all, watching your children, making sure they are safe, and feeding them. They are babysitting them for free. I don’t think this impacts the OP’s daughter too greatly, she’s coping with it and seems to have found her own solution.
                                                                            My response to the OP and some of the suggestions given is MYOB! You don’t know crap about these families except what car they drive. Maybe mom doesn’t like Chinese and Dad doesn’t like BBQ, and little Cindy thinks all veggies are gross…and it doesn’t matter anyway what the reasons are because it’s their house, their rules.
                                                                            I grew up in the house that everyone loved to eat dinner at (Thanks Mom!) but she was never critical of what others served...she was just grateful for a night off.

                                                                            8 Replies
                                                                            1. re: sebetti

                                                                              Insert hands clapping and hand raised

                                                                                1. re: chelleyd01

                                                                                  I am SO glad Jfood agrees with us on this one! Vindication.

                                                                              1. re: sebetti

                                                                                I do think that talking to the other parents about their choices is rude, however I see the exact opposite on bringing over food. I see it as not only a win for the OP parent, but a polite gesture. Maybe I am alone in *this*, but I am from the South, and hospitality often equals food. We don't just bring over a casserole for a death or family crisis. Sharing a main dish or more often something like muffins or a cake is a regular occurance and a nice gesture. Haven't you ever heard of a hostess gift? Food is the original appreciative gesture. If someone brought you an apple pie or even a couple of loaves of banana bread, would you think that they were rude because of it? This time of year our food gifting gets even crazier with trying out new recipies. It is not unusual to simly make too much of something and find friends who would enjoy it.

                                                                                Also, teenagers don't need "babysitting". Supervision yes, but usually minimal. Most teenagers are babysitting other people themselves, don't forget that. I had my first part time nanny job at 16 and my sister started babysitting at 13.

                                                                                1. re: KariAnneATL

                                                                                  I have a feeling that a teenager showing up with a hostess gift might be an object of ridicule in this situation and I know I, as teenager, would have refused to do it.

                                                                                  Perhaps 'babysitting' was not the best description but that 'Supervision' is PRICELESS. The fact that they have a safe house sans the temptation of drugs and alcohol? DOUBLE PRICELESS. The fact that you can rest easy and not end up on Chowhound.com 9 months from now starting a thread on the home cooking board for babyfood recipes? Baby, send me the pizza!! I'll take 2!

                                                                                  1. re: sebetti

                                                                                    sebetti, great post! I would definitely agree with you that there are bigger issues at play here than what a kid eats at their friend's house.

                                                                                2. re: sebetti

                                                                                  Completely with you - anyone who offers a safe place for my kids to hang could send them home hungry and I wouldn't complain.

                                                                                  1. re: sebetti


                                                                                    Personally, the first time that a kid (or parent) came to our house and told my mother what to cook would be the LAST time that happened.

                                                                                    As a Scout leader, Mother would always find that the parents who had the most "suggestions" were generally never ones who could be relied upon to volunteer.

                                                                                  2. I was really lucky in the fact that whenever I had friends over, my mom (even though she worked two jobs) took the energy and time to prepare a whole spread of food -- mostly Korean food -- kalbi, rice, sashimi, tempura, banchan, etc. Pretty much all of my friends were non-Korean. With the exception of the sashimi for some, everybody loved the stuff.

                                                                                    RGC, I understand what you're saying -- it is indeed a sad commentary about the erosion of meals in America. How people eat has gradually changed over the last 20 or so years. Now, people spend more than half their food budget for eating out and/or prepared foods. It's a more complicated issue than just plain old laziness -- it's probably due to the busier schedules -- and more subconsciously influenced by the media and supermarket selling strategies.

                                                                                    Now, with that said, I believe that if you're a guest in another person's house, just eat the food (unless you're intolerant or allergic to the items). For those of you who said to bring your own food, etc, I think it's a bit rude. A slice of pizza now and then won't kill anybody.

                                                                                    1. In many areas Pizza is the only item that has delivery available. Perhaps this is why it is always served at the gatherings. It's no fuss, no muss, a variety of options & easy to customize to taste. Reality is the CH point of view is not the predominate one out there. A huge number of people view home cooking as a chore and/or their definition of it is usually not "from scratch". Hospitality comes in a lot of different colors & shades - the parents of your children's friends just seem to be more from one camp than the other. I suspect the kids will have more good memories of eating at your house though!

                                                                                      1. As a full-time working mom on a relatively tight budget, I take a little offense to this post. I get home from work at around 6. My kids are ready to eat right then. If they have a friend over for the night, I don't have the time to figure out what the child likes/doesn't like, is allergic to, etc. I've thrown away plenty a full plate of food (fried chicken! who doesn't like fried chicken and mashed potatoes?) that I served a child who was sleeping over. From that point on, it was pizza. I don't have the time or resources to figure out what every kid will or won't eat. The kids are there to play and socialize. I haven't had a complaint to date. And once I've carefully "vetted" a family as sleepover-worthy for my own children, all I am is grateful for a night of free babysitting and the opportunity to catch a little sleep. Can't remember the last time I even ASKED them what they were fed. And I'm food-obsessed!

                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                        1. re: southernitalian

                                                                                          great points about dietary restrictions, religios restrictions, taste aversions, allergy issues, etc.

                                                                                        2. I think it's wonderful that parents offer a safe place for their children to hang, especially in the teenage group! I wish I had that option when I was a teenager instead of just going to the same old mall over and over again. Believe me, food was the least of our concerns back then.

                                                                                          It is presumptous to call these parents "unimaginative and lazy." And I don't eat burgers--so your homemade burgers would not get much out of me.

                                                                                          As for others' suggestion of bringing your own food, it's okay as long as you don't expect it to be served right then and there, which doesn't sound like the case here. It's like inviting friends for dinner and someone brings a casserole and is hurt when you don't serve it with the rest of the meal. If I need contributions, I'll ask, thank you.

                                                                                          Suze Orman has a saying: "People first. Then money. Then things."

                                                                                          We can apply almost the same thing here: "Friendship first. Followed by laughter, having a good time, and creating fond memories to look back on. Then food."

                                                                                          1. You are totally my mom. Sadly, I was so embarrassed when I was a teen that we would never order pizza & soda. My mother scoffed it was too expensive and she would make whatever I wanted for my birthday. No ordered in pizza, though.

                                                                                            One year, it was hot dogs, potato salad, and beans and homemade ice cream. Next year, was tortellini. I had tacos one year. Nothing too "Fancy" but always at home. My friends loved it. The next morning, we had homemade pancakes and NEVER doughnuts like everyone else had. I remember wanting doughnuts, though.
                                                                                            I love my mom. Good for you!!

                                                                                            1. Well, as a teen myself (15), I enjoy a variety of foods and welcome new dishes. I also love to cook. That said, I believe that there are better ways to feed hungry adolescents than tossing a large box of domino's baked greasy cheese product at our emotionally unstable heads. ( ; Sure, I understand that maybe not everyone's parent has the time to cook, or shop, nor the money to buy a lot of good food for their kid's friends, but it is in my personal experiance that most teens actually enjoy being in the kitchen. I love to invite a bunch of people over, just talk and cook for a while. We make simple things that are fun, easy, and pretty tasty. It also gives us a chance to unwind after the lovely game of high school and really talk. One of my fav things to do is to come home with some friends after a night out partying real late and make perfect "garbage" (using everything we can find in the fridge) omelets and fresh oatmeal pancakes or ridiculously gooey pecan, jalepeno, and lime quesidillas. You really don't need to feed us crap, I promise.

                                                                                              Homade pizza night is pretty popular with the bf though. We use tj's unbaked dough and lots of pesto + manchego cheese. Mmm.

                                                                                              5 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: JockY

                                                                                                  No doubt. Milo sounds like a good egg to me. Makes me much more comfortable with the kids my wife is insisting we have soon...

                                                                                                2. re: MiloGoestotheCIA

                                                                                                  Here's the question many of us parents have on the "garbage meal"? Do you clean up the dishes or do the parents have that OMG moment inthe morning?

                                                                                                  1. re: jfood

                                                                                                    I am Milo's Dad. She actually cleans up the dishes and scrubs the pans as well. We're very lucky -- and well fed too!

                                                                                                    1. re: BHAppeal

                                                                                                      Priceless BH. That's wonderful.

                                                                                                      Being a proud parent is one of the BEST feelings in the world.

                                                                                                3. My kids eat great but my husband (I had nothing to do with his raising) doesn't so he lives for takeout pizza pretty awesome. i'm usually supplementing it for the kids.

                                                                                                  but it is true that it is fast and delivered and doesn't require silverware or clean up. so if you want a relaxing night it really is the easiest.

                                                                                                  all the kids want to stay over for our taco nights and curried chicken though! :)

                                                                                                  1. In the spirit of JonParker's post, I think its unfair to say that these parents are just 'lazy.' I grew up in a house where I was one of 3 kids being raised by a full-time working father. Just because he didnt always have the time to make home-cooked food for us did not make him lazy (let alone make dinner for me, my brothers and all of my friends). FWIW, several years before, my dad was a full time chef, so I'm sure he would have had a blast cooking for us every night but, unfortunately, there were just not enough hours in the day.

                                                                                                    1. I'll just come right out and say it: I don't have kids (though I have been involved with a few troubled ones). But jeez, people -- and i'll put this as delicately as I can -- if the worst thing you have to worry about with your teenagers is whether they are eating pizza three weekends in a row, consider yourself lucky. And consider yourself lucky that you can afford to have so many food options.

                                                                                                      1. Not facing this myself yet, but I see several options here:

                                                                                                        Quick, simple. Lazy seems a bit harsh.

                                                                                                        Kind of a treat. Yeah, maybe less so when it is frequent, but I am not exactly sure that once a week for something you like is that often. Say I had a a scoop of ice cream every Friday - I just wouldn't feel like I was overdoing it. Depending on where you are there are lots of weekly meals - fish on Friday, tamales on Saturday, dim sum or menudo on Sunday. Several of those are too much trouble for everyday, but eating them once a week isn't overdoing it.

                                                                                                        I know when I was a kid we never had pizza at home (my mother can't stand it) and it was a treat when I went to a friend's house.

                                                                                                        Also - there are a lot of picky people out there, kids in particular. Pizza is a pretty safe bet to please a crowd of teenagers. I can see that being a fantastic reason. Now I am all for introducing kids to a variety of foods and have been as appalled as anyone else at the lack of this from lots of exposure working in restaurants, but I bet they'd have more displeased parents if kids just weren't eating at their house because the food was deemed to weird! (Like oh my god, you ground your own hamburger? You eat brocolli!? GROSS! ;-)

                                                                                                        Seems nice to give a little variety or a choice, but maybe your daughter is the odd one out on this. :-) Good for her!

                                                                                                        1. I'm just out of my teenage years, and I definitely remember this being a problem. Most of the houses that we were in were devoid of food, and the people who had cars seemed to be those who didn't care about food. Those of us who cared (about food and money) realized that going to the grocery store wouldn't be much harder than going to pick up pizza, and we started cooking. Nothing complicated, just chicken stirfry and things of the sort. But it went over well, and was definitely cheaper.

                                                                                                          1. I don't have children so I can't speak from that perspective but I have helped with teens a lot over the past several years. The main reason pizza was the food of choice at the event I have been part of is economy. You can feed a lot of people very cheaply with pizza. I won't venture to agree with the idea that teenagers like pizza. And I personally only like higher end pizza (not the big chains)

                                                                                                            When I was a kid we seemd to be fed lots of hot dogs by friends parents.